A day after Winnipeg Jets head coach said Patrik Laine could miss one to two weeks with a bruised ankle, the superstar scorer is proving to be a super healer as well.
The 19-year-old Finn was skating with the team Friday morning and telling the coach he wants to play tonight against the visiting Anaheim Ducks.
“It’s good to see him back out there,” Jets captain Blake Wheeler said following the morning skate.
Laine went “faster than he has all year so everybody knows he can play,” head coach Paul Maurice said after the skate.
“Then he skates off the ice and walks into my office and says ‘I can play.’ That’s how it went. I said ‘Fine, you prepare like you’re gonna play and we’ll give it the afternoon to make sure nothing changes.'”
Laine left Tuesday’s game early in the second period after blocking a shot by Kings defenceman Alec Martinez. He had to be helped down the hallway to the dressing room, keeping all weight off of his left foot.
Social media almost immediately lit up from people posting concerns about Laine’s condition and how his absence could affect the Jets in the playoffs.
On Thursday, Maurice said Laine’s foot was bruised but not broken and the winger would not be rushed back. He was expected to sit out for a week or two, but at the very least miss the Anaheim game and likely Sunday’s match against Nashville.
On Friday, Maurice said the swelling was “gone almost completely.”
Ultimately, there are three boxes that need to be checked off before Laine is given a green light, Maurice said:
- Doctors must be comfortable the injury won’t be exacerbated.
- Laine’s level of fitness, but he hasn’t been out of the lineup long enough to need conditioning.
- Laine’s confidence.
“And he has lots of confidence that he’s a player tonight,” Maurice said. “We’ll give him the afternoon to make sure it continues to go in the direction it’s going. But he was pretty direct with me about his ability to play tonight.”
Laine has 43 goals in 73 games this season, good for second place in the NHL. Washington’s Alex Ovechkin has 44.
Laine’s 79 goals over the past two seasons are third-most in NHL history for a teenager. Former Jet Dale Hawerchuk (85) sits second and former L.A. King Jimmy Carson is first (92).
Laine turns 20 on April 19.
Published at Fri, 23 Mar 2018 14:53:06 -0400