Defenceman Pardy a bubble boy
Constantly on verge of being sent down
Something’s got to give in the next couple weeks on a Winnipeg Jets team that has nine defencemen on one-way NHL contracts, plus Jacob Trouba and, oh yeah, don’t forget Josh Morrissey.
Adam Pardy is hoping the thing that gives isn’t him.
Pardy played a huge role in the Jets’ run to the playoffs last season, stepping into the lineup when a litany of injuries decimated the team’s blue-line and proving in his own quiet and workmanlike way he could play a valuable role.
But Pardy has also been around long enough he knows no one gets to rest on their laurels in a league that is all about “What have you done for me lately?”
So what’s it like to go to work every single day wondering if it might be your last?
“You learn going through years of being in different organizations and situations that you never take anything for granted. Things can change in a heartbeat in this league. And you have to be at your best all the time,” Pardy said Saturday following practice at the MTS Centre.
“Usually, what you’ve done in previous years doesn’t help you a whole lot when you’re competing for a job. You think that it should give you a little leeway. Obviously, they know what type of guy I am and what I bring and things I can add throughout the course of a season.
“But it’s still a challenge,” Pardy continued. “There’s a lot of pressure living this life and carrying on as a — let’s call it what it is — a bubble guy. You’re in and out of the lineup all the time and it’s very up and down in that sense. You don’t know which day you’re going to be in a game. And then you don’t know if you’re going to play well enough to stay and play in another game.
“It’s a lot of unknowns and that can be tough to deal with mentally. That day-to-day grind of not knowing what to predict and not knowing if you’re going to be in the lineup can be stressful. But it’s something you learn to deal with over the years, just with experience. You get a bit of wisdom that way. You don’t let it get to you. You try to focus on the things you do well and stay positive — come to the rink with a smile and just be happy and enjoy it and embrace the challenge and the pressure.”
Compounding Pardy’s challenges is he is also still rehabilitating after offseason shoulder surgery.
Jets head coach Paul Maurice says he knows and understands the situation — and he hasn’t forgotten what Pardy did for the Jets last season.
“(The surgery) probably affects where he is with us right now more than anything,” said Maurice, “because it’s a hard rehab. So his game is not where it was at the end of the year.
“But I believe in him as a player and I’ve seen what he can do. So we’ll have some patience with that. But we have nine guys who played in the NHL last year and we can’t fit them all in. When our roster comes down to 23, we’re going to have to make a decision.
“And what’s going to make the decision really tough is the guys we’re going to have to make a decision on had a really big impact (last year) — not just playing a bit part, they carried the mail...
“But the numbers say you can’t carry nine D. It’s going to make it tough.” [email protected]ress.mb.ca
Blue-liner Adam Pardy tries to deke Eric Comrie during practice.