WINNIPEG - Eric Fehr took another step toward making his debut with the Winnipeg Jets, but he's still at least a few weeks away from getting into a full practice.
The Winkler product was on the ice with the Jets for Friday’s optional skate, but was sporting a red jersey (to signify caution) and hasn’t yet been cleared for contact.
“I’m definitely rusty but it felt great to get that first one out of the way,” said Fehr, who is coming off shoulder surgery. “I’ll probably still be skating on my own a lot. I just wanted to break up the monotony of skating by myself all the time. I wanted to shoot a couple pucks on a goalie for a change and get a feel for things.”
Fehr, who was acquired from the Washington Capitals, has said repeatedly that he’s not about to rush back before he’s ready and he reiterated that position on Friday.
“I’ve got nothing for you, just taking it day-to-day and hoping to get cleared for contact in the next couple of months, couple of weeks, whatever it takes,” Fehr said with a smile. “We’ll take it from there. Conditioning-wise, I feel great.”
Jets head coach Claude Noel said Fehr is still “a ways” away and when pressed mentioned it was probably going to be more than two weeks before he started participating in full practice with the team.
Attendance for the optional practice was strong. Among those not taking part were Evander Kane, Alex Burmistrov, Andrew Ladd, Chris Thorburn, Dustin Byfuglien, Toby Enstrom, Nik Antropov and goalie Ondrej Pavelec.
Ladd, who received six stitches to repair his nose after taking a shot in the face in Thursday’s 4-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators, was at the rink in the morning for a meeting but had to make his way to a doctor’s appointment after that.
Noel said that defenceman Ron Hainsey (upper-body) wouldn’t be available for at least another week as well, though Hainsey did skate on his own Friday.
The 1-4-1 Jets face the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday at MTS Centre. Puck drop is 6:05 at the downtown arena.