Senators send Jets’ playoff hopes to bed

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Technically speaking, the Winnipeg Jets aren’t mathematically eliminated from the 2012 playoffs. Still, it’s tough not to feel that they’re essentially toast after the Ottawa Senators outlasted them 6-4 tonight.

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If nothing else, the Jets shouldn’t really feel “ashamed” – both from the perspective of this season and the individual contest. Just about every writer implied that the Jets could be atrocious and Winnipeg fans would be so delirious to have a team that it would all be gravy, so putting up a real fight to just fall short of the postseason isn’t half-bad. If we look back at this loss as the final nail in the coffin, it fits into the theme of overachieving, too.

Plenty of fight

The Senators took a 2-0 lead thanks to a late first period goal by Chris Neil and an early second period tally by wonderfully named Kaspars Daugavins, but the Jets didn’t just roll over. They tied it up about five minutes later and the theme carried on from there. Kyle Turris gave Ottawa a 3-2 lead at the 17:26 mark of the second period but Antti Miettinen scored his second goal of the night 20 seconds later to make it 3-3.

Daniel Alfredsson ended up being the killer, however. he scored about three minutes into the third period and while Evander Kane showed that the Jets still wouldn’t give up by making it 4-4 17:03 into the final frame, Alfredsson then scored the game-winner less than 30 seconds later. Milan Michalek scored an empty-netter to seal the deal, but ultimately the theme seemed to be “too little, too late” for the Jets.

(Heck, that might be an appropriate title for the team DVD, if those were allowed to be negative.)

Again, though, it’s tough to pile on the Jets unless you’re a jilted Atlanta Thrashers fan.

Even if you attribute it to Ottawa’s many leads, it’s impressive that Winnipeg out-shot Ottawa in all three periods and 48-35 overall. Shots aren’t everything, but they’re often a good way to illustrate team effort, which seemed to be there even if the talent wasn’t for the Jets.

Perhaps the most sobering factor is that this loss happened in Winnipeg, where the so-so team morphs into a serious threat.

End of the road

Sports Club Stats downgrades the Jets’ playoff chances from an already-paltry 4.1 percent to just .6 at this point, so tonight may indeed have been an informal curtain call. Still, if you’re a Winnipeg fan, you should probably feel reasonably satiated about the present and absolutely excited about the future.

Even if the short-term future probably won’t involve a trip to the playoffs.

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Blues name Larry Robinson as new senior consultant to hockey operations

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Larry Robinson has joined the St. Louis Blues.

The Blues made the announcement Thursday, revealing that Robinson has joined the organization as a senior consultant to hockey operations.

Based on the comments of Blues general manager Doug Armstrong, it sounds like Robinson will work closely at times with head coach Mike Yeo. It could also further help the development of an already impressive defenseman in Colton Parayko.

“Bringing someone like Larry in, I just think, helps our hockey operations from top to bottom,” said Armstrong, per the Blues website.

“His ability to talk to Mike Yeo about coaching — that’s one area that we don’t have on our staff is a former head coach. You can think you know what Mike’s going through but I don’t know what Mike’s going through. Larry does. So he’s going to be able to relate to him on a lot of the things that he’s going to go through.

“He’s coming in as a consultant. I can learn a lot from him, our assistant coaches can, Parayko can. There’s not an area of our hockey operations he can’t touch to make us a better group.”

Robinson was most recently the director of player development with the San Jose Sharks, however it was reported in May that he would not return to that organization for this season.

Looks like Matt Duchene will make preseason debut tonight vs. Stars

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According to reports, there is substantial interest from other teams in Matt Duchene. That said, he remains with the Colorado Avalanche for now and will, it appears, make his preseason debut Thursday against the Dallas Stars.

Earlier this week, Darren Dreger reported on TSN that as many as eight teams have interest in Duchene, with the Senators aggressively pursuing the 26-year-old forward.

According to Mike Chambers of The Denver Post, Duchene will be in the lineup tonight versus the Stars.

Trade speculation has been swirling around Duchene for months now. He reported to training camp last week, and has since said his status with the Avalanche is a “day-by-day” situation.

“I love playing hockey. I want to win,” Duchene told The Denver Post. “That’s the biggest thing on my mind. I’m trying to get better every time I touch the ice right now.”

Habs prospect Juulsen out six weeks with fractured foot

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Tough news for the Montreal Canadiens and prospect defenseman Noah Juulsen on Thursday.

The Habs have announced that the 2015 first-round pick is expected to be sidelined six weeks after suffering a fractured foot on Monday.

The Habs selected Juulsen with the 26th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft following his 52-point regular season with the Everett Silvertips in the Western Hockey League.

This past spring, Juulsen appeared in two playoff games for the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps. He turned 20 years old in April and it seemed like the Habs were going to give him a serious look to make the NHL club out of training camp.  

“We like the way he skates and his transition game,” said head coach Claude Julien earlier this week, before the injury was revealed. “He’s going to get a chance to make this team and if he doesn’t he’s not going to be too far away.”

Fight Video: Lappin, Puempel land some good shots in preseason tilt

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Who says players don’t care about preseason hockey?

Matt Puempel and Nick Lappin are trying to earn spots on their respective clubs, so they know they may have to do the little things others aren’t willing to do to stick around in the NHL.

On Wednesday night, that involved dropping the gloves against each other. These two seemed to be in mid-season form when it came to throwing punches.

Neither player is considered a tough guy. Lappin had 17 penalty minutes in 43 games with the Devils last season, while Puempel has 28 penalty minutes in 79 career NHL games.

Here’s the video footage of the scrap:

By the way, the Rangers won 4-3 in overtime.