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Josh Morrissey was missing in action Friday as the Winnipeg Jets kicked off training camp.
The 23-year-old defenceman remains without a contract after talks between his camp and general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff have failed to produce a deal, either of the short-term or long-term variety.
“Not really much to update. Again, in constant communication with his representatives and just remain hopeful the situation gets resolved soon,” Cheveldayoff said Friday afternoon at the Iceplex.
Morrissey can’t participate in any activities until a new contract is struck. He had been skating with many of his Jets teammates in recent days leading up to the start of camp.
“I guess I just have to go with the realistic expectation that I hope it gets done soon,” said Cheveldayoff.
Morrissey’s absence was a popular topic of discussion among players after completing their on-ice physicals.
“You make a decision and you stand up for what you believe in and I wouldn’t expect him to take anything less than what he feels he’s worth. So, I support him whatever way I can and how I can and I’ve got to take care of what I have to do to get ready for the season here,” said his defence partner, Jacob Trouba.
Of course, Trouba has experience with this type of contract stalemate, having missed training camp in 2016 and then the first 13 games of the regular-season while negotiations continued into November.
“You just kind of have to find a way to make your own training camp and stay ready because any day, any moment, you could come back into camp and you know you’re ready to go and pick up with everyone else. You do the best you can to not miss a beat,” Trouba said of what he learned during that experience.
Goalie Connor Hellebuyck said the situation is just part of the hockey business.
“I hope the best for him. Obviously I want him here. He’s a great defenceman and he makes the team better,” said Hellebuyck.
“Obviously, we want him here. He’s such a huge part of our team. We wish he was here. Obviously, there’s a lot of other things in effect that we don’t have control of but we want him here. We know he wants to be with us, too, but that’s the side of the business of this game. Hopefully, they get it done soon,” said Mark Scheifele.
Coach Paul Maurice said he’s not worried about Morrissey’s readiness if he misses the start of camp.
“It’s situational for every player. He’s an exceptionally fit young man, so he’s here pushing hard, worked hard, trained with Blake (Wheeler) and Mark (Scheifele) this summer, at times, so he’s a really fit guy. I don’t think there’s really a curve there. The longer you go, it takes you a little longer to get that timing back. But we really believe we have a special player in Josh and that he’s going to be able to make that transition whenever it happens,” said Maurice.
The Jets annual fan forum goes tonight at Bell MTS Place, where the organization will unveil the team’s third jersey.
All players are on the ice Saturday, with sessions at 9 a.m. and noon.
Winnipeg hosts the division-rival Minnesota Wild on Monday night in preseason action.
Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.