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Jets Journal: Keeping the focus

by Kristi Hennessy / Winnipeg Jets

After a much deserved day off Monday, the Winnipeg Jets players and coaches were back at it for more practice at the MTS Centre Tuesday morning. The mood in the dressing room was relaxed and refreshed after the exciting, historic afternoon Sunday.

The focus of today's practice appeared to be "focus" as the team prepares to depart for their first two-game road trip of the season starting in Chicago on Thursday night. This will be just the second game of the Jets' young season in 12 days. That leaves a whole handful of days open for practice. With that amount of practices, Coach Claude Noel must find a way to keep the team focused and improving each and every day- a task that sometimes is easier said than done. The emotion level was high as Noel tried to stress to his team that they must be sharper at practice if they want to be successful.

"There are reasons why you win and lose hockey games," Noel told media after the 75-minute practice. " After a day off you need to re-engage the mind, so my barking was a wake-up. It was the same mistakes in practice that lead to mistakes in the game. We have to change that."

All eyes were on Evander Kane who was playing with a pair of new faces. Kane, who saw just over 10 minutes of ice-time on Sunday night, was playing on a line with Nik Antropov and Alexander Burmistrov. Kane says he's more than comfortable playing with the duo and have had success in the past.

"We played together last year at the end of the season," said Kane. "Antro sees the ice so well and Burmi probably has the best hands on the team so he can maneuver really well in the corners. If I can get open and he can get me the puck, it works for good line. We have a lot of speed and Antro is a lot quicker than most people think."


Thursday night will be a special night for two specific Jets, Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd. The former Blackhawks players will return to the United Center for the first time since winning the
Andrew Ladd
Left Wing, 2010-11 SEASON STATS
GOALS: 29 | ASST: 30 | PTS: 59
SOG: 195 | +/-: -10
Stanley Cup in 2010. Ladd expressed his excitement to return to the place that holds so many memories. It is expected that he will receive a positive welcome from the Chicago fans.

"I'm excited to get back there," said Ladd. "Lots of great memories and will be great to see the banner."

Byfuglien and Ladd were traded to the Atlanta Thrashers in the off-season after winning the
Dustin Byfuglien
defence, 2010-11 SEASON STATS
GOALS: 20 | ASST: 33 | PTS: 53
SOG: 347 | +/-: -2
Stanley Cup. The Thrashers faced the Blackhawks just once last season but that game was in Atlanta.

There is one other member of the Winnipeg Jets who was also a big part of the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup winning team and that's Kevin Cheveldayoff.

Cheveldayoff was hired by the Blackhawks as their assistant general manager for the 2009-2010 season, under General Manager Stan Bowman. Cheveldayoff spent two seasons with the Blackhawks before he accepted a position as the new general manager and executive vice-president of the Winnipeg Jets on June 8, 2011.

Author: Kristi Hennessy

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