WINNIPEG, Manitoba - Despite the bloody cut across his nose, J.T. Miller declined to discuss the unpenalized cross-check from defenseman Dustin Byfuglein that drove his face into the ice while kneeling near the Jets crease in the second period. The play already had moved to the other end of the rink when the unprovoked chop took place.
But coach Alain Vigneault didn't hold back, screaming at the officials from the bench and then ripping the play postgame.
"Violent, deliberate, could have broken his neck," Vigneault said. "One of the most vicious cross-checks I've seen this year."
St. Louis near a return
Martin St. Louis, recovering from an MCL sprain of his right knee, expects to participate in a full practice for the first time in more than two weeks Wednesday and perhaps play Thursday in Minnesota.
"I'm jumping in my stride, I'm not cautious," said St. Louis, who skated but sat out for the eighth straight game.
St. Louis said he hopes to play as many games as possible before the playoffs: "Not just one or two. I need to get a true feel of where you are, build up your game."
Staal nominatedMarc Staal was nominated for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy by the New York chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
After concussions and a serious eye injury that limited him to 67 games combined in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, Staal has five goals and 13 assists. The annual award goes to a player who best exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication.
"I'm fortunate that I'm here playing," Staal said, "and have taken that kind of mindset every day: That I'm lucky to be a hockey player and compete with a good team. It was a long way back but it was worth it."