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Bowness Back, Ehlers to IR as Jets Prepare for Leafs

Photo by James Carey Lauder

Bowness Back, Ehlers to IR as Jets Prepare for Leafs

A familiar face was on the ice for the Winnipeg Jets at Saturday’s optional morning skate at Canada Life Centre.

Having missed the first four games of the season due to an unfortunate bout with COVID, the team’s new head coach Rick Bowness will make his long-awaited return to Winnipeg’s bench on Saturday evening in the all-Canadian matchup between the host Jets and visiting Toronto Maple Leafs.

Having coached Winnipeg’s original Jets back in the late-1980s, Bowness’ return to Winnipeg will still be a debut, as he is officially coaching for a new franchise, but fans in Manitoba have long remembered the former player-turned-coach as his career worked its way through Boston, Ottawa, New York, Phoenix, Vancouver, Tampa Bay and Dallas.

Serving in his absence has been Scott Arniel, who has led the Jets to a 2-2-0 record through the club’s first four games – three of which have come on the road (1-2-0).

The 67-year-old Bowness will be without one third of his team’s top line – much like that of Arniel over the past two games – as Nikolaj Ehlers was placed on the team’s injured reserve, retroactive to October 18. Former Jets regular Dominic Toninato was recalled from the Manitoba Moose to help fill out the Jets’ extended roster. Waiver claim Axel Jonsson-Fjallby has slotted onto the fourth line, while Mason Appleton has jumped up to play in Ehlers’ spot alongside Mark Scheifele and Kyle Connor the past two games.

Auston Matthews and the Leafs roll into Winnipeg at 3-2-0 following losses to expected cellar-dwellers Montreal and Arizona to start the season, but are coming off an exciting 3-2 overtime win over Dallas on Thursday. The game in Winnipeg marks the start of a five-game road trip for the Leafs. Puck drop at Canada Life Centre is set for 6:00 PM central time.

Carter Brooks - Associate Editor of Game On Magazine - is a news writer and sports columnist situated in Winnipeg, MB. On top of reading and writing, his favourite pastimes include camping, car-modification projects and coaching hockey. Carter can be reached at or on Twitter at @GameOnHockey.

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