Jets' Hainsey logs major minutes
Ken Wiebe, QMI Agency
|Ron Hainsey was back in the lineup Wednesday night. (BRIAN DONOGH/QMI Agency)
WASHINGTON - Ron Hainsey didn't have the luxury of being eased back into the lineup.
Hainsey, the Winnipeg Jets blue-liner, ended up logging major minutes as he made his return to the lineup for the first time since Oct. 17 in Wednesday's 4-3 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals.
Hainsey, who suffered an upper-body injury in the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins but also sustained a lower-body injury during his recovery, was in the starting lineup and used extensively on a pairing with Zach Bogosian, finishing the game with 31 shifts for 23 minutes and 34 seconds, leading all players with seven blocked shots in the contest.
"He did the best he could," said Jes head coach Claude Noel. "He certainly played hard, it would have been a hard game to play. It was a pretty heavy game."
Hainsey was not available for comment as he was receiving treatment, but his teammates appreciated his presence.
"He's huge, he plays a ton of minutes and he's really reliable back there," said Jets centre Bryan Little. "He's smart, he's been in the league a long time and not only does he help us on the ice, he helps us in the dressing room too and keeps us under control. He's one of those guys that can calm you down."
Hainsey is also a mobile puck mover.
"He wants the puck and he can skate it," said Jets winger Blake Wheeler. "As a forward, you love when he has the puck because he makes good plays with it. He makes a lot happen for our team and it's great to have him back."
BURMISTROV BENCHED: Jets centre Alex Burmistrov took only 12 shifts in the game and saw less than eight minutes of ice time (7:56 to be exact) in the contest.
He was benched for a good chunk of the third period before he was brought back into the mix, but if Noel was trying to send a message with the move, he wasn't saying.
"Not really, it was just a coaching decision that we'll leave in the locker-room," said Noel.
Burmistrov has four goals and 12 points in 21 games this season, but produced only two assists in his past nine games.
Forward Jason Jaffray also saw limited ice time in this one, as he took only six shifts for 3:49 and didn't see any action in the third period.
NICE APPLAUSE: Jets winger Eric Fehr received a nice round of applause when he was announced on the starting lineup, a classy move by Capitals fans who appreciated the Winkler product during his six seasons in the organization.
There was one problem.
"I didn't hear anything, I might have been in the tunnel," said Fehr, who had one shot on goal in just over nine minutes of action. "They are great fans and they love their hockey here."