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In midst of long road trip, Jets still adjusting to Western Conference travel

Wednesday, 12.04.2013 / 6:25 PM / News

The Canadian Press

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In midst of long road trip, Jets still adjusting to Western Conference travel

It's not the conference, it's the geography for the Winnipeg Jets.

When the NHL realigned this season and moved the Jets out of the Southeast Division and into the Central in the West, the organization welcomed the change. In exchange for more games against tougher Western Conference opponents, Winnipeg got more games against natural rivals and in the Central Time Zone.

The Jets aren't really travelling much less than in 2011-12, in part because of a more balanced schedule around the league, but as they're nearing the end of the longest road trip of the season a couple of players have noticed an improvement from two years ago. Of course they recognize that it's never going to be an easy go for them.

It helps that the team is 3-1-0 on this trip so far, with games Thursday at the Florida Panthers and Saturday at the Tampa Bay Lightning left before returning to Winnipeg.

Winger Blake Wheeler hopes that a strong road trip sparks the Jets and allows them to go on a run the rest of December. Going into Wednesday night's games, they're six points out of the second wild card spot in the West.

That's a pretty wide gap, but with an upcoming slate that includes games against the Panthers, Buffalo Sabres, Edmonton Oilers and Sergei Bobrovsky-less Columbus Blue Jackets, the Jets could be due for a run.

Quote of the Day

He seemed to thrive on his own and didn't really need any push from me. I certainly don't want to get in the way of the coaches. You see how that goes sometimes. I never really worried about it and just enjoyed the ride.

— David Ekblad on his son's [Aaron Ekblad] journey to the NHL, signing with the Florida Panthers