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This article was published 20/4/2018 (1276 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The Winnipeg Jets will be getting a big boost to their blue line tonight as Tyler Myers has confirmed he's good to go.
Myers was injured in Game 3 of the playoff series with the Minnesota Wild on Sunday. He got tangled with Marcus Foligno and fell awkwardly, clearly tweaking something in his lower body.
Myers flew back to Winnipeg for treatment and didn't play in Game 4 on Tuesday. Coach Paul Maurice said he needed to get checked out to ensure this wasn't a re-aggravation of hip and knee injuries that caused Myers to miss most of last season.
"When you don’t know what it is, the spectrum is huge. Until you find out what it is. And once you’re comfortable and in good shape you’re back on the ice the next day," said Maurice. "You’re talking about a guy who missed a year, basically, with an injury. We wanted to make sure it wasn’t that. This was the only place for us to get comfortable in doing that. Once we passed through that gate he was back on the ice."
Myers was a full participant in Friday's morning skate and told reporters he's ready to return to action as the Jets look to finish off the Wild in Game 5 tonight at Bell MTS Place. Winnipeg leads the best-of-seven series 3-1.
"Feel pretty good. Stepped out there this morning and all things were going pretty well, so I’ll be out there tonight," said Myers.
Although some people felt the play by Foligno was dirty — especially since the Wild forward appeared to punch the back of Myers' knee as he also tumbled to the ice — Myers wasn't ready to play the blame game. In fact, he said the so-called punch didn't play a role in his injury.
"I just remember it being an awkward play. I haven’t put too much thought into it, trying to focus on tonight and trying to get back to feeling good again these past couple of days. I did that. Trying to get a win here," he said.
Foligno, a former teammate of Myers in Buffalo, texted Myers following the incident with an apology.
"Honestly, I haven’t put too much thought into it," Myers said. "I think I watched the replay once right after to kind of see what I was doing, really. Just trying to win a hockey game tonight."
Winnipeg responded with a stellar 2-0 win in Game 4 despite missing Myers, along with regulars Toby Enstrom and Dmitry Kulikov.
"It was tough. You never want to sit out a game. You always want to be out there helping the team win. Back out there doing that tonight. Feels good. Feel ready," he said.
Winnipeg will be without top-pairing defenceman Josh Morrissey tonight, as he serves his one-game suspension for cross-checking Minnesota's Eric Staal in the neck during Game 4.
So the return of Myers couldn't come at a better time. It will mean rookie Sami Niku will not be pressed into action, as was expected if Myers couldn't play.
"Whether Josh was in or not tonight, I didn’t expect to relax too much. He’s obviously a big loss. He’s been a workhorse for us all year, very consistent throughout the entire season. We’ll have to step up like we have all year," said Myers, who credited the training staff with helping him make a quick recovery.
"Gave it a little time to settle. It did exactly what we wanted. Fully expect to be back to normal tonight," he said. "I even texted them last night saying, ‘Thanks.’ They did a great job. It’s a matter of putting that behind me and focusing on tonight."
The exact defensive pairings for tonight aren't clear. Maurice suggested someone may move to their off-side to help balance things out.
"It’s been a tough series so far. The series is never over until you get that fourth win. They’re desperate coming into our building. We fully expect to see their best. I thought, watching Game 4, that we responded really well from Game 3. So we want to make sure we keep that level of pace up and play our game as well," said Myers.
Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.