WINNIPEG – “They’re making slow forward progress.”
That was how Head Coach Paul Maurice characterized the recovery status of injured forwards Mark Scheifele, Adam Lowry and Drew Stafford following practice Tuesday at MTS Centre.
All three players are currently on injured reserve, and while Scheifele is eligible to come off anytime, the other two cannot be activated until Thursday.
Scheifele (lower body) and Stafford (upper body) will skate on their own tomorrow, and Lowry (upper body) is a possibility as well. Goaltender Ondrej Pavelec (knee), meanwhile, as he continues the on-ice portion of his rehabilitation, will likely be taking shots for the first time in two months
The bustling infirmary has left the Jets battered offensively, but Maurice is confident they have enough talent to get the job done in the interim.
“That’s the way the games are going to look,” Maurice said of Monday’s 37-shot effort in a tight, 2-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. “We still generated (offence), but there’s the finishing play we’re missing. We had lot of our shots blocked, so maybe if we have a bit more creativity with two of the [injured] players out there… But we’re going to have enough good players in our lineup that
we’re going to have that expectation [to win].”
With Monday’s loss, the Jets are back below .500 (21-22-3); four points back of a playoff spot. They’ll get another chance to close the gap Thursday as they square off with division rival Nashville Predators for the second time in a week.
“You’ve got to find a way to stay positive, stay upbeat and be excited about these games,” captain Andrew Ladd said. “You can’t look back. There are so many teams that are in the same position as we’re in, and you’re doing yourself any favours if you’re dwelling on losses. We’re at the point in
the season where you need to let it go and get excited about the next game.”
It was a moment JC Lipon will never forget.
With his Regina-based family on hand cheering him on, Lipon took to the ice Monday a member of the National Hockey League.
Lipon – the 91st pick in the 2013 after going undrafted in his first two years of eligibility – finished the night with one hit and one takeaway in just over seven minutes of ice time.
“It’s fast out there, but my game is (about) speed, so I felt more and more comfortable out there as the game went along, and thought I did some good things,” Lipon said. “The guys are bigger and everyone’s always in the right position. You definitely don’t have the puck on your tape as long, that’s for sure.”
Lipon has eight goals and 17 points in 30 games this season with the Jets’ AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose. His game, which Maurice termed a “version” of Matt Halischuk’s, was on full display, full tilt.
“He did what we hoped he would do,” Maurice said of the 22-year-old. “He brought some energy, got on the puck and on the body. He did a good job.”
“Everyone’s dream is to play in the NHL, so to play a game is pretty special – especially here in Winnipeg where the fans are really loud,” Lipon said. “I got a little taste of that in some of the exhibition games as well, so I kind of knew what to expect. Now that it’s here, it was pretty
– Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com