The Winnipeg Jets gathered at the MTS IcePlex for their last practice before embarking on their 14-day road-trip to the East Coast starting in Philadelphia. The practice was full of intensity and focus, something that Coach Noel has been looking for for some time now.
"We wanted to be better in practice, I haven't liked the way we've practiced for awhile," said Noel. "We've been trying to get the work ethic going and I thought today was good, we had a good pace today, the players were attentive, it was good."Andrew Ladd
felt that the focus was on having a strong practice before heading on the long road trip, which is exactly what was accomplished.
"I thought we did a good job today," said Ladd. "We had some great pace and got up and down the ice. It was one of our best practices all year I thought, so hopefully that carries over into tomorrow's game."
A few positive notes from practice included Jim Slater
back skating with the team looking back up to speed. He will travel with the team on the road trip but will be day-to-day. Slater has a history of concussion in the past so when he went off after being hit, the doctors were not quick to release him back to the lineup until the proper precautions were taken.
"I think waking up the next morning was big for me, not having any headaches from the night before," Slater explained. "I think this time I was a little smarter coming off the ice after and not going back on to try to finish off the period. I'm fortunate that nothing more serious came out of it."Eric Fehr
will also join the team for his first road trip of the season as he continues to make progress towards getting back in the lineup. He has not yet been cleared for contact however, he will continue to skate with the team as much as possible and hopes to make his season debut as soon as possible.
"He's a ways away yet," said Coach Noel. "He has to get into full contact before he steps into the games so he has a little way to go but it's good he's back with us. It's good he's back with the team and traveling with us and it's good to have him back in the room. It's fun for him, it gets long after awhile." THOUGHTS ON THE FLYERS
The Jets will match up against the Flyers in the first of four meetings this season with the first coming this Thursday night in Philadelphia.
The grinding Flyers will be without their captain Chris Pronger, as he suffered a severe high-stick injury to his right eyelid from Toronto's Makhail Grabovski on Monday night. Although Pronger regained vision moments after the high-stick, there are still many concerns that the injury might be much worse than they think.
Best-case is that Pronger could return to the ice in three to four weeks.
No one wants to see any player out with an injury like this, but the Jets also have a job to do and are hungry for two points in Philly.
"He's a good player," Zach Bogosian
said of Pronger. "He's been a good player in this league for a long time and obviously when he's in the lineup they are a better team and with him being out there will be a little bit of a hole there and we have to try to take advantage of that.
"They're a good physical team," he said. "It's a tough barn to play in, they have a lot of good fans there. They are a good skating team with some skilled guys like Briere and Giroux; guys like that can put the puck in the back of the net so it's definitely going to be a good test for us."
Coach Noel agrees that just because Pronger will be out of the lineup, that doesn't mean they are out of the woods and will run away with the win.
"They've got a good team," Noel commented Wednesday. "They've been at the top of their division for awhile now and there is a reason for that. They know how to win. Even without Pronger they are a strong team. They're going to be all we can handle, they've got some good players."