WINNIPEG - It's been a rather hectic start to the season for the Winnipeg Jets with nine games in 15 days. Now, there will be a mini-reprieve with two days off between games for the first time this season.
The Jets had Friday off and returned to the ice Saturday morning for an intense 40-minute practice.
"What happens in that is that you take a deep breath even though at 4-5, we can't. You kind of go 'The tough parts over'. So the next practice you come back, you don't want it to be an hour and a half but it can't be light," said Paul Maurice.
"It's kind of got to get them back into the fire a little bit. So we got up and down (the ice) a fair bit for that reason."
Video: PRACTICE | Paul Maurice
Although the Jets dropped their third game in a row on home ice - a 3-1 setback at the hands of the New York Islanders, it was a much better defensive effort.
"I thought there was a lot of good things in that game. (The coaches) showed a lot of good video today," said Morrissey who played 21:30 Thursday night.
"Obviously we just couldn't find a way to get past their goaltender but I think we did a lot of good things. There's a lot of stuff we can build on from that game. Have a day off Friday, have a good practice like we said here today and be ready to face a team that's playing some good hockey."
Video: PRACTICE | Josh Morrissey
Morrissey's defence partner Tucker Poolman played his first NHL game against the Edmonton Oilers on October 9, 2017. Poolman feels he and Morrissey are getting used to one another and that can only help with the McDavid-Draisaitl challenge coming up.
"We're starting to build some chemistry with where we're at and how we defend things," said Poolman.
"Where we want pucks at certain times of the game and certain break outs and things like that so it's coming along."
Video: PRACTICE | Tucker Poolman
The line rushes and D pairings were as follows:
For the second straight practice, Bryan Little wore a white jersey and skated between Kyle Connor and Nikolaj Ehlers. The question still remains, will he make his 2019-20 season debut?
"He had a really good day today but we will wait to see how he is tomorrow before we would make a decision," said Maurice.
"He worked really hard and at the end of it, he's got a big smile on his face cause it was fast and it was kind of a hard practice in terms of the pace of it. He handled it fine. He's feeling good."
Should Little return on Sunday, that gives Maurice more options in the match-up game against the NHL's leading scorer McDavid and his wingman Draisaitl. Even though the Jets coach will look to roll out the Scheifele trio against McDavid, it will make his life easier.
"If you miss a rotation or the other guy (coach) goes to three line rotation and you miss him, you've got some coverage." explained Maurice.
Maurice added Anthony Bitteto remains day-to-day and has been put on injured reserve and Mark Letestu (who is also is on IR) has been shut down and needs to have some tests done and those will happen at the end of October. After those tests are done we should know what exactly is ailing the Jets veteran forward.