WINNIPEG – Julien Brouillette will make a long-awaited debut tonight as the Jets wrap up a four-game homestand against the San Jose Sharks.
Brouillette was recalled by the Jets back on Dec. 4, but hasn’t played since suiting up for the St. John’s IceCaps on Nov. 30 at Hershey. In 11 games with the Caps this season, the 28-year-old had two goals, two assists, four penalty minutes and a +5 rating.
Brouillette has appeared in 10 NHL games (all with the Washington Capitals in 2013-14), recording one goal, one assist and a +3 rating.
Grant Clitsome will not dress tonight as the veteran has suffered an upper-body injury, which Head Coach Paul Maurice described as “day-to-day,” adding, “it’s more (like) week or two before we’ll have him back to play.”
As a result, the defensive pairings are as follows for tonight’s game: Ben Chiarot-Dustin Byfuglien; Jay Harrison-Paul Postma; Adam Pardy-Brouillette.
“It will be fun. It’s been a long wait, but I’ve stuck with it and it will be exciting,” Brouillette said. “The guys are playing well right now and it will be fun to get into the mix. Once you get a chance to play, you’ve got to prove yourself. I want to do that tonight.”
Added Maurice: “It’s good that he’s been able to be here for a while and get a comfort level. He’s started to move the work real well in practice. He’s talking now, so he feels like he’s part of the group. We hope to see a simple game without being safe.”
While Clitsome’s name has been added to the growing lot in the sick bay, there was some good news on that front at today’s morning skate.
Zach Bogosian, who last played on Dec. 3 vs. Edmonton after suffering a lower-body injury, was back on the ice for practice.
“It happened on a blocked shot, in the third period against the Oilers,” he said. “I was fortunate enough to play the rest of the game, but after further examination after the game, it was something I couldn’t play on.
“It feels nice to be back with the team. I’m really looking forward to getting back in the swing of things. As a player, as a competitive person, you want to get in and play right away, but that’s the coaches’ decision. I’ll do what I’m instructed to do.”
According to Maurice, Bogosian could be available at some point on team’s upcoming three-game road trip through Arizona, Los Angeles and Anaheim.
Keaton Ellerby, who was recalled today, will not play tonight. The defenceman has been injured down in St. John’s and only now been skating for a week after an extended layoff. The 26-year-old did participate in today’s morning skate, but his primary focus is about conditioning and getting back into game shape.
“I got hit in the wrist with a puck and ended up developing a blood clot in my hand,” Ellerby said. “I was on blood thinners for five or six weeks. It’s one of those things that you can’t control. It was a freak thing, but it feels good now. Now it’s a matter of getting my mind back and getting my legs back underneath me.
“I was at home on my couch for seven or eight weeks not being able to do anything, so I was going a bit stir crazy not being able to interact with many people.
“It’s amazing to be back.”
Michael Hutchinson will get the start in goal tonight, looking to improve on his 10-3-2 record and league-leading 1.81 goals-against average and .937 save percentage. Hutchinson is coming off a 20-save performance in Saturday’s 5-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.