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New D-man Clitsome says we're 'awesome'

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/2/2012 (1999 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

It can be a lot for a guy to absorb. Dumped from one team -- the NHL's doormats, no less -- and scooped up by another in a playoff race...

Cast adrift by the only organization he has known and thrust into the Winnipeg Jets dressing room days later. New colours, new town, new teammates...

New Winnipeg Jet Grant Clitsome practises at the MTS Centre Wednesday. He hopes to help with the transition game.


New Winnipeg Jet Grant Clitsome practises at the MTS Centre Wednesday. He hopes to help with the transition game.

And how have the last few days been for you, Grant Clitsome?

"My immediate reaction was 'awesome,' " Clitsome said Wednesday after his first practice with the Jets. "I'm really happy and excited to be here.

"It's a whole adjustment process. (Head coach) Claude (Noel) just told me to come in, get to know the guys, get comfortable in your surroundings and ease your way in.

"The same group of guys have been together all season and they're doing really well and are in the middle of a playoff push, so I just want to come in and help out if I can.

"I hope I can help with the transition game, move the puck a little bit and be reliable defensively and just try to do my job out there."

Recalled from the AHL last season, Clitsome made an immediate impact with the Columbus Blue Jackets -- four goals and 19 points in 31 games. But in the nightmare that has been Columbus hockey this year, the 26-year-old defenceman struggled to find consistency in his game, especially after Scott Arniel was fired. And when the Jackets traded Jeff Carter to Los Angeles for defenceman Jack Johnson, his future in Columbus was sealed.

"It was a tough season in general for the whole team, and that really affected individual players all round," Clitsome said. "If you look up and down the whole roster in Columbus, guys underachieved. It was a tough, disappointing season.


"There's been a lot of changes there, players as well, in the last couple of weeks. Guys have been in and out.

"It gets to a point where you just have to bear down and play your game. You're playing for yourself, you're playing for your teammates, regardless of the standings and the results. You've just got to do your job."

Noel confirmed Wednesday that Zach Bogosian would return to the lineup against the Panthers tonight after a seven-game absence with an upper-body injury. Clitsome's Jets debut is uncertain as Noel tries to manage the arrival of the newcomer with the established players in the dressing room.

"There's things you have to look at when you're inserting a new player, like the loyalty to the players in the room," Noel said. "Those are things you all have to look at. It's not reflective of what I think of him as a player; you just have to do the smart thing for the group right now."

As for Clitsome and his first reaction to Winnipeg?

"It's been awesome," he said. "I opened a Twitter account two days ago, and ever since I got picked up on waivers, it's blown up. I'm not really into it that much, but that's been crazy. And just walking around the hotel and the guys here have been awesome about making me feel part of the team.

"Everybody talks about how awesome the fans are and how hockey-crazy the city is. I was fortunate enough to play in the exhibition game here at the beginning of the season and got to witness it first-hand. I'm excited to see what it's like in the regular season." Twitter: @WFPEdTait


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