If the St. John’s IceCaps want to go out on top in 2011, they could use a win tonight in Manchester, N.H., where they take on the Monarchs in American Hockey League play.
St. John’s held first place in the AHL’s Atlantic Division for most of the first two months of the 2011-12 season, but three straight losses by the IceCaps, combined with a Manchester hot streak, means the Monarchs have the division lead heading into tonight’s contest.
Manchester (17-10-2) is undefeated in regulation in its last six games (5-0-1) and is 8-1-0-1 in its last 10 outings. That recent performance has helped moved the Monarchs two points ahead of the IceCaps (15-7-4), who have three games in hand.
Tonight’s matchup (8:30 p.m. NT, CJYQ 930 AM) begins a three games-in-three days road trip for St. John’s, which plays Saturday night and Sunday afternoon in Portland against the Pirates, another division rival. The Caps then enjoy an eight-day holiday break before reassembling for three more road contests. St. John’s first home games of 2012 are Jan. 6-7 against Manchester at Mile Once Centre.
Jaffray clears, but remains in Winnipeg
Veteran forward Jason Jaffray cleared NHL waivers Thursday, but remained with the Winnipeg Jets and, in fact, played for the Jets in their game against the Washington Capitals last night. His presence in the Winnipeg lineup was required because nagging injuries kept Nik Antropov and Alexander Burmistrov from playing.
Jaffray, who started the season as the IceCaps’ captain, was put on waivers to clear a spot for Antti Miettinen, acquired by the Jets on waivers earlier this week.
However, Miettinen is not expected to play his first game for Winnipeg — and thereby officially join the team — until Saturday.
If Miettinen does play Saturday, Jaffray could be returned, on paper, to St. John’s, but not immediately report to the IceCaps as his waivers are good for 30 days. Meanwhile, the Jets may be required to make another roster move this weekend as defenceman Tobias Enstrom is said to be ready to come off the injured reserve list after recovering from a broken collarbone.
Besides Jaffray, Winnipeg has two other players — defenceman Mark Flood and rookie forward Carl Klingberg — who started the season in St. John’s. Flood is waiver-eligible and the feeling is that if he was made available through that process, he would draw interest from other NHL teams.
Klingberg is not subject to waivers.