WINNIPEG - Wednesday marked the final practice day for the Winnipeg Jets as they departed for New York to kick off the season for their four-game road trip.
Paul Maurice put the players through about a 40-minute skate at Bell MTS Place that featured more work on the power play. Even with a lot of new faces on the blueline, Nikolaj Ehlers is confident about the Jets chances with the 2019-20 campaign around the corner.
"We're all here for a reason. We're professionals, things change and I think we have done really well in handling that," said Ehlers.
"You know for us we need to go out there and play as hard as we can. As we did the whole preseason, I think we worked our butts off every single game and won battles. Something we have to keep doing. It will help us a lot, puck recovery, keeping the puck alive so we feel good."
Video: PRACTICE | Nikolaj Ehlers
The Jets head coach feels the same about how his players have handled all the potential distractions surrounding the team during training camp.
"It was close to one of the best camps I've been a part of in terms of the players continued to work every day," said Maurice.
"Regardless of the load and it was a heavy, heavy camp. At one point I had 16 names on my dinged up list so we pulled off them. Focus and comradery, right? They're laughing and joking and working really, really hard. Really enjoyed the camp."
Video: PRACTICE | Paul Maurice
Bryan Little remained off the ice as he deals with a concussion and Sami Niku was sent down to the AHL's Manitoba Moose yesterday so the lines looked like this:
New addition Carl Dahlstrom did not practice as he is scheduled to meet up with the team in New York. With that in mind, Maurice said that the lines and defence pairings wouldn't be far off from the ones that were on display today.
RETURN TO NEW YORK
Just over 10 months ago, Mason Appleton joined the Jets for a three game road trip in the New York area. He made his NHL debut on December 1st, 2018 against the New Jersey Devils and can't believe how quickly time has passed since then.
"Yeah, it goes by fast. You know, obviously I played my first game last year there (it) was special. So it will be fun to get back there." said Appleton.
Video: PRACTICE | Mason Appleton
Appleton played a combined 76 games with the Jets and the Manitoba Moose and recorded 18 goals and 42 points. His time in the National Hockey League really helped him through a vigorous training camp and preseason.
"Playing 36 games (in the NHL) last year definitely instilled some confidence in me and some swagger in that sense," said Appleton.
"Yeah I feel good. I didn't like some of my games but I liked my last game (Sept. 29 at Minnesota) a ton. So I'm happy with where I'm at right now."