Already without D Zach Bogosian for the foreseeable future, the Winnipeg Jets unveiled that RW Antti Miettinen is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury.
Miettinen sustained the injury late in Monday’s practice and he won’t be available for Saturday’s season opener against the Ottawa Senators.
Jets head coach Claude Noel was careful not to use the word concussion but “upper body” could mean any number of things. All we know for sure is that Miettinen wasn’t “day-to-day.”
The absence of Miettinen left an opening on the right side with Alex Burmistrov and Alexei Ponikarovsky, which was filled by 2011 first round pick Mark Scheifele.
That line has potential and the grouping would allow Scheifele to be put in more of an offensive role, after being used on the checking line the previous day with Jim Slater and Chris Thorburn. At this stage of his career, Scheifele is more suited to playing on a scoring line than being a checker, but it’s clear the Jets aren’t going to hand him a spot on one of the top lines and Noel went out of his way on Monday to point out the Jets aren’t putting any pressure on the youngster to be an impact player out of the gate, just provide steady minutes.
Noel was noncommittal about keeping the unit together, partially because he revealed that Nik Antropov might be ready to join the Jets session on Wednesday after missing the first two three days with an upper-body issue of his own.
Antropov has played with both Burmistrov and Ponikarovsky (with the Toronto Maple Leafs) in the past, so he’d be a logical fit to skate on that line in the opener, provided he’s healthy enough to go.
Noel said he was planning to have a scrimmage as part of Wednesday’s session, but pointed out that because of the limited number of bodies, he didn’t want to overdo it.
As part of his press briefing, Noel also talked about bringing in Queen’s University professor John Phelan as a mental skills.
Phelan has coached at the AHL and CIS levels and has worked in a similar capacity with several NHL clubs and Noel is excited to work with him again (the pair worked together when Noel was the head coach of the Manitoba Moose and Phelan was working for the Vancouver Canucks).
That’s about it for today, keeping it a little shorter as I need to shift my attention to our extensive Jets’ season preview, which will be running later this week.
As for Wednesday’s print edition (which is available at www.winnipegsun.com), I have a story on Jim Slater’s expectations for the coming, a notebook dealing with the injury to Miettinen and another piece on the Jets reaction to the social media created by the prospective $2.50 charge for reprinting and redistribution for Jets’ season ticket holders that has since been eliminated going forward (it was already going to be waived for this season) as True North Sports & Entertainment moves to a season ticket card and away from traditional paper tickets.