Tucker Poolman is the latest Winnipeg Jets defenceman to go down with an injury.
Poolman left the game in the first period of Sunday’s loss to the Nashville Predators, appearing to favour his right leg as he left the ice, after getting tangled up with Predators forward Yakov Trenin by the Jets bench.
He’ll miss at least the rest of their homestand, and maybe longer.
“He’s out for the homestand,” head coach Paul Maurice told reporters on Monday. “I guess there’s a chance that he maybe plays for us, maybe by the end of the road trip.
“If not, we’d be reasonably confident that he’s a player coming out of the break.”
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The Jets get their league-mandated five-day break right out of the all-star weekend, and won’t be practicing or playing any games from Jan. 23 to 30.
The Jets are already without defenceman Nathan Beaulieu, while blueliner Dmitry Kulikov just returned from an injury.
Poolman, 26, has two goals and 11 assists in 44 games this season. He had been playing on a pairing with Josh Morrissey before he was hurt.
The injury will allow Luca Sbisa to get back in the lineup after he was a healthy scratch on Sunday, and Maurice will look to divide up Poolman’s top four minutes.
“Whenever a guy who plays that role goes out, you just spread it around,” Maurice said.
“But really think the couple days off for Luca are really going to help. So we’ve got a guy that’s not been sitting out for a long time obviously come in, and we should be able to spread that around pretty good.
“We’re going to learn a little bit on the fly, right? We got one right now in our lineup. So we’ve got a couple of guys playing their off side. If they’re comfortable, we’ll leave them, and if not, we’ll have to move some people around.”
While he’s not expected to return to the lineup anytime soon, Jets centreman Bryan Little has taken another step forward in his recovery from a head injury. He practiced with the rest of his teammates in a non-contact uniform on Monday. Little hasn’t played since he was struck in the ear with a slap shot back in late November.
“We think he’s a skater tomorrow again,” Maurice said. “Non-contact, he’s going to stay on the ice with us as long as he feels good. He’s almost monitoring his own heart rate.
“He gets in the drills, and then stays out if he needs to.”
With six straight home losses, the Jets continue their three-game homestand on Tuesday against the Vancouver Canucks.
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