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Winnipeg Jets return to ice after Olympic break, two points out of playoff spot

Wednesday, 02.19.2014 / 6:15 PM / News

The Canadian Press

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Winnipeg Jets return to ice after Olympic break, two points out of playoff spot

WINNIPEG - The Winnipeg Jets, minus their four Olympians, returned to the ice for their first practice after the Olympic break Wednesday, looking to close the two-point gap between themselves and the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Since new head coach Paul Maurice took over, the Jets have gone on a pretty surprising run but now they have to finish the task of qualifying in order to qualify for just their second playoff appearance in franchise history.

It's been seven years since the Atlanta Thrashers were swept in the first round of the NHL playoffs in their only appearance.

Forwards Olli Jokinen, Blake Wheeler and Michael Frolik, plus No. 1 netminder Ondrej Pavelec, are still in Sochi and a couple of other players were nursing minor injuries and didn't skate.

Maurice says he wants to work on things like defensive systems and forechecking without the puck as they prepare to return to game action.

But he's also scheduling Friday's practice to allow the team to get together and watch Canada meet the United States in one of the men's Olympic hockey semifinals.

Quote of the Day

Just the feel for the direction they were headed and what they're trying to do, it just felt that this is a really good thing for this organization. They've got the pieces. We can put something together and go on a run or two and be together for a while, and I'm really excited about that opportunity. The team we have here has an opportunity to win, and that's the most attractive thing.

— Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen on why he decided to sign with the Capitals