Byfuglien gets the All-star game and notes on Jets/Sharks

- January 12th, 2012

The NHL announced the rest of the All-stars on Thursday morning and the Winnipeg Jets lone representative in Ottawa will be none other than Dustin Byfuglien.

The 26-year-old defenceman will make his second consecutive appearance in the showcase event after putting up six goals and 24 points in 35 games with the Jets this season.

There’s certainly some mild surprise that forwards Blake Wheeler (nine goals, 32 points) and Evander Kane (18 goals, 31 points) were overlooked but Byfuglien is a big name and the All-star picks sometimes come down to a bit of a popularity contest.

Byfuglien wasn’t made available to the media on Thursday and the selections came after the availability with players had concluded but Jets head coach Claude Noel had this to say after the morning skate:

“He’s a good player,” said Noel. “He started off playing different ways and I don’t know if that’s his fault necessarily. He came over from Chicago and last year, there was a new coach and this year there was a new coach. There’s certainly some adjustment there.

“I thought his first eight or 10 games were all over the place, so we had to try and stabilize his game. He’s a skilled player that to me, after his initial games, has really played well for us. He’s really intelligent as a player, he shoots the puck a lot but he’s clever. He’s smart, he can separate players off the puck and he can defend. I’m happy with where he can to from Game eight or 10 to the games that he played (after). He’s done his part and he’s continued to grow. We were hoping he’d continue the process but he’s been delayed a bit (by his injury).”

Byfuglien remains day-to-day with a knee injury.

We’re not 100% sure on the Jets lineup for Thursday’s game with the San Jose Sharks, but our best guess is that winger Tanner Glass will play, but he’ll be sporting a visor to help protect his eye — which required five stitches after taking a high stick from Boston Bruins defenceman Joe Corvo on Tuesday.

“It was scary at first, but once I got my contact (lens) out and got some tears in there, it cleared up. It’s always scary when you get hit in the eye,” said Glass. “I’m not a visor guy and I try to avoid them as much as possible. I’ll wear it for one week maximum.”

Defenceman Zach Bogosian (lower-body) is out and will be replaced by Mark Flood.

Forward Alex Burmistrov, who missed the past two games with a mid-body injury, will be a game-time decision, according to head coach Claude Noel.

Forward Patrice Cormier spent time after the morning skate doing extra conditioning and usually that’s a tell-tale sign that he’ll be a healthy scratch.

Sharks head coach Todd McLellan wouldn’t confirm his lineup, but there’s a chance that both Manitobans on the roster, forwards Andrew Murray of Selkirk and Frazer McLaren of Winnipeg, could be in the lineup.

The goalie match-up features Ondrej Pavelec and Antti Niemi.

Puck drop is 7:35 p.m. at the MTS Centre as the Jets play the first of only four home dates in January.

The Sharks figure to pose a stiff test.

“They’ve got a lot of firepower and a lot of guys who know how to win,” said Wheeler. “Forty minutes won’t be good enough and 50 minutes won’t be good enough either. If we don’t bring that, then it’s going to be a long night.

“They lost their last game (5-4 in a shootout to the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday) and good teams don’t want to lose games back-to-back. We’re both kind of in the same boat.”

Here are the projected lineups (based on pre-game skate):

Winnipeg Jets

Andrew Ladd-Bryan Little-Blake Wheeler
Evander Kane-Nik Antropov-Eric Fehr
Tanner Glass-Jim Slater-Chris Thorburn
Alex Burmistrov-Tim Stapleton-Kyle Wellwood-Antii Miettinen

Defence pairings
Toby Enstrom-Ron Hainsey
Johnny Oduya-Mark Flood
Mark Stuart-Randy Jones

Goalies
Ondrej Pavelec
Chris Mason

San Jose Sharks

Patrick Marleau-Joe Thornton-Joe Pavelski
Ryane Clowe-Logan Couture-Benn Ferriero
Jamie McGinn-Michal Handzus-Torrey Mitchell
Brad Winchester-Andrew Desjardins-Andrew Murray

Defence pairings
Marc-Edouard Vlasic-Dan Boyle
Douglas Murray-Brent Burns
Jason Demers-Justin Braun

Goalies
Antii Niemi
Thomas Greiss

Categories: Hockey

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