The Winnipeg Jets should have a familiar face behind the bench when the NHL regular season begins next week in Anaheim.

The Winnipeg Jets should have a familiar face behind the bench when the NHL regular season begins next week in Anaheim.

Associate coach Jamie Kompon has been absent during training camp so he can spend time with his wife as she fights breast cancer.

The couple is in California, where Tina Kompon is receiving treatment.

"On the bench in Anaheim. If everything is set up, if it works, he’ll be back in running a meeting. He does all of the work anyway," head coach Paul Maurice said Thursday. "Work ethic is not an issue for the man, he’s putting in a lot of time still in hockey and it’s good for him, I guess. He’ll be in Anaheim and on the bench."

Tina has gone through chemotherapy, radiation treatment, a double mastectomy, reconstruction surgery and recovery in a six-year battle with cancer. But there has been another setback, Maurice said.

"Things changed a little bit there about three weeks before camp, kind of a new challenge that they’re battling. They need to be in L.A. with their doctors and Jamie needs to be there. So, the positive is there’s a hope and there’s a plan and they’re dealing with that daily," he said. "So, he will remain with Tina until things change.

"I talk to him every day, we talk an awful lot of hockey and he’s as passionate about it, maybe even more so because he’s not here and it’s driving him nuts and the players are calling him, too. He’s had a lot of contact here. Going to try to keep that family support, it’s so important."

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Maurice was asked for his thoughts on Montreal goalie Carey Price, who has stepped away from the game and has voluntarily entered the league’s player assistance program.

A joint media release from the NHL and NHLPA on Thursday announced the 34-year-old goalie's decision and said there would be no further comment.

But his wife, Angela, hinted on social media the all-star Canadiens netminder is dealing with a mental-health issue.

Maurice commended him for having the courage to ask for help.

"I’m almost always happy to hear that, for a couple of reasons, and one is, and whatever the challenge — and I’m not speaking specific to Carey Price because I’ve had players who went into the program — those are real challenges," said the Winnipeg bench boss. "It has nothing to do with your bank account, those are real challenges, and the day they go in is the first chance to get help, and that’s a really, really good thing.

"And then, if we do this right as a society, I believe, the kid that’s got the Carey Price jersey who is 12 isn’t going to look at Carey Price as he’s a bad guy. It’s that he’s a courageous guy, and for himself and his family, he went got help. So that’s our responsibility now, that Carey Price is looked at as a courageous leader, he’s got a challenge that he’s dealing with, and because of what he does for a living, it’s public.

"So, maybe the kid with the Carey Price jersey, we want him wearing it the next day, that’s the goal. It's not bad, it’s not a stigma and I’m happy he’s getting help. I’m sorry that he needed it but I’m really happy he’s getting help."

Dale Weise, a Winnipegger and a Carey's former teammate in Montreal, offered his support on social media.

"The amount of people this will impact and help by a guy of this magnitude coming out and saying he needs help will be astronomical! One of the best teammates and people I have ever played with," Weise tweeted.

The NHL and NHLPA started the player assistance program in 1996, with players able to call a confidential phone line. The jointly funded group assists players and their families with mental health, substance abuse and other matters. Counsellors are available in each NHL city.

The NHL and NHLPA first offered the jointly funded player assistance program in 1996. It helps players and their families with mental health, substance abuse and other matters.

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Brenden Dillon envisions picking up a couple of easy assists during his first NHL season with the Jets when Nikolaj Ehlers dashes around the rink.

The new addition to the Winnipeg blue line said he's loved every moment of watching the flashy forward do his thing in training camp.

Ehlers posted a two-goal performance against the Flames on Wednesday, highlighted by solo effort that began in the Jets' zone and ended with a slapper from the top of the circle that found the top shelf.

"I guess I’ve got to figure it out, just lay the puck for Nik Ehlers behind our goal line and get a couple of second assists this year. I wrote that one down after the game last night," Dillon said, drawing laughs from the media gathering. "I think there’s a few guys sprinkled across the league that can do that and we’re fortunate enough to have one in Nikky. Lots of different players on our team can affect the game but those guys, the Connor McDavids, the Nathan MacKinnons, the Sidney Crosbys, all special players for sure."

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Calgary forward Blake Coleman has been suspended for Friday's rematch plus the Flames' season-opener Saturday, Oct. 16 in Edmonton for boarding Jets forward Jansen Harkins on Wednesday.

Harkins had fallen to his knees and was facing the boards when he was hit from behind by Coleman.

The incident occurred at 6:15 of the second period. Coleman was assessed a minor penalty for boarding. Harkins was shaken up and missed a shift but rejoined his teammates on the bench.

Coleman will forfeit US$24,500, with the money going to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

jason.bell@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPJasonBell

Jason Bell

Jason Bell
Assistant sports editor

Jason Bell wanted to be a lawyer when he was a kid. The movie The Paper Chase got him hooked on the idea of law school and, possibly, falling in love with someone exactly like Lindsay Wagner (before she went all bionic).