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Copp, Jets looking forward to facing Tanev and Penguins

Morrissey skates in Monday's practice; Kulikov won't play Tuesday, Niku recalled

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton /

PITTSBURGH, PA - Monday's 40-minute skate in Pittsburgh brought more personnel changes to the Winnipeg Jets blue line.

After missing Sunday's game with an upper-body injury, Josh Morrissey was a full participant in the session and looks good to go for Tuesday's tilt with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

However, Dmitry Kulikov was absent from practice and won't play on Tuesday as he tends to a personal matter.

As a result, Sami Niku has been recalled from the Manitoba Moose and is on his way to Pittsburgh. The Jets won't have to make any corresponding roster move to accommodate for Niku's recall, as Kulikov's case is an exemption to the NHL's 23-player roster rule.

Video: PRACTICE | Paul Maurice

With Morrissey back on the ice and Kulikov away, here is how the Jets line rushes looked:









Just prior to the Jets taking to the ice, the Pittsburgh Penguins were wrapping up their practice at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.

A few of the players sent a chorus of boos toward former teammate Brandon Tanev, who signed a six-year contract with the Penguins on July 1.

"I'd be in that group for sure," laughed Andrew Copp.

"I definitely looked for this one on the schedule to see when we'd get him."

Video: PRACTICE | Andrew Copp

Tanev played 195 regular season games with the Jets, scoring 24 times and accumulating 51 points. He was also a key part of the trio the Jets often used against the opposition's best: Copp, Tanev, and Adam Lowry.

"We had an identity. We knew what we needed to do every night. We stuck to it and played to our strengths," said Lowry. "It felt like we really created some chemistry that continued to grow over the years. 

"It'll be different seeing him in a different jersey."

A number of Jets still keep in touch with Tanev. In fact, some days Copp knows when Tanev is going to reach out to him.

"He's always the first guy to be texting me when Michigan is losing a football game to make sure that I know," Copp said. "He's a great player. He deserves every chance he gets. He's worked so hard to get where he is. His story is one of the best in the NHL I think. So I'm really happy for him."


Connor Hellebuyck stayed true to his word.

Following the season-opening loss to the New York Rangers, Hellebuyck said he'd go back over the video and find where he can improve.

"I liked my game there, but there is definitely a switch that I turned over. In practice, I brought a little more energy. It's that little one per cent that's going to change everything," Hellebuyck said.

"Experience helps everything. In my case, I've gone through a lot. I've got a lot of experience under my belt. I'll put this behind me and use it as motivation."

Video: PRACTICE | Connor Hellebuyck

Since then, Laurent Brossoit has made back to back starts, but Hellebuyck said he didn't read too much into it. He has a close relationship with Brossoit and knows they're both pushing each other to be better.

"I think we are pushing each other a little more this season," Hellebuyck said. "You can tell he's a great goalie, but so am I. This is only going to make both of us better and in the long run it will help us build a full team."

Jets head coach Paul Maurice didn't officially name a starter for tomorrow's game.

Should Hellebuyck get the call for the second time this season, he knows what he expects out of himself.

"Control my rebounds, make sure I'm playing the puck well and making it easy on everyone in the defensive zone," he said. "Being that rock back there. I want the guys to trust me, I know they do, I want to make sure they're not having a blind trust."


While the Jets continue to deal with personnel being out of the line-up due to injury, the Penguins also received some injury news on Monday.

Evgeni Malkin and Nick Bjugstad will both be out long-term, meaning they will not be in the line-up tomorrow night.

Video: PRACTICE | Adam Lowry

"If you don't have to play against Evgeni you'd prefer not to," said Maurice. "But if you're a fan of the game you want him in the line-up every night. You need to actually get on the ice with some of these guys to fully appreciate them.

"Like to fully appreciate Blake Wheeler's speed at his size, you need to have him blow right by you when you're on the ice. To watch what Evgeni Malkin can do with the puck at speed - I know you see it on TV and you see it in the stands, but it is completely different when you're standing five feet away from it - it is breathtaking."

Regardless of injuries however, the Jets know they're in for a challenge tomorrow night at PPG Paints Arena. The message following the team meeting and into practice was simple.

"Just being able to mentally stick with what you're doing, even when the other team changes gears a little bit," said Maurice. "Our game got opened up in the second period (against the Islanders), you saw the result of that. LB had to make a number of great saves.

"We changed how we were playing and because of that we gave up far more than we needed to."

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