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Laine made 'easy choice' to train with SC Bern while not signed with Jets

Restricted free agent forward says familiarity with coaches contributed to decision @NHLdotcom

Patrik Laine said familiarity with the coaches contributed to his decision to train with SC Bern in Switzerland while he remains unsigned as a restricted free agent with the Winnipeg Jets.

"I was thinking about it with my agent that it would be a good idea to maybe come here and practice," the forward said in a video SC Bern posted to Twitter on Monday. "I know three of the four coaches here ... I have been playing in their teams before, so it was an easy decision to come here. Obviously, a great organization and a great city, so it was an easy choice to come here."

Laine, who skated with Bern for the first time Sunday, played for Bern coach Kari Jalonen with Finland in 2015-16.

"We'll probably go forward one week at a time," Jalonen told Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat on Saturday. "He won't play for us this season." 

Video: Patrik Laine comes in at No. 19 on the list

Laine did not show up for the start of Jets training camp on Friday, but Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said it was beneficial for the forward to work with a professional team.

"Really, really good. Pro hockey, too," Maurice said. "So, I get it, they join their amateur team they used to play with or a junior team but if you can get out on the ice with a pro team, with men there, and they're going to train faster, I'm really happy to hear it, truly."

Laine and Jets forward Kyle Connor are among a group of high-profile restricted free agents who are unsigned, including forwards Mikko Rantanen of the Colorado Avalanche, Matthew Tkachuk of the Calgary Flames and Brayden Point of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Winnipeg general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said Friday that it's hard to put a time frame on when Laine and Connor would be signed.

"We'd certainly like everything done and ready to go," Cheveldayoff said. "I think that's obviously what everyone's intentions are. If we were the only team in this situation, you might be sitting there wondering what's going on."

Laine had 50 points (30 goals, 20 assists) in 82 games with Winnipeg last season and four points (three goals, one assist) in six Stanley Cup Playoff games. Selected No. 2 by the Jets in the 2016 NHL Draft, he has 184 points (110 goals, 74 assists) in 237 NHL games.

Tweet from @scbern_news: Eric Blum zu den kommenden Spielen der Woche und @PatrikLaine29 (@NHLJets) im Kurzinterview mit SCB-TV. #b��rnrockt #SCBern staff writer Tim Campbell contributed to this report

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