Fehr game to shoulder Jets fans’ lofty expectations


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All season long, Eric Fehr has witnessed the fervor that consumes the MTS Centre during Winnipeg Jets games.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/11/2011 (4210 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

All season long, Eric Fehr has witnessed the fervor that consumes the MTS Centre during Winnipeg Jets games.

On Saturday, he finally got to experience it from the ice.

The former Brandon Wheat Kings star made his long-awaited debut with the Jets in Saturday’s 6-4 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers and the energy from the crowd still had him buzzing days later.

File photo Eric Fehr

“(The atmosphere) was a lot different,” said the 26-year-old Winkler native, who was in the Jets’ starting lineup on Saturday and again last night as they visited his former team, the Washington Capitals. “I think it’s louder when you’re on the ice than when you’re in the stands and to be out there for the opening faceoff to start the game, it was pretty special.”

When the National Hockey League returned to Winnipeg in the off-season, one of the first moves made by True North, the franchise’s new owner, was to acquire the former Western Hockey League scoring champion from the Capitals with the hope he would be able to add scoring punch to the lineup.

A former first-round draft pick (18th overall) in 2003, Fehr had scored as many as 21 goals in an NHL season, but his career had largely been defined by injuries that prevented him from reaching his potential. In fact, at the time of the trade he was recovering from shoulder surgery that was expected to keep him sidelined for the early stages of the season.

The Jets brought him along slowly — a plan that has continued even after his return to the lineup — and Fehr said his troublesome shoulder was feeling better every day, giving him hope that he would be able to reach the high expectations held by the team and the fans.

“The first hurdle is just getting healthy and now that I’m cleared to play and back in action, I just want to get back into a groove,” said Fehr, who was limited to a mere seven minutes of ice time in his debut before playing nine last night. “It’s not something where you can just jump back in and be fully effective right way. It takes a little bit of time to get everything figured out, especially with the new team and new linemates. And hopefully I can pick it up again as quickly as possible.”

Fehr isn’t the only Jet trying to get everything figured out.

The team got off to a slow start, but had won three straight heading into last night’s 4-3 overtime loss, bringing the Jets close to the .500 mark at 8-9-4.

Fehr said with the club’s move to hockey-hungry Winnipeg from its previous home in Atlanta, many of the players may have been a little bit too eager to please.

“I think the team got off to a bit of a tough start at the beginning because there was a lot of pressure on them,” he said. “The city was so excited and I think the players wanted to perform in front of the hometown fans and we didn’t play the way we were supposed to be playing. And now, I think we’ve got a little bit more figured out. We’ve got to play our own system and the fans will just appreciate the hard work we bring and we’re going to try to win some games for them.”

» rhenders@brandonsun.com

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