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Jets Journal: Emotions in check

by Kristi Hennessy / Winnipeg Jets
Clitsome joins the Jets

Grant Clitsome has arrived in Winnipeg and unpacked his bags at the hotel. He joined his new teammates for a full team skate Wednesday morning at the MTS Centre. He was wearing number 24 and was paired up mostly with Mark Flood.

“It’s a whole adjustment process,” said Clitsome. “Claude just told me to come in and get to know the guys and get comfortable in your surroundings and ease your way in.  It’s the same group of guys who have been together all season. They are doing really well and in the midst of a playoff push so I just want to come in and help out where I can.

“I hope I can help the transition game, and help move the puck a little bit, be reliable defensively and just try to do my job out there.”

Clitsome is no stranger to Winnipeg as he played against the Manitoba Moose as well as in a pre-season game against the Jets as a member of the Blue Jackets.

“It’s been awesome,” Clitsome said of his first couple days in Winnipeg. “The people at the hotel and the guys here have been awesome making me feel like part of the team.

“I’m really excited. Everyone talks about how crazy the fans are here and how hockey crazy the city is. I was fortunate enough to play in that exhibition game here at the beginning of the season and witness it first hand. I’m excited to see what it’s like in a regular season game.”

Emotional roller-coaster

With 17 games remaining on the schedule, things continue to tighten up in the standings more and more. The pressure of winning games and keeping up in the standings can be overwhelming and emotionally grueling for any hockey player. Most players agree that it’s all part of the game of hockey, and you have to strive on that.

“Big time players play in big games,” said Blake Wheeler. “You don’t want to be a guy that shows up when it’s pond hockey when it’s game 65 and it doesn’t matter, you want to be a guy that plays big when the games count the most- and right now is when they count the most.”

Sometimes you hit a rut in the ice and fall, which might be what happened against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night. The key is how quickly they get back up and rebound against another big matchup on Thursday.

“Every once in awhile you have those games where you don’t feel great,” said Andrew Ladd. “We looked out of sync and things weren’t clicking so we need to forget about it and move on- we have a big game tomorrow.”

The quote of the day? "It’s the latest biggest game of the year," said everyone in the Jets dressing room.

“It seems like every one coming up is the biggest game of the year but this one is a team we’re trying to catch," Ladd continued. "It’s a big four-point game and we’re on the outside looking in. It’s a game we need to have.”

For a goaltender, pressure is constant and something you have to be ready for day-in and day-out for the entire season.

“There is pressure all year, but I like it,” said Ondrej Pavelec. “That’s why we play hockey, to play under pressure and to play for the fans. You don’t get a choice; you have to handle it. Big players play their best hockey under pressure.”

 “There are 17 huge games for us coming up. Every game is like a playoff game and we need every win now.”
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