Jets like realignment, ready to face Bruins
KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency
|Winnipeg Jets' Mark Stuart celebrates his game winning goal against the New Jersey Devils during the third period of their NHL hockey game in Winnipeg, December 3, 2011. (REUTERS/Fred Greenslade)
The Winnipeg Jets figure to have their hands full with a visit from the defending Stanley Cup champions on Tuesday, but that didn’t prevent them from weighing in on realignment.
The NHL board of governors approved the move to four conferences on Monday night that would see the Jets shift to a Central Time Zone conference with the Minnesota Wild, Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues, Nashville Predators, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets.
“It looks good,” said Jets defenceman Mark Stuart. “I think it will be a lot of fun playing in all of those cities. I’m from Minnesota, so the chance to play at home once in a while will be nice. (Rivalries) happen over time and that’s the exciting thing too, you can build new rivalries and some teams that would never really had a chance to be rivals are going to be battling against each other quite a bit.”
“It seems pretty interesting, a lot of guys in the league will be happy with it,” added Jets forward Kyle Wellwood. “Travel looks a little better. A number of teams have had it rough for a number of years with a lot of coast to coast travel. This should help them a lot.”
Puck drop is 7:35 p.m. at the downtown arena (TSN Jets, TSN 1290) and the Jets will put their two-game winning streak on the line against the Boston Bruins, who have collected 29 of a possible 30 points while going on a 14-0-1 streak that followed a 3-7 start.
“It’s ridiculous,” said Jets winger Blake Wheeler, when asked about the hot streak. “We know it’s going to be a tough game for us and a huge measuring stick. If we can give ourselves a chance in the third period, it’s going to be a really good opportunity for us.”
The Jets dropped a 4-2 decision to the Bruins on Nov. 26.
“It’s just playing a full game and making them skate,” said Jets centre Bryan Little. “They played last night (in Pittsburgh) and got in late. We have to take advantage The better the start we have, the better the game is going to go for us. We’re real good when we come out and get that first goal.
“Even if we don’t, we’ve got to have a good first period, set the tone and let them know it’s going to be a long night.”
Ondrej Pavelec gets the call in goal for the Jets, while Tuuka Rask is expected to start for the Bruins.
Noel said he’d be dressing the same lineup as he’s used the past two games, meaning forwards Nik Antropov and Eric Fehr and defencemen Ron Hainsey and Randy Jones aren’t quite ready to return.
On Tuesday morning, the Jets also re-assigned defenceman Brett Festerling to the St. John’s IceCaps of the American Hockey League and reclaimed forward Ben Maxwell off waivers from the Anaehim Ducks and have sent him to the IceCaps as well.