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Posted On Sunday, 10.13.2013 / 1:55 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Jets, Devils shuffle lines in advance of meeting

WINNIPEG – Three consecutive losses for the Winnipeg Jets mean that their forward lines will have a new look when they meet the winless New Jersey Devils at MTS Centre on Sunday evening.

At the Jets’ (2-3-0) morning skate Sunday, coach Claude Noel broke up the trio of captain Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler, his top line that had carried the Jets for much of last season. Evander Kane will replace Ladd on the Jets’ top line, while Ladd will skate alongside rookie Mark Scheifele and Michael Frolik.

“I think we have to play better in a general sense,” Noel said of the line changes. “Will the lines do that because of the changes? We’ll see.”

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Posted On Friday, 10.11.2013 / 2:36 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars wary of long layoff as they prepare for Jets

WINNIPEG -- After losing two straight, the Winnipeg Jets open a season-long six-game homestand against the well-rested Dallas Stars Friday night at MTS Centre.

The Jets (2-2-0) dropped their second consecutive game, a 2-1 loss against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night. The Stars (1-1-0) have not played since last Saturday, when they defeated the Washington Capitals, 2-1.

After 14 years in the former Pacific Division, the Stars will play their first divisional matchup as a member of the new Central Division. Dallas leads the all-time series between the teams 11-2-1.

Dallas coach Lindy Ruff is wary of his team's six-day layoff.

"Those one-on-one compete situations that are hard to simulate in practice. That [is what] you've got to be ready for," Ruff said after the Stars' morning skate at MTS Centre. "Teams that have played more games are usually into those combat situations. To play a couple of games and then sit around for [six] days, I think it always hurts a team."

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Posted On Sunday, 10.06.2013 / 2:32 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Jets welcome Selanne, shoot for franchise's first 3-0 start

WINNIPEG – Teemu Selanne's mere early-morning arrival created a buzz, but the Anaheim Ducks and Winnipeg Jets have a game to play Sunday night at MTS Centre.

The Jets have taken their first two games this season, and a win against the Ducks would give the franchise its first-ever 3-0-0 start. Anaheim took a 4-3 overtime win Saturday night on the road against the Minnesota Wild and will wrap up its three-game season-opening trip against the Jets before returning to the West Coast.

Selanne did not dress against Minnesota as part of an offseason plan designed to ease his workload this season. The Ducks play 14 back-to-back set this season, and Selanne will play one game per set.

Selanne spent parts of four seasons with the original Winnipeg Jets franchise in the 1990s, playing 231 games and scoring 147 of his 675 career NHL goals. He won the Calder Memorial Trophy with 76-goal rookie debut in the 1992-93 season.

While the 43-year-old made his on-ice return to Winnipeg in December 2011, even his subsequent return this weekend has drawn crowds to the Ducks' downtown hotel and massive media attention for what is expected to be his final regular-season game in Winnipeg.

"He deserves it," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said of Selanne. "We want him to play. We'd like him to score a couple of goals and make this a perfect farewell."

The Jets are also aware of Selanne's stature in the city.

"He's a freak of nature," Jets right wing Blake Wheeler said of Selanne. "He has been the model of consistency, and he is someone that I think a lot of young guys look up to, especially guys who play forward."

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Posted On Friday, 10.04.2013 / 1:53 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Jets hoping to come out firing against Kings

WINNIPEG -– The Winnipeg Jets' fresh legs will meet an opponent in the Los Angeles Kings that is playing its second game in 24 hours when the teams meet Friday night at MTS Centre.

The Kings opened their season Thursday night on the road by grinding out a come-from-behind 3-2 shootout win against the Minnesota Wild. Winnipeg opened its season Tuesday with a third-period rally of its own in taking a 5-4 win against the Edmonton Oilers.

Only four Kings participated in the team's morning skate after a late arrival in Winnipeg from Minnesota. Jets right wing Blake Wheeler watched the Los Angeles-Minnesota game on television, and he expects the Kings to attempt to slow down a quick Jets team, especially with L.A. playing on consecutive nights.

"From our side, we've got to come at them and try to make them skate with us," Wheeler said after the Jets' morning skate.

Winnipeg plays eight of its next nine games at home and needs a strong month to establish itself as a legitimate player in the Western Conference, especially after posting a 13-10-1 home record last season that ranked 21st in the League. Jets coach Claude Noel is interested to see how his team fares against an opponent that plays a very conservative game. In his third season at the helm in Winnipeg, Noel has made a stronger commitment to defensive play a major priority in 2013-14.

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Posted On Wednesday, 09.11.2013 / 4:09 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Training Camp 2013 blog

New-look Jets determined to be better

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets retained their coaching staff this summer, but it will have a new look.

The Jets coupled a 30th-place showing on the power play last season with the penalty kill's 24th-place finish. The organization has made retooling the club's special-teams play a top priority.

