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      ‘It’s a stupid play’: Jets’ Gabriel Vilardi calls out Kings’ Blake Lizotte

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      Gabriel Vilardi is not happy with a former teammate of his.

      The Winnipeg Jets’ forward spoke with reporters on Wednesday, calling out his former teammate and Los Angeles Kings forward Blake Lizotte for an incident that occurred when the two teams met on Oct. 17.

      Vilardi sprained his MCL on the play, which made him miss the Jets’ past 18 games.

      “I’ve played with him a lot. He’s done a lot of little things like that,” said Vilardi. “It’s stuff that you guys say was an awkward fall…it wasn’t an awkward fall. It’s someone pushing your feet out from the back, when he gets caught under me, then he tackles me. It’s that simple.”

      Vilardi, who is expected to rejoin Winnipeg’s lineup this week, says he was close to being gone for the entire 2023-24 season.

      “It’s frustrating to look at stuff like that,” Vilardi continued, “I don’t think his intent is to hurt me, but when you make plays like that — it’s a stupid play — it’s frustrating to think that he sits in the box for two minutes and I have to deal with what I’ve dealt with for the past month-and-a-half.

      “That’s life.”

      Vilardi was asked if Lizotte reached out to him to apologize.

      “It’s between me and him, and I’m not going to get into that.”

      Vilardi and Lizotte were teammates in the Kings’ organization between 2018 and 2023 before Vilardi was sent to the Jets in the Pierre-Luc Dubois trade.

      Vilardi, 24, had one assist in three games before getting injured. In 63 games last season, he scored 23 goals and 18 assists for 41 points.

      Lizotte, 25, has four goals and three assists in 16 games this season.

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