Video: JetsTV Road Report
The Winnipeg Jets continue the 2017 Young Stars Classic tonight against the Edmonton Oilers at 9:30pm CT in Penticton, BC.
You can watch the game LIVE right here on WinnipegJets.com, as the Jets' official YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/user/NHLJets) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/nhljets/) pages beginning at 9:15pm CT.
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE FULL ROSTER
PENTICTON, BC - Tucker Poolman has been waiting for this day for a long time - 177 days to be exact.
But after exiting the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) championship game on March 18 after a hit sent him into the boards awkwardly - and resulted in off-season bi-lateral shoulder surgery - the 24-year-old defenceman will be in the line-up when the Winnipeg Jets prospects finish the Young Stars tournament against Calgary on Monday.
"In practice I've had plenty of hits, and I feel comfortable with them. It's more so speed of the game and hopping into it," said Poolman. "It's like riding a bike, it comes back the more you do it. I've had a couple practices here and I can already tell, it's starting to slow down for me a little bit. Hopefully tomorrow after a couple shifts it starts to slow down and it'll feel more normal."
Video: PREGAME | Tucker Poolman
Poolman won a national championship with the University of North Dakota in the 2015-16 season, and was named the NCHC's best defensive defenceman in 2016-17.
One day before his first of two shoulder surgeries this summer, Poolman signed a one-year entry-level contract with the Winnipeg Jets.
In head coach Pascal Vincent's mind, Poolman can bring a lot to the ice, but he wants to see the defenceman build his confidence back up first.
"Move the puck quick, just get the timing back. He hasn't played a whole lot for a while," said Vincent. "He's got good size, he can skate, and he's got good feet. I've seen some games he's played in the past and he was used on the power play and the penalty kill… His toolbox is pretty full. So we'll see how we can use those tools and bring that to the pro level."
Video: PREGAME | Pascal Vincent
Jake Kulevich was paired with Poolman during Sunday's practice at the South Okanagan Events Centre. Kulevich, 24, got his first taste of professional hockey during his 11-game stint wit the Manitoba Moose at the end of last season.
Prior to that, he played four seasons with Colgate University, leading the team in points from the blue line with 22 in 37 games in his final season.
Monday's match-up against the Flames will be his second of the tournament, after sitting out Saturday's game against Edmonton.
"The pace of the games has been what we've expected - really fast and physical," he said, adding his focus has been moving the puck as quickly as possible from the back end to the skilled forwards playing in front of him.
"You just want to get them the puck and play a simple game. You can't try to do too much, especially early on in the season in tournaments like this. You just want to play simple and let the rest take care of itself."
Video: PREGAME | Jake Kulevich
The team will be looking to end the tournament on a positive note, after falling 4-2 to Vancouver on Friday, and 3-0 to Edmonton the next night.
"As much as we're here to evaluate, you don't want to put too much emphasis on winning or losing, at the end of the day when you don't win, you're not too happy. You want to win games," said Vincent.
"We want to win that game. We want to win the small details of the game…. Winning a game is always fun."