WINNIPEG - The reality of it all hasn't fully sunk in, but there's overwhelming sense of excitement one of the newest Jets, Quinton Howden , feels lacing them up here, just a few minutes from his home in nearby Oakbank.
"It still doesn't feel real," the 24-year-old said Monday following an informal practice at MTS Iceplex. "I feel like in two weeks I've got to pack up, so to be able to be comfortable and just drive to the
rink in the morning, I really don't think I'm used to it yet, but definitely excited."
Howden, a former first-round pick, signed a one-year, two-way, $650,000 contract with the Jets back on Jul. 1 after playing parts of three seasons with the Florida Panthers, the team that drafted him 25th overall in 2010. He had 11 points (6G, 5A) in 58 games with the Cats last season, giving
him 17 total points (10G, 7A) in 92 career games.
He is currently skating three days a week with a group that includes fellow Jets Mark Stuart , Connor Hellebuyck and Alexander Burmistrov , along with fellow Manitobans Travis Hamonic (New York Islanders), Ryan Reaves (St. Louis Blues) and newly-crowned Cup champ Eric Fehr
(Pittsburgh Penguins), who spent the 2011-12 campaign here in Winnipeg.
Many of the pros not participating in the upcoming World Cup will continue skating here until closer to training camp, which kicks off in about three weeks.
"You want to go into camp feeling 100 percent, the best you can," he said. "We're working on 2-on-1's, battling drills and so on. The 3-on-3 portion at the end, it looks like it's just fun for
us, but you're actually competing against these guys."
"We've got a good crew out here. It's been a lot of fun so far. We're all hard-working guys just trying to get better."
- Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com