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Jets' coach Claude Noel at ease ahead of opener

Winnipeg Jets coach Claude Noel is either a coaching genius or easily pleased. But after the Jets had a full-game scrimmage Friday morning, Noel said he was content with what he saw. Any lingering worries heading into the club's first game against Montreal on Sunday?

"What am I still worried about? Nothing," Noel said after the game. No worries at all? "No."

The team also practiced shootouts, with mixed success, and penalty killing.

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The first game will have some special meaning for Noel, who grew up in Kirkland Lake, Ont., loving the Habs. "I was a big fan," he said. "I used to sit in front of the TV with a bobble head of the Montreal Canadiens and I remember listening to the French announcer...It was great. Bobby Rousseau, Jacques Laperrière and Jacques Lemaire."

Coaching against the team he idolized as a child "will be fun," he added. "I'll be anxious like I would be when I played my first game when I was 5-years-old. I'll be excited."

Noel said his mother and two sisters have come to Winnipeg for the first game. Beyond that he is trying to treat like just another game.

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About the Author
European Correspondent

Paul Waldie has been an award-winning journalist with The Globe and Mail for more than 10 years. He has won three National Newspaper Awards for business coverage and been nominated for a Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism. He has also won a Sports Media Canada award for sports writing and authored a best-selling biography of the McCain family. More

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