Noel: Fehr needs to play better
KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency
|Jets winger Eric Fehr battles along the boards with Islanders centre Marty Reasoner during NHL action in Winnipeg on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011. (Jason Halstead/QMI Agency)
WINNIPEG - Eric Fehr needs to start playing better.
That was the message coming from Jets head coach Claude Noel on Monday morning about the right-winger from Winkler.
Fehr missed the first month of the campaign after off-season shoulder surgery, and he hasn’t done much since returning to the lineup on Nov. 19. He has just one assist in 14 contests, and he has had more than 10 minutes of ice time in just three of those.
“My expectations for Eric is I’m waiting for him to play a little better,” Noel said. “If he plays better then he’ll get more minutes, but he’s still dealing with the injury. It still bothers him. It bothers him somewhat mentally. He has to deal with that. That’s something he’s gotta overcome. He wants to play more. I have no problem with that. Play better, you play more. It’s that simple. I’ve spoken to him about that.
“He’s still cautious a bit. I see it everywhere. Well, you need to figure that out somewhere. He gives me no reason to move him out of that slot. So he’s playing five minutes, seven minutes, eight minutes.”
Noel was asked how frustrated he was with Fehr.
“How can it be frustrating? We’re winning,” he said. “It’s not frustrating for me. It’s his career, not mine. The player’s gotta figure it out.”
Normally the players are available to the media before Noel, but on Monday it was the other way around. As a result, the Jets didn’t make Fehr available to speak with the media.
In other Jets news from Monday:
- There’s a good chance centre Bryan Little (foot) will be in the lineup Wednesday night when the Jets kick off a four-game road trip in Montreal. He has missed six games.
- Defenceman Dustin Byfuglien (knee) will not start the road trip with the Jets, but Noel said he could return towards the end of it, which means it will likely be next Tuesday in Boston.
- Winger Tanner Glass didn’t participate in Monday’s practice, but Noel said he was simply taking a maintenance day.
- The Jets will practise on Tuesday at MTS Iceplex and then depart for Montreal in the afternoon.
- Defenceman Derek Meech, who has been out for a month and a half after knee surgery, practised with the team on Monday but wore red, which means he wasn’t allowed to be hit. He said he’s feeling good and could be ready soon.