Author Topic: Villa has danced with relegation  (Read 25 times)

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Villa has danced with relegation
« on: December 07, 2018, 11:03:34 pm »
"I really like the way hes into the game on the bench, hes finishing checks, hes engaged in what hes doing," Paul Maurice said Thursday as the Jets prepared to host the Vancouver Canucks. "He doesnt at all look like a player whos waiting for this experiment not to work and Im going to go back to where I want to. " Moving Byfuglien to the wing was one of former coach Claude Noels last acts as he tried to reverse a five-game slide that ultimately cost him his job. Maurice left Byfuglien there and suggests its working so well its not even something he thinks about. "Hes put up big numbers, scored overtime goals, done the things, so hes impactful in our game," Maurice said. The Chicago Blackhawks also tried Byfuglien at forward, although he has made it no secret that he prefers defence. He hasnt quit cold turkey and still covers the blue-line when the Jets have a power play and Byfuglien is still the third-highest scoring defenceman in the league with 40 points. When Winnipegs power play works (which isnt often, ranking 24th in the NHL) its usually Byfuglien whos partly responsible. He has a team-leading 19 power-play points. While forward might not be his first choice, he says its his job to do what hes asked to help the Jets win. "I dont know if Im really comfortable yet but getting there," he said after practice Thursday. "Playing with the same line helps and getting to know where they go, its better." He plays right wing on what is nominally the teams third line with Olli Jokinen in the middle and Devin Setoguchi on the left side. It has largely done what Noel hoped to accomplish, given the Jets three legitimate scoring lines that opposition teams have to be concerned about. Byfuglien has had six points in the nine games since the change, more than his linemates combined. The shift has meant rookie defenceman Jacob Trouba, just 19, is now getting a lot of ice time and defence partner Mark Stuart has nothing but praise for the way hes handled himself. "Hes a kid whos got tremendous skill and hes going to be such a good player in the league, he already is," said the veteran, whose own play seems to have taken off lately. Stuart had points in each of the teams last two games and is seeing almost as much ice time as Trouba. "I think we complement each other," he said. "Hes such a good skater, he plays with the puck really well, he loves skating it up. "Im more of a stay back (defenceman) a lot more, I think defence first." Trouba has seven points over the last seven games and has moved into 14th spot on the rookie scoring list, despite having played only 38 games this season due to injuries. After losing 4-3 to the Nashville Predators on Tuesday, the Jets host Western Conference rival Vancouver on Friday night at the MTS Centre. January hasnt been kind to the slumping Canucks, who have won just four of the 14 games theyve played this month. Theyll arrive here having lost two straight to Edmonton and Chicago. But theyre still clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot in the conference. The Jets were 12th going into Fridays game and need to gain a lot of ground if they hope to avoid missing the post-season once again. WINNIPEG -- Dustin Byfuglien may have to scratch for things he likes about playing forward but his coach is certainly sold on the way the former Winnipeg Jets defenceman is performing when hes on the ice. Authentic Vladislav Kamenev Jersey . On Sunday, hell attempt to become the youngest driver to win a NASCAR Nationwide race on Iowas short track. The 20-year-old Blaney wont be the only kid pushing a podium finish. Cheap Adidas Colorado Avalanche Jerseys . 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"Im excited just for a new start, just to see where things are going, to bring some kind of tradition back to the team and guys being excited about something new," the defensive back said during a conference call Monday after agreeing to stay with the Bombers rather than go to free agency next month. Colorado Avalanche Shop Free Shipping . He says he will have the operation Wednesday and be ready in time for training camp in September. Bernier missed five games in March due to the injury. Authentic Anton Lindholm Jersey .C. United to a 4-1 victory over short-handed FC Dallas on Saturday night.PITTSBURGH -- Coach Dan Bylsma knows that the disappointing finish of the U.S. Olympic mens hockey team in Sochi will linger. But now he has shifted his focus back to the Pittsburgh Penguins and looks to get his first-place team to make a deep run in the Stanley Cup playoffs. "I dont think you get rid of the disappointment," Bylsma said Tuesday. "But you have to put it behind you. The task at hand is coming back here and playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins, and I think thats the best way to put it behind you." The U.S. nearly knocked off Team Canada in Vancouver in 2010, falling just short of a gold medal and instead settled for silver. The Americans wanted to win an elusive Olympic hockey gold for the first time since the "Miracle on Ice," in 1980, and U.S. executives felt Bylsmas team had the right blend of skill, speed, and grit to get the job done. The U.S. offence got off to a strong start through the first four games of the tournament, outscoring the opposition 20-6. Included was the exhilarating, 3-2, eight-round shootout victory against the host Russians, one of the most memorable games of the tournament. "The Russian game was as unique of a game as Ive ever coached," Bylsma said. "The stage in terms of the tournament doesnt mean a whole lot because everyones going to play a fourth game, but trying to compare it to a Stanley Cup or a Game 7 was completely different. It had a different feel." The U.S. cruised past the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals, setting up a semifinal showdown with Canada. "Its a game we all wanted," Bylsma said. "Maybe the biggest disappointment is that it wasnt the gold medal game." Regardless, the U.S. had to get through Canada to win gold, and for the second straight time in Olympic competition, the Canadians topped the U.S. Canada, which went on to win its second straight gold medal, blanked the Americans in a suffocating 1-0 effort that wasnt as close as the final score. Bylsma was criticized after the loss, some drawing comparisons to the Boston Bruins foour-game sweep of a punchless Penguins team, which had trouble scoring during the 2013 Eastern Conference finals.dddddddddddd "You can draw the comparisons, but I dont know if theyre valid or applicable," Bylsma said. "The one thing we would like to go back to in that game was playing faster and playing quicker, allowing us to be on the forecheck in a better manner." Penguins GM Ray Shero, also the associate general manager for Team USA, credited Team Canada. "That might be the greatest Olympic hockey team ever," Shero said. "You can look at how we wanted to play, but sometimes the opponent doesnt let you get to your game." The Canadians, who never trailed in the tournament, flexed their defensive muscle, allowing just three goals in six games to become the first team in 30 years to go unbeaten through an Olympic tournament. "Canada was very good," Shero said. "We came in with high expectations and theres nothing wrong with setting a high goal." Both wanted to see a different outcome after a humiliating 5-0 defeat the following day against Finland in the bronze medal game. "The bronze medal game was a tough one for us to rebound and get to," Bylsma said. "Thats the biggest disappointment of the tournament." But now the attention shifts back to Bylsmas Penguins where Olympians Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz are back with gold medals from Team Canada, while Jussi Jokinen and Olli Maatta earned bronze with Finland. Bylsma returned empty-handed along with U.S. Olympians Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin, who broke his hand in the quarterfinal round and is out four to six weeks. Russian star Evgeni Malkin is also without a medal, motivation that Bylsma hopes will further fuel a deep playoff run for the Metropolitan Division-leading Penguins. The Penguins return to action when they host Montreal on Thursday. 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