– Following last night’s loss to the Nashville Predators, the Winnipeg Jets were back on the ice for practice today at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, preparing for tomorrow’s game against the Red Wings.
Pekka Rinne was the difference in a close game 24 hours ago at Bridgestone Arena, shutting the door with 13 third-period saves for a game total of 32.
Head Coach Paul Maurice was and remains pleased with the effort, calling it the most complete performance the Jets have put forth over the past five games.
“We went through [the video] and looked at the things that we liked and the things that we can do better,” he said. "I liked our effort level during the game and looking back, it was even better on video. It was a hard game. They’re not easy to get to the net on, but we did. The first 20
(minutes) was even and we kept getting stronger as the game went along.”
The difficulty, Maurice says, is rebounding after such a strong performance went unrewarded.
“It’s really hard to keep that [momentum] going but that’s the challenge. That’s where we’ve got to get to. That’s all part of the process because that’s a learned skill. Nobody wants to work that hard and not see results. … I’m still concerned about how hard they take (a loss). They almost take it too hard. We’ve gotten to a place where they can assess the game. Last night hurt only because of the investment. Not because we let one slip away or we didn’t complete. They know how they play, which is really, really important. Last night it was quiet, but they came back to the rink right today.”
The Jets had only 12 players (plus both goaltenders) on the ice today for practice. Andrew Ladd, Blake Wheeler, Bryan Little, Mathieu Perreault, Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers did not skate, but did take part in an off-ice workout instead.
Myers, who blocked a Shea Weber slap shot late in last night’s game, is “fine” according to Maurice.
Everyone will be available for tomorrow’s game.
Welcome aboard, men.
Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford played their first games as Winnipeg Jets last night.
“I think there’s a lot there,” Maurice said. “Drew was on the puck more than I’d seen him in Buffalo. I think once those guys get up to game speed with our group, they’re going to help.”
Myers played over 21 minutes, had one shot on goal and was a -1. It’s clear, the 6-foot-8, 219-pound defenceman is going to be a tremendous addition to the Jets blue line.
“He’s big, he’s strong and he can skate. That’s a big part of what we do. We think he’s going to be a big part of our team,” Maurice said.
Myers, who won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie in 2009-10, is currently paired with Toby Enstrom.
“I don’t think that Tyler’s game gets better by jumping up more. I think it gets better when he jumps up at the right times,” Maurice said. “The situation in Buffalo, they were behind it a lot – they were chasing the game. He’s a real important piece, so he feels the pressure to do that. He didn’t show any of that last night. He played the game right. He chose the right times to hop in and that’s all we want. What we really want is for him to use all those skills that he does have. We talk about skating, moving the puck, handling the puck, and playing defensively, and become a really well rounded defenceman. … Ten more points for him will not be a deciding factor to a good season or a great season.
“He’s going to play a lot and we’re going to have him play with a good partner. I really like the way he thought through the game last night.”
MOTOR CITY MEMORIES
Tomorrow’s game is the second of only two meetings between the Jets and Red Wings this season, and the only game to played at Joe Louis Arena.
The Wings won the first meeting back on Nov. 20, 4-3 at MTS Centre, and come into tomorrow’s matchup on the heels of a 4-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Detroit is 8-2-0 in its past 10, however, and currently sits third in the Atlantic Division with a 31-13-9 record for 71 points.
“Detroit’s been playing very well,” Maurice said. “There’s not going to be a lot of easy offence. They’ve got a number of young players up front with great hands. It will be a different style. Last game was very, very physical. … This will all be about quickness.”
For Michigan native Jacob Trouba, the opportunity to play at ‘The Joe’ as big as it gets.
“I missed this game last year, so I’m pretty excited to play here for the first time,” he said. “I grew up probably a half hour from here, so I grew up cheering for the Wings. I didn’t come to too many games – we were more of a baseball family, so I went to a lot of Tigers games.
“I played a couple games here growing up. The big state tournaments are always played here, so it’s cool to be back and in this locker room.”
— Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com