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At the Rink blog

Jets add Clitsome, turn focus to Oilers

Monday, 02.27.2012 / 2:00 PM

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

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At the Rink blog
Jets add Clitsome, turn focus to Oilers
WINNIPEG -- The NHL trade deadline talk dominated the MTS Centre, but the Winnipeg Jets have a playoff race to focus on, first and foremost.

The Jets (30-26-8) continue their eight-game homestand with a visit from the Edmonton Oilers, the city's long-time Smythe Division nemesis during its first NHL era. Eighth-place Winnipeg is two points behind the Florida Panthers for the Southeast Division lead and yields three games in hand to Kevin Dineen's club. The Jets and Panthers will meet in Winnipeg on Thursday.

Coach Claude Noel admits that combining the trade deadline and a game-day routine is a complicated mix, particularly inside a dressing room that he says has solid team chemistry.

"It's a tough day for players for a lot of different reasons," Noel said. "I think our chemistry is great, and that is always the fear."

Defenseman Zach Bogosian will be a game-time decision for the Jets.

The Jets also added defenseman Grant Clitsome via waivers from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Noel does not expect that Clitsome will be available for action against the Oilers. The 26-year-old Clitsome registered 4 goals and 14 points in 51 games this season and was in the Columbus organization when Noel worked with the Blue Jackets.

"You can never have enough defenseman," Noel said.

Ondrej Pavelec, who had a game off in Saturday afternoon's 3-2 shootout loss to St. Louis, will return again to the Winnipeg net.

Here are the projected lines and pairings for the Jets:

Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler
Evander Kane - Alexander Burmistrov - Kyle Wellwood
Tanner Glass - Jim Slater - Chris Thorburn
Tim Stapleton - Nik Antropov - Antti Miettinen

Tobias Enstrom - Dustin Byfuglien
Johnny Oduya - Ron Hainsey
Randy Jones - Mark Stuart

Ondrej Pavelec
Chris Mason
Quote of the Day

I downplayed the first one because I thought it's just a hockey game. We just want to win the game; it's against our rival and we want the two points. I downplayed it, but now having gone through the first one I look back and say, 'Geez, that was really cool.' I think as I've grown a bit older I've got a lot more appreciation for what we're allowed to do every day.

— Capitals forward Brooks Laich on the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, the second one of his career after 2011 in Pittsburgh