By Scott Billeck – @scottbilleck
The Winnipeg Jets haven’t won at home since November 15th and are coming off a humiliating loss to the NHL’s worst team in Buffalo. With the expected return of Zach Bogosian on Friday night, the Jets will be looking for a spark and a tick in the win column in over a month at the MTS Centre.
“We have to be ready for them tonight,” said Bogosian, who has been on the shelf for the past 15 games. “They played last night and we can’t take them lightly that way so I think our start will be crucial – it is crucial every game.
“We just have to make sure we are ready, no matter who it is. We are in a bit of a funk right now; tonight can be a thing that can kind of change around for us.”
Bogosian preached consistency after the morning skate on Friday. His team has had troubles in the past against the Panthers, most recently in a 5-2 defeat back on December 5th in Florida, and are losing hope in the playoff picture.
“We just need to be more consistent, that is pretty obvious,” he said. “You see a lot of things from up in the press box that you might not see down at ice-level. I am not here to critique anyone or anything, my job is to just get back into the lineup and help out as much as possible and do my part and help the team win.
“Sometimes that is just the luck of the draw,” added Bogosian regarding their struggles against the Panthers over the past three seasons. “We just have to be ready, no matter who it is.”
Bogosian figures to partner with Tobias Enstrom when the puck drops. It isn’t the most familiar of pairings in the Jets’ rearguard, yet Bogosian isn’t worried.
“I have played with Toby in the past, he is a pretty easy to play with, he is a really smart player and easy to read out there,” he said. “We are all professionals here, the good thing about defenceman is that there is very few of us so you get a lot of work with a lot of the guys. It is pretty easy to get into a grove with them.”
Claude Noel, meanwhile, is looking forward to having Bogosian back in his lineup tonight.
“It will be good to get him back in because he plays with enthusiasm,” he said. “But he has got to bring his A-Game, that is what he is going to have to do, or try to do.”
Scott’s Scribbles: Grant Clitsome missed the pre=game skate, staying at home due to not feeling well according to Noel. He is a game-time decision at best…Zach Bogosian will play in his first game in 15 for the Jets…Devin Setoguchi will be a “player” for the Jets tonight apparently being late for practice on Thursday.