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Appleton out 2-3 Months, Ehlers Resumes Skating

Photo by Scott Stroh

Appleton out 2-3 Months, Ehlers Resumes Skating

Wednesday was a ‘good news, bad news’ kind of day for the Winnipeg Jets on the injury front.

After being held off the ice for a full month due to an injury suffered just two games into the 2022-23 season, Nikolaj Ehlers skated at Canada Life Centre Wednesday morning. He did not participate in any team drills or activities, but he was on the ice and seemingly moved around fine.

According to head coach Rick Bowness, the 26-year-old’s undisclosed lower-body injury is on the mend and the team will take things day-by-day until Ehlers is given a clean bill of health.

“We will see how it feels (on Thursday),” the 67-year-old said. “It’s status quo with him. It was a light skate and we will see how he feels (Thursday) coming in. That’s all I can tell you. It’s day-to-day with him now until we decide what’s the next step to take?”

With nothing to report on defenceman Logan Stanley’s broken foot, the attention then shifted to Jansen Harkins – who took a Sam Gagner clearing attempt to the face and missed one game. Although physically able to skate and play, Harkins remains exceptionally swollen and will likely not dress as the Jets open a three-game homestead against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night.

The biggest piece of news, and not good news either, was that of Mason Appleton and his injured wrist. Originally tweaking his hand/arm following an interference minor by Carson Soucy in Seattle, Appleton has since returned to Winnipeg and it was determined that surgery was needed to fix his ailment. He has undergone the procedure and his recovery time is somewhere between two-to-three months.

“When he came in off the ice and talked to him, he couldn’t hold a stick, so right away you’re worried about that,” Jets head coach Rick Bowness said. “It’s just unfortunate because he was playing very, very well, playing a lot of important minutes for the team and that line, doing a good job on the penalty kill.

The most difficult piece of news was the fact that Appleton’s setback was so obscure in nature thanks to the circumstances leading to the young forward racing off the ice clutching his wrist. Skating alongside the boards, Appleton was checked illegally by Soucy, to which his stick got caught up in the glass and penalty box access point, jarring his arm in an awkward position while skating full-speed 90 degrees the other direction.

As for the Jets’ current arrangement of players, well, according to Bowness, some changes will be made to appropriately reflect the team’s depth in terms of offence, as well as the void left by Appleton on the penalty kill.

“Now we just move guys a little bit,” the coach said. “We started with Adam and Mason and will probably move Axel in there now and then come back with Gus and Saku sitting there. And Toni will play Thursday and Blake, Kyle and Mark, they’ve all killed penalties.”

Winnipeg is expected to line up like this against Anaheim on Thursday night:

Connor – Scheifele – Gagner

Perfetti – Dubois – Wheeler

Jonsson-Fjallby – Lowry – Eyssimont

Toninato – Gustafsson – Maenalanen

Morrissey – Pionk

Dillon – Schmidt

Samberg – DeMelo

Hellebuyck

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 carterbrooks1994@gmail.com or on Twitter at @GameOnHockey.

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