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Blake Wheeler to miss the Jets' five-game road trip

April 7, 2021, 6:22 PM ET [42 Comments]
Anthony Travalgia
Winnipeg Jets Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Jets left Winnipeg for Montreal Wednesday where they’ll kick off their five-game road Thursday in the first of two against the Canadiens on Thursday.

They’ll do so without captain Blake Wheeler.

“Blake’s not making the trip with us,” said head coach Paul Maurice. “He took the elbow last game, was fine, felt good then started to feel a little off (Tuesday) and then today, started not feeling great,”

It was an elbow from Senators’ forward Brady Tkachuk that caused the issue for Wheeler. While he hasn’t been diagnosed with a concussion yet, Maurice expects that is indeed what it is.

“The word’s concussion, we don’t have a diagnosis on that, yet, but we’re going to treat it as it is because obviously we’re really careful with these things,” said Maurice.

“So, we’re not bringing him (on the trip). We don’t want him flying in and out until we know exactly what’s going to happen here. So, he’s out, I guess I’ll say indefinitely until we get this cleared up.”

Until the Jets get an official diagnosis on Wheeler, and more clearly understand his timeline, Maurice doesn’t want to get into when Wheeler can return, and if it would be at any time during their trip through Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto.

“The rules would be that he would have to fly privately is my understanding, we wouldn’t be able to bring him in commercially. But we haven’t thought about that,” said Maurice. “We don’t want him on a flight, we don’t want him in the air on an airplane until we know and we’re just making that decision now because we can.”

With Wheeler out, the Jets’ are forced to mix things up a bit. Andrew Copp will play the off-wing to the right of Paul Stastny and Pierre-Luc Dubois

“Andrew and I talked about this about a month ago, two months ago. We don’t have a lot of lefties that can play the right [side] and finding one that can,” said Maurice. “We’re gonna give it a run, I guess five games is long term, but something we don’t necessarily think we will have to deal with for a long period of time.”

From there Mathieu Perreault slides up to the left of Adam Lowry and Mason Appleton, and Janson Harkins jumps to the left of Nate Thompson and Trevor Lewis

With Wheeler out, the door opens for Harkins who hasn’t appeared in a game since Feb. 19.

"I'm expecting him to come in with lots of legs and lots of energy. He's playing with the two right guys,” said Maurice. “It's a real direct, simple isn't the right word— but it's a very predictable game that Thompson and Lewis play. I think he's going to be good."
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