Jets defencemen injured
Enstrom out for Islanders game, Stuart day-to-day
KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency
|The Jets confirmed Wednesday that Enstrom is dealing with an upper-body injury and has returned to Winnipeg for treatment. (REUTERS/Fred Greenslade)
UNIONDALE, N.Y. - The Winnipeg Jets blue-line is thinning at a feverish pace.
Upper-body injuries to Toby Enstrom and Mark Stuart could potentially leave the Jets down four of their top seven defencemen when they face the New York Islanders on Thursday (6 p.m., TSN Jets, TSN 1290).
“We’re going to have to defend by committee, that’s what we’re looking to do now,” Jets head coach Claude Noel said. “We have to change some things and readjust some things. The opportunity exists for someone else. Good players are good players, you always miss them, but you move forward and you don’t look back.
“You can’t make a lot of noise about it, it happens to everybody. You hope that your whole team rallies. That’s what you have to do.”
Noel revealed Wednesday that Enstrom has gone back to Winnipeg to be examined by team doctors for an upper-body injury sustained after a high check from Florida Panthers forward Jack Skille, while Stuart’s willingness to throw himself in front of pucks and generally do whatever it takes has led to a variety of ailments.
Enstrom, who has one goal and six points and leads the Jets in ice time with 25:07 minutes per game, is out for the foreseeable future but didn’t suffer a concussion, according to Noel.
Stuart, who has one goal and four points in 11 games, is day-to-day and will be a game-time decision on Thursday.
Stuart has been banged up for much of the season and while he’d prefer to play through it, Noel might need to sit him down for maintenance.
“The way he plays, he’s day-to-day ongoing and we reassess his situation,” said Noel.
Noel tap-danced around the subject of recalls when pressed, but it’s clear the Jets will be bringing up a pair of defencemen from the St. John’s IceCaps to help try and fill the void.
The three candidates to get the call to the big club are Brett Festerling, Mark Flood and Paul Postma.
Postma had an excellent preseason with the Jets and has two goals and eight points in 10 games to leave him tied for the team lead in points.
However, his defensive struggles have continued and he was actually a healthy scratch recently so he’s not a lock to get a look at this point.
Flood has posted strong offensive numbers (one goal, seven points in 11 games) and actually appeared in six NHL games with the Islanders in 2009-10 before joining the Manitoba Moose last season.
Festerling has 83 NHL games on his resume, which could factor into the decision.
Noel wasn’t about to give any hints, not even when asked if he’d spoken to IceCaps head coach Keith McCambridge.
“I speak to Keith every couple of days because we’re good friends and we like each other,” said Noel.
“He said they have some stallions down there in the corral and if we need to get some things going, he’s ready to go to the door and let them loose.”
Staying on the injury front, defenceman Ron Hainsey is getting closer to a return and might be an option for the game Sunday against the New York Rangers or Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres.
The fourth defenceman on the shelf is Winnipegger Derek Meech, who remains “a ways away” with a lower-body issue.
Goalie Chris Mason (groin) remains day-to-day but is also close to being back in uniform.