Jets Lunch – June 9, 2016

I made my first appearance on TSN3 co-hosting Jets Lunch with Darrin Bauming. In the clips below we interviewed Arizona Coyotes GM John Chayka, and discussed why fans should be optimistic about the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Winnipeg’s NHL History belongs to the Jets

It’s time for the NHL to end the charade and return the original Winnipeg Jets 1.0 history back to the current Winnipeg Jets. With a team in the NHL named the Winnipeg Jets, there is no reason for the Arizona Coyotes to honour the Winnipeg Jets history that took place in Winnipeg from 1979-1996.

This may seem like something minor and petty, but when the Coyotes are honouring events that didn’t happen in their city and the Jets ignore their own city’s hockey history, it doesn’t seem right. Other leagues in the same predicament have simply moved over the records and history.

After True North Sports & Entertainment, picked the Winnipeg Jets as the new team’s name, the team and fans took all of the tradition that came with it. That includes, The Whiteout, The Queen, cheering for Teemu Selanne and starting “Go Jets Go” chants anywhere and everywhere.

As it stands now; the previous Jets franchise’s records and history have remained in Arizona where the team moved, and the new Jets have inherited the Atlanta Thrashers’ history and records.

Examples

Earlier this season when Chris Thorburn passed Ilya Kovalchuk for the Jets/Thrashers franchise leader for games played. I said on The Warmup with Matt Leibl on TSN 1290 Winnipeg (at 35:40) that it was a nice accomplishment, but Kovalchuk didn’t play here, Winnipeg hockey fans don’t have any emotional attachment to him, and the true record for games played with the Winnipeg Jets belongs to Thomas Steen with 950 games played.

When Nikolaj Ehlers recorded his first career hat trick on Jan 26, 2016, the NHL’s PR account was quick to point out that Ehlers was the youngest player in Jets/Thrashers franchise history to record a hat trick since Kovalchuk in 2002.

And when Dustin Byfuglien scored a rare 3-on-5 goal the game notes pointed out that it was the first 3-on-5 goal in Jets/Thrashers franchise history since Daniel Tjarnqvist on Jan 18, 2004 at Carolina.

Again, these moments in ‘franchise’ history are great accomplishments, but Winnipeggers are more likely to celebrate Teemu Selanne’s stats recorded in a Jets uniform than anything done by Ilya Kovalchuk in a Thrashers uniform.

The same thing is occurring in Arizona where the Coyotes are forced to honour records that were established in Winnipeg.

On Friday night, Shane Doan passed Dale Hawerchuk for the Jets/Coyotes franchise lead in points. This is a tremendous accomplishment for Shane Doan, but he didn’t need to pass Hawerchuk to be the Coyotes’ all-time leader in points. Hawerchuk never played in Arizona and Doan has been the face of hockey in the desert for the last twenty years.

Past Precedents

Professional sports franchises moving locations while their records and history remain has happened in the NFL, NBA and CFL.

NFL

In 1995 Art Modell moved the Browns out of Cleveland to Baltimore. The fans and the city revolted and struck a deal to keep the Browns’ name, colours, history, records, award and archives in Cleveland. When Cleveland was awarded an expansion franchise, it remained the Browns. In their history and record books it states that the team was ‘deactivated’ from the years 1996-1999.

NBA

The original Charlotte Hornets moved to New Orleans following the 2001-02 season. In 2004 Charlotte was awarded an expansion franchise named the Bobcats. After the 2012-13 season New Orleans’ franchise became the Pelicans, leaving the Hornets name open. The Charlotte Bobcats quickly reclaimed the name ‘Hornets’ and since May 2014 the old Hornets name, history and records from 1988-2002 were moved from New Orleans back to Charlotte.

CFL

When the CFL’s American expansion failed, the Baltimore Stallions moved to Montreal. They were reincarnated as the Alouettes. The CFL now recognizes all the clubs that have played in Montreal since 1946 as one franchise, and the Stallions became defunct. Meaning, the Alouttes didn’t have a 20th anniversary celebration for the 1995 Baltimore Stallions Grey Cup Win. Additionally, all of Ottawa’s CFL teams have been combined into one franchise.

How would it work?

The Winnipeg Jets 1.0 Records would be combined with the Winnipeg Jets 2.0 Records . *The updated Winnipeg Jets 2.0 records would not include anything that took place in Atlanta (see below).

The Arizona Coyotes can continue to grow their franchise and history without having to recognize their past in Winnipeg.

Currently the Arizona Coyotes Top 10 All-Time Points Leaders are: Shane Doan (930), Dale Hawerchuk (928), Thomas Steen (817), Keith Tkachuk (623), Teppo Numminen (534), Paul MacLean (518), Doug Smail (397), Jeremy Roenick (379), Laurie Boschman (379) and Morris Lukowich (345).