To that end, coach Claude Noel announced that assistant coach Pascal Vincent will focus on the power play, while veteran assistant Perry Pearn will work on fixing the club's penalty kill, with help from Charlie Huddy.

"We have to be better," Noel said.

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Posted On Wednesday, 09.11.2013 / 3:24 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Training Camp 2013 blog

Noel: Improved depth improves Jets' playoff hopes

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets reported to MTS Centre on Wednesday for physicals, but the real work of answering a long list of questions will begin when they take the ice Thursday to prepare for their first season in the Western Conference.

While the Jets gave coach Claude Noel a one-year contract extension this summer, there will be considerable pressure on him, in his third season, to take the organization into the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2007, when the franchise was located in Atlanta. Another postseason miss could leave Noel’s future behind the Winnipeg bench in jeopardy.

"I'm certainly ready to go," Noel told reporters in his season-opening address. "I'm anticipating some very good things this year."

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Posted On Thursday, 04.25.2013 / 2:12 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Sputtering Canadiens can end Jets' season

WINNIPEG -- The Montreal Canadiens look to remedy their sputtering play when they visit the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre.

The Canadiens, who have four wins in their past 10 games, have an invitation to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Jets, meanwhile, are clinging to the faintest of postseason hopes.

Montreal coach Michel Therrien will insert rookie defensemen Jarred Tinordi, whom the Canadiens recalled from the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League this week, and pair him with veteran Francis Bouillon. Tinordi, whom the Canadiens selected with the 22nd pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, was named the Bulldogs' defenseman of the year along with fellow rookie Nathan Beaulieu. Tinordi will replace Yannick Weber on the Montreal blue line.

Travis Moen will sit out his second consecutive game for the Canadiens, and Ryan White will serve the final game of his five-game NHL suspension.

Jets coach Claude Noel said he will not alter his lineup but could juggle his defensive pairings. The Jets are missing top defensemen Zach Bogosian and Tobias Enstrom. They also remain without centermen Olli Jokinen and Jim Slater.

Montreal's Carey Price will make his seventh consecutive start in goal and face Winnipeg workhorse Ondrej Pavelec, who will close out the Jets' regular season with his 13th straight starting assignment.

Here are the projected lineups for the Canadiens and Jets:

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Posted On Thursday, 04.18.2013 / 2:08 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Jets go for fifth straight win on critical homestand

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets face another crucial game Thursday evening when they play the Carolina Hurricanes at MTS Centre.

Sitting in ninth place and tied at 46 points with the eighth-place New York Rangers, the Jets will again be without first-pairing defenseman Tobias Enstrom (mid-body), who will miss his third straight game. The Jets have won the first four games of their six-game homestand that ends Saturday afternoon against the New York Islanders.

The Hurricanes have lost four consecutive road games and will be without forward Jeff Skinner, who left their 3-2 road loss to the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday. Skinner joins goalie Cam Ward, defenseman Joni Pitkanen and forward Tim Brent among the Carolina injured. After the morning skate, coach Kirk Muller said he hopes Skinner will return this weekend when the Hurricanes play a pair of back-to-back games.

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.16.2013 / 2:40 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Lightning look to future with Bishop under contract

WINNIPEG -- The Tampa Bay Lightning have only the slimmest of chances to still reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs this spring, but they have secured a key part of their future.

Goaltender Ben Bishop signed a two-year contract extension Monday after the Lightning arrived here for their game Tuesday evening with the Winnipeg Jets. The Lightning acquired Bishop from the Ottawa Senators on April 3 at the NHL Trade Deadline for speedy forward Cory Conacher.

The 26-year-old has gone 2-3-0 in six games with Tampa Bay and posted a .916 save percentage to go with his 3.21 goals-against average. Bishop earned a 45-save shutout in his Tampa Bay debut April 4 against the Carolina Hurricanes and has assumed the Lightning's No. 1 job with an ankle injury having sidelined Anders Lindback since March 20.

"It's definitely nice to have, but it doesn't change anything," Bishop said after Tampa Bay's morning skate at MTS Centre. "It's just a piece of paper. I still have to go out there and perform and do [my] job."

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.16.2013 / 2:19 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Jets face critical home contest in playoff push

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets’ margin for error is slim Tuesday evening as they begin their final push toward what would be their first berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2007.

The Jets will meet the Tampa Bay Lightning at MTS Centre without defenseman Tobias Enstrom, who is out with what the Jets are terming a "mid-body injury." The Jets downgraded Enstrom’s status to week-to-week during their four-day break.

Jets coach Claude Noel said center Nik Antropov, who has not played since April 2, is a possibility to return later this week as the Jets close out their six-game homestand.

Ondrej Pavelec will again start in net for Winnipeg.

Here is the projected lineup for the Jets:

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Quote of the Day

I didn't even know how to celebrate. I threw my hands up, they gave me a hug, so I guess that's all I needed.

— Sabres forward Tim Schaller on scoring his first NHL goal Sunday against the Bruins