LET'S start with the bad news, or rather an update on the bad news:

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 26/12/2011 (3593 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Bryan Little celebrates a goal against the Phoenix Coyotes Dec. 1 in Winnipeg. His scoring touch is something the Jets are missing, but he may not be back until the new year.

CP

Bryan Little celebrates a goal against the Phoenix Coyotes Dec. 1 in Winnipeg. His scoring touch is something the Jets are missing, but he may not be back until the new year.

LET'S start with the bad news, or rather an update on the bad news:

Winnipeg Jets centre Bryan Little didn't make the trip to Denver and there is some doubt he'll be ready to play before the ball drops on 2012. Little's foot is still quite sore, head coach Claude Noel said, and the forward couldn't do much when he tried to put a skate on Monday morning.

Gabriel Landeskog

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Gabriel Landeskog

"He's slow going; it looks like it's going to be a while," Noel told reporters. "I'd like to say 'day-to-day' -- (that) would be wishful thinking."

Little, who had 11 goals and 20 points in 32 games before taking a Dustin Byfuglien point shot off the foot early in the Dec. 17 game against Anaheim, has missed the last three contests.

The silver lining in the Little injury: His absence gives sophomore Alexander Burmistrov a chance to climb the depth chart and show what he can do in the middle of a line that's expected to produce offensively. So far, three games and counting now, the young Russian has adjusted to his new situation pretty well, Noel said.

"It's a good viewing session for the coaching staff to take a look and see if he fits -- how he fits -- and (whether) he can handle that load," the coach said, noting that in a perfect world Burmistrov would get this exposure to first-line minutes on the wing.

"The problem that line is going to get is that they're going to get heavy checkers, especially when you go on the road. You get the matchups where the better defencemen and better checkers come against you."

Blake Wheeler congratulates Ondrej Pavelec for his shutout against the Habs.

Blake Wheeler congratulates Ondrej Pavelec for his shutout against the Habs.

Burmistrov has handled the assignment, picking up two goals in the three-plus games he's been situated between Evander Kane and Blake Wheeler, and with the news on Little not encouraging it looks like he's going to be there for at least the rest of the week.

"You can see good feelings and confidence going in his game," Wheeler said. "He had that early on (in the season) but like any young guy, it's just the ups and downs of it. He's done a good job."

 

OTHER INJURY NEWS: Byfuglien left the ice midway through practice Monday and didn't return. Noel said the defenceman is dealing with "nagging injuries" and that the club is monitoring the situation.

Alexander Burmistrov

Alexander Burmistrov

All indications are Byfuglien will be in the lineup tonight (8 p.m., TSN Jets, TSN 1290), but considering his early exit from practice -- coming after two days away from the rink thanks to the holiday break -- how healthy he is seems to be up for interpretation.

 

IN THE CREASE: Ondrej Pavelec or Chris Mason?

Noel wasn't ready to reveal his starter against the Avalanche but did say that his backup goaltender is due for some action this week. Here's Noel on Mason:

"He's had some good outings and I can't keep cooling him down. Pavelec has been so good for us, as well, and we're fortunate to have both guys going, but I can't lose sight of Chris Mason. I'm certainly aware that he needs to play here in the next little while."

 

ODD STAT: The leading shot taker is on the Colorado side is...who?

Forwards Matt Duchene and Milan Hejduk seem logical options, as both like to score and have a history of showing up on the highlight reels at the end of the night. Defenceman Kyle Quincey is another good try, considering how much he plays during the course of a game.

None of the above. It's Swedish rookie Gabriel Landeskog, the second overall choice in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. The 19-year-old has rifled 109 pucks to the net -- the most on his team and by far the most by a rookie in the NHL (no one else has found triple digits yet).

Landeskog is eighth in freshman scoring with 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) this season.

adam.wazny@freepress.mb.ca