The Winnipeg Jets could be without their number one goalie again when they continue the seven-game homestand on Friday against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck was expected to return to practice on Thursday after he missed Tuesday’s game following the birth of his first child. But now Hellebuyck is under the weather.
“He wasn’t feeling good this morning,” said Jets head coach Paul Maurice. “Yesterday he was trying to convince Wade Flaherty that he should play both (games), based on the time off. And then he wasn’t feeling good this morning, so we left him at home.”
Hellebuyck already contracted COVID-19 back in the summer and is now fully vaccinated, and while it could just be a case of the sniffles, there’s always the fear another player has the virus after Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele recently had COVID-19.
“You get the sniffles and that means you can’t come to the rink basically,” Maurice said. “So, test him out over the next period of time and keep our fingers crossed, but we’re hopeful.”
With Hellebuyck’s status for Friday now up in the air, Mikhail Berdin was recalled from the Manitoba Moose for the second time in the past 48 hours. Forward Kristian Vesalainen was also sent back down to the AHL to make room for Berdin’s contract under the salary cap.
Eric Comrie could make a second-straight start against the Blackhawks after already appearing in two of their last three games. And it sounds like he’s earned the trust of his head coach.
“I don’t have any problem putting him in a net,” said Maurice. “His play and his practices have been consistent. I don’t think he’s been lucky in front of the net.
“You sit and watch the practices, he pulls one or two of those saves out that he shouldn’t. The guys are banging the boards.”
Comrie won both his previous starts while allowing a total of five goals.
“I felt both games were pretty good games,” said Comrie. “I felt solid in both of them. I mean, most importantly we got two wins.”
After going 21 months between NHL starts, Comrie could play three games in the span of just eight days.
“It’s just another game,” he said. “Another game we have to go out there and hopefully win. It’s no different than if I played two weeks from now. It’s just another game I got to go out there. I can’t change the way I’m going to play. I can’t change the way I’m going to look at it.”
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