WINNIPEG – Forward Matt Hendricks could be in the lineup for the Winnipeg Jets when they start off a brief two game road trip later this week.
Hendricks, 36, has yet to appear in a regular season game for the Jets after he injured his foot in the pre-season.
“I’m close, I’m feeling good,” Hendricks said on Monday after practice. “I’m feeling comfortable, I’m confident on my foot now. In the back of my head there’s not an issue, so if I had to get in front of a shot again, I’d do it.”
“I want him in the lineup,” head coach Paul Maurice said. “What he has, we don’t have a lot of.”
“He has a career of doing all the little things hard and right. We have such a young group here, that from the coaches point of view, there’s a value above and beyond the statistics of what will happen on the ice for this group.”
Hendricks would have liked to be in the lineup already, but with the Jets having five days between games the timing was perfect to get his conditioning back up to where it needs to be.
“I was pushing to get back a little bit earlier,” said Hendricks. “But with the way the schedule worked out, it was probably smarter to wait here and have a few days now to continue to get in shape, and to get a little bit better with my timing.”
After sitting out all of their first seven games of the season Hendricks is hoping to make his Jets regular season debut on Thursday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“He’s going to have to fight like every other player to stay in the lineup every single night,” Maurice said. “But if he’s healthy, I’m going to find a way to get him in.”
“To be out there battling with these guys is the most exciting thing for me,” Hendricks said. “Get back out there and start playing, start grinding.”
WATCH: Matt Hendricks Injury Update