The Jets’ blueline is finally completely healthy for the first time since December, with Josh Morrissey cleared to play in time to start the playoffs.
“Happy to be feeling good,” Morrissey said. “It’s a long road. Every player that goes through an injury knows that.
“First couple weeks are pretty tough, but after that, you start to just get back into the swing of trying to do everything you can to get back ready to play.”
Morrissey suffered the upper-body injury back at the end of February after taking a hit into the side boards, so he’s been out of the lineup for more than six weeks .
“It’s kinda funny how sometimes you take hits and block shots and things like that, and sometimes it’s a pretty bad pain, and it goes away pretty fast,” Morrissey said. “Unfortunately that one obviously didn’t go away as fast as I thought it might. When I went down the tunnel, and I was hoping I’d come back and play in a few minutes, but it was obviously more severe than I hoped it was.”
But even after Morrissey missed the final 20 games of the regular season, head coach Paul Maurice said he has no plans of easing him back into the lineup.
“The fitness for him is not an issue,” Maurice said. “He’s been able to skate, and skate hard, and he has.
“He was knocking on the door there at the end of that road trip — wanting to play. But we wanted to make sure he was right. So he’s back full contact for a week now, and feeling real strong.”
Unlike Morrissey, injured forward Brandon Tanev won’t be ready in time for game one. He missed their final two contests after getting slashed on his hand.
“Brandon is day-to-day,” Maurice said. “I’ll throw you one bone at the start so you can get off my back, but he’s not going to play game one.”
The Jets will enter the playoffs with losses in five of their last seven games. It begs the question, can they flip the switch now that the playoffs are here?
“Every single team has a switch, right,” Maurice said. “Because the energy level, the source of energy is just so hard to manufacture during the regular season. It’s unreal, and then you get to the playoffs and it’s real.”