Hainsey in for Jets vs. Capitals

Winnipeg Jets defenceman Ron Hainsey and Montreal Canadiens left winger Andrei Kostitsyn fight for...

Winnipeg Jets defenceman Ron Hainsey and Montreal Canadiens left winger Andrei Kostitsyn fight for the puck during NHL hockey action in Winnipeg Sunday October 09, 2011. (BRIAN DONOGH/QMI Agency)

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:21 PM ET

The wait is finally over for Ron Hainsey.

After missing the past 16 games due to injury, Hainsey is set to return to the Winnipeg Jets lineup against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.

“It appears that way,” said Hainsey, who is expected to open the game on a pairing with Zach Bogosian. “I’m very excited. The team is playing well the last couple of weeks and I just want to slide back in and help continue that trend.

“It’s just getting in the speed of things. You can tell you’re a step slow and I’m sure the game will be a step faster than that. Getting up to that speed takes a little bit, maybe a half period or a period because you just can’t simulate a game situation.”

Hainsey suffered an upper-body injury against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Oct. 17 and during the rehab process, he sustained a lower-body injury that prevented an earlier return.

“That’s the way it goes,” said Hainsey. “I missed three games in three years with Atlanta. I got hurt in the minors a long time ago and you forget how frustrating it is, just not being able to do most of the day-to-day things. It sucks, for lack of a better term.”

Hainsey is expected to replace Arturs Kulda.

“We’re excited to have him, he’s been delayed in his return,” said Jets head coach Claude Noel. “He’s a good defenceman for us. He brings a lot of things. Experience, leadership, he’s got speed with and without the puck, he can join the rush, he can bring offence, he can play power play and likely will, he kills penalties. He’s a pretty active player on our team. We’ll see how he does tonight, as far as the minutes go.”

This game will be a special one for Eric Fehr, the Jets forward who will be playing his first game against the team he was drafted by in the first round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

“I’m really excited, it’s obviously something I’ve looked at on the calendar and pointed out,” said Fehr, who made his Jets debut on Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers and played just over seven minutes. “It’s a game I wanted to be a part of, playing against my old teammates in a building I enjoy playing in.”

The Jets are opening a three-game road trip and hope to produce the results that allowed them to complete a three-game sweep on home ice last week, no easy task considering the up-and-down Capitals are 7-1-1 at home this season.

“When you come into their building, they’re looking to set the tone of the game and create a lead,” said Jets forward Kyle Wellwood.

The Jets will give Ondrej Pavelec his 13th consecutive start in goal, while the Capitals will counter with Tomas Vokoun.

The Capitals will reinsert winger Alexander Semin after he was a healthy scratch on Monday, while Joel Ward is going to be scratched after oversleeping and missing a team meeting on Tuesday.

Puck drop is 6:05 p.m. at Verizon Center (TSN Jets, TSN 1290).


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