February 4, 2012
No wish list for Noel
By KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency
Claude Noel doesn’t expect to play a significant role in the comings and goings as the Winnipeg Jets prepare for the potential frenzy leading up to the NHL trade deadline.
Sure, Noel will be happy to give his opinion to general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff and company when asked but he won’t be handing him a wish list of what he’d like to add to the mix for the stretch drive.
“Management goes out and do the scouting,” Noel said on Friday morning when the subject was broached. “I have a pretty good handle on the team and that’s a conversation that will come in a week or so, but they have a pretty good idea and they’ll probably talk to our coaching staff to get an internal feel on things.
“I’ve learned through experience that my place is to coach the team that I have. Their job is to concern themselves with the big picture and manage that and that’s really the way it has to go.”
Noel admits that coaches are always thinking about doing what they can to win right now, while management has to think about both the present and the long-range future.
“I know what we’re looking at and what we want to be,” said Noel. “Are there people that are going to be moved? I don’t know. I don’t concern myself much with that. I coach the team.”
One area that Noel can provide is about how the team might react to moving a certain player and what impact it might have inside the locker room.
“It’s not so much what you’d like to see, but would you miss that part? Could you do without? Who is going to take those minutes possibly? You give your feedback on it.”
The Jets figure to have at least some activity leading up to the Feb. 27 deadline, especially with seven pending unrestricted free agents on the roster.
Noel was asked if he expects to see many deals throughout the league.
“In the general sense, I don’t know but there usually is,” he explained. “I don’t know on our team, it depends on a lot of stuff. You have to look at a lot of different things. You have to look at who has how many years left, who is unrestricted and I don’t dig into that much.
“I have enough stuff to think about.”
BUFF DOES IT AGAIN: Many observers were wondering how defenceman Dustin Byfuglien would handle playing on consecutive nights after returning Thursday from a knee injury that kept him on the sidelines for 16 games.
Byfuglien passed the second test, playing a game-high 24 minutes and 45 seconds, recording four shots on goal two blocks.
POSITIVE SIGN: There was some more positive news on the injury front as Jets forwards Evander Kane and Tim Stapleton skated back in Winnipeg on Friday.
Stapleton, who has missed the past six games with a lower-body injury, is progressing but won’t be joining the Jets for Sunday’s game in Montreal.
Kane, who missed the past six games with a concussion, is also coming along but no timetable has been set for his return either.
“They’re not going to be in Montreal, that’s what I know,” said Noel.