Cole Perfetti, Nikolaj Ehlers, and Nate Schmidt were all expected to jump back into the lineup soon for the Winnipeg Jets, but they had another nice surprise at practice today. Blake Wheeler was present in a full-contact sweater and practicing on the top line. All four players were taking regular turns, suggesting that the team is getting a huge group of reinforcements all at once. To make room, they will need to move at least one other player off the roster. Ken Wiebe of Sportsnet reports that Michael Eyssimont is not on the ice.
While it still leaves Mason Appleton, Logan Stanley, and Saku Maenalanen on injured reserve, getting Wheeler back is big news for the Jets. The 36-year-old seemed rejuvenated this season (like so many other Winnipeg players) and had 26 points through 29 games before going down to injury. Though he is seeing the lowest average ice time since his days with the Boston Bruins, Wheeler has been great and should be another big boost for a Jets team that is still within striking distance of the Central Division crown.
- After leaving early on Tuesday night, Patrick Kane’s status was completely unclear. When he was absent as practice started for the Chicago Blackhawks today, alarm bells rang out. Luckily, it seems like he has avoided serious injury, as the Blackhawks listed it as a maintenance day. Andreas Athanasiou was also missing with a non-COVID illness. With so many fans expecting Kane to be the belle of the trade deadline ball this year, a serious injury could throw a wrench into the next few weeks. Hopefully, this will prove to be nothing more than a minor ailment that needs some rest.
- During last night’s game, Minnesota Wild goaltender Filip Gustavsson was suddenly removed from the net. Head coach Dean Evason told reporters including Joe Smith of The Athletic afterward that he didn’t know what was going on, only that Gustavsson “skated off and puked his brains out.” Michael Russo of The Athletic confirms today that it was an illness, not an injury, that caused the departure and that there is no recall anticipated by the Wild.