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Perreault out indefinitely; others close to returning

by Ryan Dittrick (@ryandittrick) / Winnipeg Jets

WINNIPEG – It was a good news-bad news kind of day on the injury front.

Beginning with the good:

Forwards Nikolaj Ehlers (eye) and Joel Armia (upper body) were back on the ice participating in a full practice for the first time in weeks, while defenceman Mark Stuart – uncomfortably adorned in the powder-blue, non-contact jersey, mind you – was also getting some work in as he continues to progress from a broken hand suffered after blocking a shot in a pre-Valentine’s day tilt in
Edmonton.

And now for the bad:

Mathieu Perreault is out indefinitely with a concussion after catching an edge, falling awkwardly and slamming his head on the boards in yesterday’s overtime loss to Jakob Silfverberg and the Anaheim Ducks.

Ehlers has missed the last nine games after taking a puck to the face in a Mar. 3 overtime loss to the New York Islanders. On the winning goal, a Frans Nielson shot shattered the rookie’s visor, leaving a series of lacerations that pooled blood dangerously in his eye chamber. The 19-year-old had to spend more than a week on the sidelines without any physical activity before returning to the ice. Now, after another seven days getting back into game shape, the Dane feels 100 percent and ready
to go, but will miss at least one more before getting the green light.

“I had my eyes closed right after, so I didn’t really know what was going on, but when I got off the ice and got stitches, it felt foggy in the front of my eye and that’s when you panic and get a little scared about how bad it was,” Ehlers said of the incident.

“I’m happy it was only what it was and not something worse.”

Ehlers watched a few games from the press box during his recovery. He’s hoping he won’t have to do it again anytime soon.

“It was hard. I love being out there, so the first week of just sitting at home doing nothing — not even working out — I’d just come here to hang out with the boys,” he said. “It’s nice to be with them, but it’s hard going to the rink at night watching your teammates play. I want to be out
there. I’m just happy this recovery has gone so fast; I’m ready to be out there again.”

Ehlers was on a roll at the time of the injury, putting up 17 points (7G, 10A) in last 21 games on a line with Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele, most often.

He has 13 goals and 31 points overall.

“He’s had a real nice progression over the course of the year,” Head Coach Paul Maurice said, adding that he missed the rookie’s offensive contributions more than even he thought possible. “From learning the game, then switching sides and becoming a pretty valuable part of the offensive group we have, we have missed him. That line was playing so very, very well, and it looked like they were growing each game and learning more about each other. … It’s a great thing that we have a junior-eligible player come in, play in the NHL and get to the (quarter) pole and be a real important
part of our team.”

Maurice confirmed that Ehlers and Armia will miss tomorrow’s game against the Vancouver Canucks, but are both a possibility for Thursday’s matchup with the Los Angeles Kings. As a result, pending the health of JC Lipon (upper body) and Marko Dano (flu), the Jets may have to make another emergency recall from the Manitoba Moose prior to tomorrow’s game.

Dano did practice today, however, and looks ready to play. Chase De Leo, who was the latest to be summoned from the farm, will remain on the roster no matter what, considering the injury to Perreault.

De Leo, Lipon, Scott Kosmachuk, Josh Morrissey, Nic Petan and Julian Melchiori have all been recalled on emergency conditions over the last few weeks.

– Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com

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