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DALLAS — Patrik Laine says there’s no extra giddy-up in his step. But there’s no denying the fact that when it comes to scoring goals, the Finnish sniper is routinely seeing Stars.
Laine has lit the lamp against Dallas at a torrid pace, with 14 goals and four assists in his first nine career games entering play Saturday night at American Airlines Center.
And while he had a relatively quiet night by his standards and was held off the scoresheet, Laine would still be on pace to score 115 times and add 33 assists if he were to play an 82-game season against only the Central Division rivals.
Despite the Texas-sized success, Laine said he doesn’t prepare any differently for Dallas.
“No, it doesn’t matter at all. It’s just another game. Every game is different, it doesn’t matter how many goals you have scored before. It’s always a new game. That’s how we’re treating this,” Laine said following Saturday’s morning skate.
Laine had no explanation, other than to say it might be a product of playing the Stars so much. And while he may not understand it, he’ll certainly take it.
“These divisional games are always huge. It’s good if you can play especially well in these games,” Laine said.
Jets head coach Paul Maurice said Laine’s production against Dallas is likely more mental than anything.
“The confidence, the positive emotions of having success against a team. You come to the game feeling right, feeling good,” Maurice said.
“I don’t know that you can easily explain it. It’s something, I don’t think it’s technical, I don’t think there’s one team that has a hole you always find. There’s too much video now. They know where Patty is. But he feels good and we hope it continues.”
Laine was seen limping following the season-opening game in St. Louis Thursday night, in which he had a goal and assist. He missed Friday’s practice, but was on the ice for Saturday’s optional morning skate with no issues before playing in the game a few hours later.
Like many of his teammates, he was stressing the need to focus more on the defensive parts of his game. Laine also spoke about having Mathieu Perreault and Nikolaj Ehlers swap places on his line with Bryan Little in the third period of the Blues game, a tactic Maurice resorted to again midway through Saturday’s game.
“Yeah, I just go on the ice whenever they tell me to go and with whoever they tell me to go with,” Laine said.
“We have some good lines, four good lines going on. I guess they’re always mixing it up a bit. It really doesn’t matter who I’m playing against, and with.”
Defenceman Simon Bourque, acquired by the Jets in a trade with Montreal this past summer, has opted to retire from hockey.
The 21-year-old came over to Winnipeg in exchange for goalie Steve Mason and forward Joel Armia in what amounted to a pure salary dump by the Jets.
Bourque played four years of junior in the QMJHL and spent his rookie pro season with Laval of the AHL last year, recording three assists in 46 games.
He attended training camp with the Jets but didn’t see any pre-season action before being assigned to the Manitoba Moose.
Earlier this week, the Moose announced they were sending him to their ECHL affiliate in Jacksonville.
Bourque apparently decided to take his career in another direction and the Jets placed him on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract.
“Just wanna thank the Jets organization for supporting my decision to explore other options in life! Very grateful that I had a chance to play pro in North America! Once again, thank you!” Bourque wrote Saturday on his personal Twitter account.
The team made another move Saturday, sending rookie goalie Mikhail Berdin to Jacksonville of the ECHL.
Berdin, 20, was one of three goalies still with the Moose, but will get a chance to get some pro games under his belt with the Icemen.
That leaves Eric Comrie and Ken Appleby to share crease duties with the AHL team.
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.