Few things have been as consistent or as popular for the Winnipeg Jets this season than the team’s “GST” line of Tanner Glass, Jim Slater and Chris Thorburn.
The checking line has been intact since the start of the season and become a fan favourite with the MTS Centre crowd regularly chanting “GST” whenever the trio hits the ice (Slater, who is an American, had to be told what GST meant). While their job has been largely stopping the other team’s top scorers, the line has been fairly productive offensively for Winnipeg, generating 18 goals and 39 points so far.
But the GST line is no more, at least for now. Thorburn picked up a lower body injury in Winnipeg’s 5-3 loss to Calgary last week and will be out for three weeks. The 28-year old winger had been a durable force for Winnipeg this season, playing in 68 games and giving the team much needed grit as well as the odd goal, including a wizard-like move that beat Buffalo Sabres’ goalie Ryan Miller in Winnipeg’s 3-1 win last week.
Jets’ coach Claude Noel confirmed on Monday that Eric Fehr will take Thorburn’s place on the line, at least for Wednesday’s contest against the Dallas Stars in Winnipeg. Fehr has had a disappointing season so far, missing most of the early season due to shoulder surgery and producing just one goal and one assist in 33 games.
“Right now that’s what we’ll go with,” Noel told reporters Monday, giving Fehr a lukewarm endorsement. “He’s earned the opportunity because he is here...If he plays better, he’ll play.”
Slater said that while the GST nickname has been fun, the team has bigger concerns now. “It’s not all about nicknames now,” he said referring to Winnipeg’s push for a playoff spot. “For sure we love the GST [name] But we’re not really worried about that. That’s not our first priority right now.”
The Jets have lost two straight and fallen out of a playoff position in the Eastern Conference. Winnipeg is now four points behind the Washington Capitals which holds down the final spot.