WINNIPEG Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien will be held out of the lineup again tonight against the Nashville Predators at the MTS Centre.

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WINNIPEG Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien will be held out of the lineup again tonight against the Nashville Predators at the MTS Centre.

Head coach Claude Noel said Thursday that Byfuglien has a minor injury, but wouldn't specify the nature of the problem.

Dustin Byfuglien

CP

Dustin Byfuglien

"He's banged up," Noel said. "I know you're going to ask me, 'What does he have?' but I'm not prepared to tell you.

"It's nothing major. It's day-to-day."

Byfuglien's pre-season will end with just two games played. He recorded two assists and brings to five the number of players on the team's injured list as camp nears an end.

Byfuglien and centre Ben Maxwell are listed as day-to-day.

Forwards Eric Fehr, Kenndal McArdle and Aaron Gagnon are all out longer term. Noel did say Thursday that Fehr's return would be late October, but he also could have meant that will be the Winkler product's return to the practice ice.

Mason gets some love

Bryan Little

Bryan Little

AFTER two starts on the road in the pre-season, veteran goalie Chris Mason enjoyed a little love at the MTS Centre.

He got the win, a 3-1 decision over Carolina, but did it make up for being "cannon fodder," in two previous road games, both losses?

"You understand that typically you'll go in the first few games with younger lineups on the road and vice-versa here, where you tend to keep your bigger guys at home," Mason said. "I've had some unbelievable pre-seasons and some not-so-good pre-seasons but in the end it never really matters, only that in the end you like to start feeling better.

"But yeah, it was really nice to play here in Winnipeg in front of that crowd. It was awesome to see what's that's like."

Little bit of confusion

NHL pre-season games aren't only for the players, it seems.

Jets training and bench staff, along with the coaches, are still getting used to each other, head coach Claude Noel said Thursday.

He relayed one amusing in-game incident he said the team will "work on," when forward Bryan Little broke his stick during the action and came looking for an on-the-fly replacement.

One of the staff, Noel said, had left the bench because it was near the end of the period, and that caused a glitch."

"They usually have it for him," the coach smiled. "They pride themselves, like a NASCAR tire-changing crew. But they didn't have it so I'm sure somebody mentioned it to them."

Cormier going good

FORWARD Patrice Cormier, who played 21 games for the Thrashers last season, made a solid contribution to Wednesday's win, setting up Evander Kane for the first Jets goal.

He's one of five or six forwards battling for one or two spots on the roster.

"As every game goes, I think I'm improving every game," said the 21-year-old 2008 first-round draft pick in New Jersey. "That's the way you want to go; you don't want to go downward.

"So personally, and the team, everybody's going in the right direction. The coaching staff are helping us a lot."

Cormier said the competition is intense.

"We know we're battling against each other," he said.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca