Alex Burmistrov remains confident and he’s not about to pout.
Being benched — as the Winnipeg Jets forward was during parts of the second and third periods of Wednesday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals — is a part of the game for a young player.
But it’s something nobody enjoys going through.
“I’m disappointed, but there’s nothing I can do. That’s the coach’s decision and we do whatever he says,” said Burmistrov, who played just under eight minutes on Wednesday.
But has head coach Claude Noel spoken to Burmistrov about why he sat him down?
“I think that whatever he says to me will stay between me and him,” said Burmistrov. “I don’t know what I’m missing. I need to work hard and play my game. That’s all that I have to do. I need to get back on track, get points.”
Although his offensive contributions have slipped to just two assists over the past nine games, Burmistrov is still tied for fifth in team scoring with five goals and 12 points in 21 games.
“I still feel confident, yeah,” said Burmistrov, who had six goals and 20 points in 74 games as a rookie.
Burmistrov, 20, isn’t a one-dimensional player and actually thrives in the defensive zone, but his inability to get the puck out resulted in the Capitals’ third goal on Wednesday.
“He’s a good young player right now and he’s going to be a terrific young player,” said Noel. “He’s going to play. Basically what we’re doing, we’re coaching. That’s what it is. We’ll continue to try and make him be the player we see him to be. I’m happy with him, but there are some things I’m trying to get across (to him).”
Jets forward Nik Antropov is serving as a mentor for Burmistrov and can relate what the youngster is going through.
“I’ve been in his shoes too, when I was young,” said Antropov. “You have to stay positive and work hard. That’s the solution, I guess.”
SHOW OF EMOTION: Antropov picked up another assist on Wednesday (which was actually the 250th of his career) but he showed another side of his game midway through the second period when he was involved in a scrum with Capitals centre Brooks Laich.
Antropov was in front of the net during a power play and Laich grabbed him from behind after the whistle.
Both players eventually dropped their gloves but were separated before a fight broke out.
Was there any history between the two players?
“There’s no history at all, that’s news to me,” said Antropov. “It was just a regular scrum, he was upset and I was upset, that’s all. Both of us play hard and that’s what happens. That’s hockey. It’s a tough sport. Nothing personal.”
IN AND OUT?: Although he was noncommittal in his meeting with the media, there’s a good chance that forward Tim Stapleton will be reinserted after sitting out the past two games as a healthy scratch.
Should Stapleton return, Jason Jaffray might be the healthy scratch.
NET WATCH: Noel said earlier this week that veteran Chris Mason would be starting one of the three games on this road trip, but still wasn’t ready to unveil which one it would be.
Although Mason played well in relief against the Hurricanes on Oct. 22, it’s excepted that Ondrej Pavelec will start his 14th consecutive game on Friday and Mason gets the call against the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins on Saturday as both teams play their third game in four days.