Ondrej Pavelec

Pavelec, Ponikarovsky bolt to Europe

The mass exodus of NHLers continues.

Over the weekend, two members of the Winnipeg Jets — goalie Ondrej Pavelec and winger Alexei Ponikarovsky — wasted no time finding work and signed with European clubs.

The first was Pavelec, who inked with HC Ocelari Trinec of the Czech Extraliga.

Trinec, the 2011 Extraliga champion, currently employs a couple of ex-NHLers, including Radek Bonk — the No. 3 overall pick at the 1994 draft — and Vaclav Varada.

It’s not surprising Pavelec returned to play in his native land, though it will be curious to see how the Jets monitor the situation, given he was charged with a DUI in the Czech Republic during the summer. Just months prior to the DUI charge, Pavelec signed a five-year, $19.5 million deal with Winnipeg.

As for the other Jet heading abroad, Ponikarovsky has inked a deal with Donbass Donetsk of the KHL.

The KHL’s lone representative from Ukraine, Donbass already snapped up another current NHLer (Flyers forward and Ukraine native Ruslan Fedotenko) to go along with its slew of ex-NHLers (Oskars Bartulis, Evgeni Dadonov, Erik Ersberg, Lukas Kaspar, Vaclav Nederost and Karel Pilar.)

After lopsided loss, Julien says it’s ‘not about the young D’

Claude Julien

The Boston Bruins’ young, makeshift defense failed to come through Thursday night as the B’s were thumped, 6-2, on home ice by the Winnipeg Jets.

Without injured veterans Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, the defensive pairings were as follows:

Torey KrugAdam McQuaid
Joe MorrowKevan Miller
Matt IrwinZach Trotman

And let’s just say, turnovers were a factor:

That was Irwin getting checked off the puck there.

“I had the puck behind the net, and I went to one side of the net, and then I just didn’t use the net to my advantage,” he explained afterwards, per CSN New England. “He got his stick in there, obviously stripped me of the puck, and we all know what happened after that. I take full blame for that one.”

But head coach Claude Julien wasn’t willing to blame inexperience for the poor outing.

“It’s not about youth. It’s not about the young D,” said Julien. “It’s about our game without the puck. I think we might have gotten a little excited here about our offense and forgot about the other part of our game.”

And to be fair, even Boston’s more accomplished d-men had their challenging moments.

Here’s Krug failing to get position on Nicolas Petan in front of the Bruins’ net:

All in all, it was a tough night.

“We’ll correct those [mistakes] tomorrow in practice,” said Irwin. “We’re a confident group in here. We liked our offense. We liked the chances we were getting. All those mistakes, D-zone, are something that we’re going to work on and get better every day.”

The Bruins host their rivals from Montreal on Saturday.

Greene named 11th captain in Devils history

Dion Phaneuf; Andy Greene
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Andy Greene has been named Bryce Salvador’s successor as New Jersey’s team captain.

Greene, an undrafted free agent that’s spent his entire nine-year career with the Devils organization, becomes the 11th captain in the franchise’s history and third American to wear the “C” (Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner were the others).

A former standout at Miami of Ohio, Greene — who served as an alternate captain in each of the last two seasons — has developed into a steady, durable blueliner that hasn’t missed a game in three years. He’s also locked into the Devils long term, having signed a five-year, $25 million extension with the club last summer.

That deal kicks in this season, and runs through 2020.

As for the rest of the leadership group, four players will serve as alternate captains this season: Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac, Mike Cammalleri, and Adam Henrique.

Elias and Zajac both wore an “A” in New Jersey last year, while Cammalleri and Henrique are first-timers.