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Copp thankful to be back practicing ahead of regular season opener

23-year-old skates for first time since blocking shot in preseason finale

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton /

WINNIPEG - It was a scary moment that could have ended a lot worse for Andrew Copp.

Playing on a 5-on-3 penalty kill in the Winnipeg Jets' preseason finale in Calgary on Saturday, Copp blocked a Mark Giordano slapshot off his right leg, and wasn't able to get back to his feet.

After two days off the ice, the 23-year-old was back practicing on Tuesday.

"I was just thankful nothing was broken. I took a couple days off just to rest it, and the swelling has gone down a lot," said Copp, who said he felt helpless in the seconds after the puck hit him.

"Especially (on a) 5-on-3. I thought the whistle would get blown because the puck went outside the zone, but I think the rule is we have to get possession," said Copp. "So a 5-on-2 coming back with five of their best players, just trying to get my feet at some point to get a stick on a pass. It was a pretty helpless feeling, and I'm glad it happened in preseason and not the regular season."

Video: PRACTICE | Andrew Copp

The Ann Arbor, Michigan native rotated with Brandon Tanev on the wing with Adam Lowry and Joel Armia at practice, and participated in a number of drills with the teams penalty kill units.

Head coach Paul Maurice said the forward is a possibility for tomorrow's home opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"We'll get a look at him and see how he feels in about an hour (after practice). He feels pretty good right now," said Maurice. "We'll make sure he's recovering quickly after practice, and then we'll decide."

Video: PRACTICE | Paul Maurice

The rest of Tuesday's line rushes were the exact same as Monday:










Copp scored nine goals and added eight assists in 64 games last season, and throughout the preseason saw a significant amount of time on the penalty kill.

He said blocking shots is part of the job.

"Paul asked if I'll be able to block a shot tomorrow, and I said yes. Hopefully it doesn't hit me in the same spot," smiled Copp, who said it ranked right up there as one of the hardest shots he's ever blocked, including in practice.

"I feel like I've taken one from Patrik (Laine) in practice at some point, but it hit a pad," Copp said. "I don't think that one got any pad on Saturday. It didn't feel good."

Video: PRACTICE | Steve Mason


Copp isn't the only one Laine has dinged with a shot in practice.

Goaltender Steve Mason has seen (and felt) Laine's trademark shot throughout camp. But the sniper's shot accidentally got up high on Mason in each of the last two practices: collarbone on Monday, and the mask today.

"I'm ready to have him turn that shot on other goaltenders. Sometimes it's fun to see him work too," laughed Mason. "I'm really excited to get going here. I think everybody is. Game one of 82, we just have to handle it one game at a time, but I think we're all ready to put last season behind us and get going."

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