Not gone for long

Jets coach Mau­rice glad Pav­elec erred on side of cau­tion and pulled him­self

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY JUDY OWEN

Win­nipeg head coach Paul Mau­rice has no prob­lem with Jets goal­tender On­drej Pav­elec’s de­ci­sion to pull him­self from a game.

Pav­elec headed to the bench six min­utes into the sec­ond pe­riod of Win­nipeg’s 4-2 loss to the Min­nesota Wild on Tues­day. He didn’t re­turn be­cause of an undis­closed lower-body in­jury.

For­tu­nately for the Jets, Pav­elec might not be gone for long.

“We’re hop­ing we can re­hab this in a week,” Mau­rice said af­ter Thurs­day’s prac­tice. “Things have to go right kind of at each stage of this week, but we’re hop­ing it’ll be about a week.”

Pav­elec made his eighth start in nine games (4-4) since be­ing re­called from the Amer­i­can Hockey League’s Man­i­toba Moose on Jan. 17. Less than a minute af­ter Win­nipeg scored to cut Min­nesota’s lead to 3-1, Pav­elec left the ice.

Mau­rice said he didn’t see what hap­pened to Pav­elec but ap­pre­ci­ated the 29-year-old’s self-eval­u­a­tion.

“I didn’t see the prob­lem on the in­ci­dent. He didn’t feel it,” Mau­rice said. “But as a few min­utes go by, it starts to stiffen up a lit­tle bit.

“It’s a vet­eran call. I would pre­fer our goalies got out right away on any of those be­cause if they’re at all fo­cused on any part of their body, they’re not go­ing to be as good as they need to be. I’m glad he did be­cause those things can just go south on you real fast, so in­stead of a hope­ful week (of re­cov­ery) then you’re into months.”

Sopho­more Con­nor Helle­buyck re­placed Pav­elec and stopped all 10 shots he faced. Helle­buyck was al­ready slated to get the start tonight when Win­nipeg (25-27-4) hosts the Chicago Black­hawks (33-17-5).

The 23-year-old had played in 34 games be­fore Pav­elec was re­called. He last started Jan. 26 against the Black­hawks and picked up his fourth win this sea­son against the fa­mil­iar foes.

When Win­nipeg re­called Pav­elec for the first time since send­ing him to the mi­nors af­ter train­ing camp, Mau­rice said Helle­buyck could use the ex­tra time to work on his game and get some needed rest.

Helle­buyck, who’s 17-13-1 with a 2.78 goals-against av­er­age and .909 save per­cent­age, said he fo­cused on the finer de­tails of his job and likes where his game is at. He also ben­e­fit­ted from some rest.

“You don’t even re­al­ize how men­tally and phys­i­cally grind­ing it is be­cause ev­ery day you’re just con­tin­u­ing on,” said Helle­buyck, who’ll be backed up by Michael Hutchin­son tonight. “And then when you kind of re­cover from it, then you kind of feel your­self like, wow, this is what good feels like.”

Mau­rice has seen a dif­fer­ence in Helle­buyck since his break from the crease.

“His stance is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent in the net, a lit­tle more ag­gres­sive, a lit­tle more con­fi­dent and looks a lit­tle fresher,” Mau­rice said. “He looks men­tally like he’s sharp.

“He’s re­ally mov­ing in net. He’s back bark­ing at guys in prac­tice. That’s not the right word, but chirp­ing might be. And that’s al­ways a sign of a con­fi­dent guy. He looks a lit­tle re­freshed, and prob­a­bly a lit­tle bit hun­gry.”

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Win­nipeg Jets goalie On­drej Pav­elec stretches out to stop a shot against the Min­nesota Wild dur­ing NHL ac­tion in Win­nipeg on Tues­day.

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