As was the case in several other NHL markets, there were far more media members (double digits) at the MTS Iceplex on Monday morning than players (six).
With the opening of training camp likely less than a week away from opener, players scattered across the globe were still in the process of making their way back to Winnipeg.
One thing was certain, the players were in a much better mood to talk to than the past few weeks after the lockout dragged on.
Defenceman Zach Bogosian spoke at length with reporters for the first time since going under the knife on Aug. 31 to repair a wrist injury.
Bogosian also skated for the first time since August as well and said he was making progress and figured he was on track for the four-to-six month recovery period.
While he’s making progress and in good spirits, there’s no timeline for his return and it’s likely Bogosian (who was working mainly on skating and passing) could be on the shelf until late February or early March. Only time will tell.
I’ve got a more extensive update at www.winnipegsun.com. Also asked Bogosian and Jim Slater about Team USA winning the gold medal at world junior hockey championship and in particular about the play of Jets 2012 first round pick Jacob Trouba.
Speaking of guys who haven’t spoken to the media for a while, free agent pick-up Olli Jokinen held court with reporters for nearly half an hour and was outstanding, speaking from the heart and making it clear he believes the Jets are a team on the rise and that his best hockey is ahead of him, not behind him.
Columnist Paul Friesen has an extensive package on Jokinen and also got some comments from Jets players about what type of fan reaction might be on the horizon.
Rounding out our package is my story on Ron Hainsey and the role he played on the NHLPA negotiating committee.
A few more players are expected at the Iceplex on Tuesday and look for the numbers to grow as the week goes on.
The Jets released a statement to the community thanking fans and sponsors for their patience and it’s expected that head coach Claude Noel and general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will be made available in the coming days to discuss the shortened season and the challenges on the horizon.
There are plenty of questions remaining, like how many players will be in training camp, how many members of the St. John’s IceCaps will be recalled from the American Hockey League for said training camp or what free agents will either be signed or brought in for a tryout.
Those answers will be available in due time.
On the pending CBA front, many of Tuesday’s reports suggest that training camps might be delayed until Sunday, though Saturday might still be an option, depending on how long it takes for the NHLPA ratification vote.
However, things are still tracking for the NHL season to open on Jan. 19 — though the new schedule might not be available until the new deal is ratified.
Stay patient folks, the season will be starting before you know it.
For those of you with questions, I’ll be hosting a live chat at 2 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon to try and provide some answers.
Check my Twitter feed for updates and see www.winnipegsun.com for more details.