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Jets return to practice on deadline day

by Ryan Dittrick (@ryandittrick) / Winnipeg Jets

WINNIPEG – It’s pretty much become a national holiday.

TSN, Sportsnet, the crush of online bloggers and insiders – and JetsTV, of course – have devoted their entire day to the rumour mill. The breaking news, wall-to-wall programming and
hard-hitting analysis: That’s TradeCentre, baby.

Blake Wheeler was part of it five years ago, traded to the Atlanta Thrashers, along with defenceman Mark Stuart, 10 days before the deadline.

“It’s shocking, at first,” he said. “Even though I knew there was a decent chance I was going to get moved that year, once it finally happens, it’s definitely a surprise. You’ve got to uproot yourself. I was getting ready to play a game in Ottawa and the next thing you know, you’re getting on a plane to Edmonton to join your new team. It’s crazy how this business works sometimes, but looking
back on it, it was definitely a great move for me.”

Wheeler doesn’t worry about the deadline anymore, but for others who haven’t previously been in that position, it can be a little unnerving.

“I’ve been through it. You see it, you realize it’s a business and there are moving parts. With that being said it’s never easy saying goodbye to teammates, especially teammates who have been
good guys and a big part of what you do.”

Like many others around the league, the Jets did not make a trade today – and that sits fine with the head coach, who in each of the past 20 years, has not looked forward to deadline day.

“(It’s tough) for everyone, even though it’s been a quiet day,” Paul Maurice said. “Every team’s going through the same thing.”

With 21 games left in the season, and with the Jets 12 points out of a playoff spot, expect the Jets to give some of their younger players bigger responsibility down the stretch.

“We’re going to be close to the youngest teams in the league by the time this day is done. There are two sides of the draft and develop (model), and a lot of them have already been drafted, so now it’s the other piece. They’ve got to get into some games; they’ve got to make some mistakes… Doesn’t make it OK, you’ve got to push them, but experience for these guys is what they need to get
better.”

“An awful lot of these players are going to be Winnipeg Jets for an awfully long time,” Maurice added. “You pay a little price in the short term with the experience in your lineup, but you get that back when they get that experience.”

FIRST-TIME VISITOR

After making his Jets debut the other night in Pittsburgh, Marko Dano got his first look at his new home in Winnipeg Monday.

Dano did not travel home with the team following a 4-1 loss to the Penguins. He instead made the most of the off day, traveling to Rockford, Illinois, to pack a few bags before landing in Winnipeg for the first time.

“It’s been rushed; lots of travel. Not a lot sleep but I’m finally here,” Dano said.

“We had a good practice and it’s good to be with a new team. … I’m excited to be part of the Jets. It’s a big opportunity for me.”

Dano was acquired along with the first-round pick in this year’s draft, and conditional third in 2018, from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Andrew Ladd, Jay Harrison and Matt Fraser.

PARDY’S OVER

Veteran defenceman Adam Pardy has been claimed off waivers by the Edmonton Oilers.

Pardy, 31, signed with the Jets on Jul. 6, 2013, picking up 16 points in 129 games over the following three seasons.

“It’s tough, this time of year. These things seem to happen,” Wheeler said. “We appreciate everything Pards has done for us. It’s been a long year for him, I’m sure. Hopefully he’ll get an opportunity to show what he can do in Edmonton.”

Pardy will be best remembered for his big goal in Game 2 of the Western Conference First Round series against the Anaheim Ducks last spring. It was his only goal in a Jets uniform.

Pardy had one assist in 14 appearances this season.

“Adam’s going to go and get a chance to play, and Paul (Postma) will come in and play on a regular basis now,” Maurice said, adding that it’s been a difficult situation for them both, considering the health of the blue line this year.

“They both get what they deserve (a chance to play). They’ll certainly get an opportunity.”

BABY PERREAULT

Mathieu Perreault did not take part in today’s practice, as he and his wife, Jennilie, are expecting their first child.

– Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com

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