Wild's Ennis frustrated by lack of playoff playing time
ST. PAUL—Tyler Ennis has been waiting for the better part of a decade to make it back to postseason, so yes, he's a little upset that he remained a healthy scratch for Game 3 of their first-round playoff series with the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday night, April 15, at the Xcel Energy Center.
"It's frustrating," said Ennis, who hasn't played in a postseason game since the 2010-11 season when he was a member of the Buffalo Sabres. "I want to be out there. Everyone wants to be out there. I think I can help the team."
After being acquired via trade this offseason, Ennis played in 73 of 82 games during the regular season. He tallied 22 points (8 goals, 14 assists) playing up and down the lineup and hoped he would get a chance to improve upon those numbers in the postseason.
But with the arrival of 6-foot-6, 230-pound rookie Jordan Greenway last month, Ennis has found himself watching from the press box more often than not. It hasn't helped his cause that Greenway has played well in the postseason after looking a little lost in the regular season.
Greenway, coach Bruce Boudreau said, "doesn't deserve to come out."
"The only other young guy we have is (Joel) Eriksson Ek, and he's not coming out," Boudreau added, "and we're not going to start a controversy where one of the Top 6 forwards are not playing good and we take him out. I think that would be counterproductive."
Unless something drastically changes in the coming days, Ennis might simply be the odd man out.
"I've just got to keep working," he said. "Just get my my reps in during practice and work hard after practice and get my workouts in."
"You have to have a fire," he added. "You have to be competitive. I'm determined to stay ready. ... If the opportunity comes, I'll be in shape and I'll be ready to go. Like I said, I think I can help the team. If not, I'm here to support my team."
As far as Boudreau is concerned, the blizzard that descended up the Twin Cities this weekend is perfect weather for the playoffs.
"If you're playing in Antarctica," Boudreau quipped in the hours leading up to Game 3.
It wasn't a joking matter for the Jets, who didn't make it to the Twin Cities until Sunday morning, nearly 24 hours after their scheduled arrival time.
They actually flew out on Saturday afternoon, April 14, and were unable to land in the Twin Cities because of the harsh snow storm. They were briefly diverted to Duluth before opting to fly back home and try again Sunday morning.
While traveling on the same day of the game is unusual, and perhaps puts a team at a slight disadvantage, the Wild don't seem to think that's going to be an issue for the Jets.
"It's overblown," Boudreau said. "It's playoff hockey and they're going to be ready. ... It's all about the will and (the Jets) have will right now. This travel thing is a non-issue as far as I'm concerned."
With the Iowa Wild season officially over, the organization called up center Justin Kloos, wingers Kyle Rau and Kurtis Gabriel, and goaltender Niklas Svedberg on Sunday afternoon. It's likely that more players will be called up in the near future with rosters expanding in the playoffs.
These players are commonly referred to as Black Aces, and while the moniker sounds pretty cool, it's highly unlikely that any of them will actually play. Typically, Black Aces don't see any postseason action. They also don't participate in warmups or travel with the team for road games.