Jets forced to sit idly by
KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency
|Ron Hainsey sprawls to try and block the shot and Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks. (Rich Lam/Getty Images/AFP)
If Ron Hainsey had his way, the Jets would be playing right away after their futile road trip to Vancouver and Calgary.
Instead, the defenceman and his Jets teammates have four long days to think about their road woes that have them fighting tooth and nail to snag a playoff spot.
The Jets don't play again until Wednesday, when the Dallas Stars will come to town to kick off a three-game home stand for Winnipeg.
"I don't like it personally, but sometimes teams need it. I don't know," Hainsey said Saturday after being one of six Jets who took part in an optional practice at MTS Iceplex. "It's definitely harder when you lose two in a row. When you're losing you kind of like getting right back into more games."
The Jets will take Sunday off before returning to practice on Monday. The four-day bridge between games is even longer than their Christmas break.
"It's a good thing," forward Tim Stapleton said. "We've been kind of busy lately. Less is more right now. It's important we get a rest, so it's a smart decision and just kind of get our minds off things and get ready for Monday."
The Jets had a team meeting on Saturday, during which they vowed to look ahead instead of back at their 3-2 loss in Vancouver and 5-3 setback in Calgary.
SCOREBOARD WATCHING: The Jets fell two points back of eighth place in the Eastern Conference after the Washington Capitals upset the Boston Bruins 4-3 on Saturday, and the Caps have one more game to play than Winnipeg.
The Jets also have company in ninth place, as the Buffalo Sabres moved into a tie with them after a 4-3 shootout win over Ottawa. Both teams have played 69 games, but the Jets have the tiebreaker.
The Jets caught a break when the Carolina Hurricanes beat Tampa Bay 4-2, leaving the Lightning three points back with one game in hand.
If nothing else, Winnipeg's time off will allow it to get a greater sense of where it stands in the big picture.
"You know that they have games in hand, so it's kind of a false sense of where you're at," centre Jim Slater said. "On the other hand, they have to win those games to move ahead.
"By the end of this weekend we should have a good feeling of where we're sitting and what we need to do for the rest of the year."
ON THE MEND: Defenceman Zach Bogosian, who has missed 10 of the last 11 games with wrist and lower-body injuries, is expected to practise on Monday and could be in the lineup for Wednesday's game.
Fellow blue-liner Dustin Byfuglien's status is somewhat uncertain, even though he played a game-high 27 minutes after missing the warmup on Friday in Calgary.
Noel wasn't ready to discuss exactly what happened with the big defenceman's just before Friday's contest.
"It's an injury (where) we had to deal with some different elements that were out of our control, and that's what threw a curve at us," Noel said. "We'll just leave it at that.
"He's going to need these couple of days and possibly Monday and Tuesday to manage this thing. It's a lingering issue, and guys have these all the time. It just depends which part of your anatomy you're dealing with."