It was an eventful morning skate from Canada Life Centre on Thursday, as Winnipeg Jets head coach Rick Bowness made three announcements pertaining to lingering injuries to a handful of players.
On the positive side of things, defenceman Josh Morrissey will make his return to the lineup on Thursday after a two-game absence, following a lower-body injury sustained in Winnipeg’s game against Florida on Saturday. He missed Sunday’s contest with Tampa Bay and practiced with the team on Tuesday, but was unable to go in Carolina against the Hurricanes that night.
He will re-enter the Jets’ defensive pairings, meaning that Logan Stanley and Kyle Capobianco will serve as healthy scratches on the blueline on Thursday night, when the Jets play their first (and only) home game in a span of 12 total days. They head right back out on the road for two Central Division games this weekend, before retiring to Canada Life Centre next Tuesday.
Centre Pierre-Luc Dubois did skate on Thursday morning, but coach Bowness said he would not yet be making his return to the lineup, despite his initial hopes of an expected return date following a four-game absence as he continues to recover from an upper-body injury.
Thursday’s game against the NHL-best Bruins will once again have playoff implications for the Jets, who continue to tread just above the final wild card cut-off line. Currently four points up on the Nashville Predators – who also play on Thursday – Winnipeg will look to gain ground, despite playing a 50-win team.
Bowness also made the announcement on Thursday that veteran forward Sam Gagner has been shut down for the season with hip-related issues.
“He’s had some hip issues over the last little while, and he’s elected to have surgery. So he’s out,” Bowness said. “He had an operation on one the other day and I think he’s going to have another one in two weeks when that one settles down.”
Puck drop is set for 7:00 PM central time in downtown Winnipeg on Thursday. The game can be viewed live on TSN.