After the change, the Coyotes Top 10 All-Time Points Leaders would be: Shane Doan (914), Jeremy Roenick (379), Keith Tkachuk (334), Keith Yandle (311), Radim Vrbata (288), Martin Hanzal (271), Teppo Numminen (269), Ladislav Nagy (249), Mikkel Boedker (210), and Daymond Langkow (196).

The Coyotes Top 10 after removing the Jets history is much more marketable and valuable to the Coyotes franchise than having to recognize Thomas Steen, Paul MacLean, Doug Smail, Laurie Boschman and Morris Lukowich who never played in Arizona.

What to do with Atlanta?

The Atlanta Thrashers records and history of events that happened in Atlanta, would be in the same spot as the California Golden Seals/Cleveland Barons. (aka defunct). The current Jets can choose to honour certain Thashers’ traditions (aka the Dan Snyder Award).

Finally

Having Winnipeg’s NHL history in two different places is confusing to fans and is not fair to their respective cities. Events that occurred in Winnipeg from 1979-1996 are now being recognized and honoured in Arizona, while Winnipeg is forced to celebrate the Atlanta Thrashers history from 1999-2011.

Now that Shane Doan has become the Coyotes franchise leader in all major statistical categories and Winnipeg’s franchise has had five years to establish it’s own identity. It is time for the NHL to move the Winnipeg Jets 1.0 history from the desert back to the prairies.

McKenzie: Winnipeg is actively trying to sign Byfuglien

TSN Hockey Insider joined the TSN 1200 Ottawa Senators pregame show and was asked about the pending UFA Status of Winnipeg Jets Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd:

“I don’t think there has been a lot of dialogue with Ladd, although the lines of communication are open. Both sides understand where each side is at, they know the gap they are dealing with and it remains to be seen whether anyone chooses to close that gap. At this point, it doesn’t appear that’s the case”.

“The sense does seem to be that Dustin Byfuglien is the player that Winnipeg is actively trying to sign. But whether they’re able to do that; that determination probably won’t be made for a while. I can assure you of this, if they determine they can’t sign Dustin Byfuglien, or Byfuglien is not prepared to sign back for what Winnipeg is offering, and he becomes available in trade. That’s the big buzz in terms of a rental that would generate significant interest amongst a lot of the big boys in the National Hockey League looking for a big boy like Byfuglien.”

Listen to the full interview at TSN.ca

Blake Wheeler is indestructable

I wrote about Blake Wheeler’s ability to stay on the ice at TheWarmup.ca

 

Jim Slater signs with Geneva of the Swiss League

Former Winnipeg Jets centre Jim Slater was not offered a contract by the team following the 2014-15 season. It was a long off-season of waiting for the former Michigan State Spartan. The waiting came to an end earlier today when it was announced that Slater had signed a contract with Geneva of the Swiss League.

Slater spoke about his new contract with Rick Ralph and Shane Hnidy on the Rona Roundtable on TSN 1290 Winnipeg:

“I’m relieved now today. We finally were able to come to terms with Geneva in the Swiss League, we’ll be heading over there and trying some European Hockey. I’m really looking forward to it, really excited and really intrigued by the whole situation. I’m just happy, it’s been a stressful summer, frustrating at times, but nice to finally be relieved and going over there.”

“(Free Agency) was a whole new process for me. At the end of (last season) I had a feeling that I wouldn’t be coming back to Winnipeg and was going to be able to try the free agent market. As we were getting down to July 1st, my agent said it could be a little different this year, we could get an offer here or there, but it might be a long summer, it might take right to the end. We had an offer on the first day, it wasn’t quite what we were looking for financially, but we had an offer and it was the first day so we decided to wait a little bit. That came and went and nothing ever came again. That was the tough part there.”

“Then you see what veterans are signing for, and you tend to look back on it. But we moved on, were trying to be patient, and nothing came along. Then out of nowhere about a month and a half ago, some teams started calling from overseas. I was talking with (my) agent and said this might end up being a possibility; we were really looking hard, trying to find the right fit. We were talking to quite a bit of teams overseas, different leagues, throughout Europe and Russia. Finally today we settled on Geneva, and couldn’t be more excited, just the things I hear about the city and the league, it’s a good league outside the NHL. I’m looking forward to the experience, and quality of life over there, it really fits me.”

“I feel I can still play in the (NHL), but for whatever reason it wasn’t there this year. My goal is to go over to Switzerland, perform over there and hopefully be able to come back next year if something happens. That’s my whole look at it. I need to play; I need to play in one of the best leagues. I feel very fortunate to go to the Swiss League, to Geneva, especially all the players who were on PTOs that are now getting cut or sent home. They’re going to be looking for jobs overseas now too.”

“I’m glad to get it done with; it was a very weird summer. It wasn’t a summer that was our Plan A, but the saying goes, there’s 25 more letters in the alphabet so you have to move on. We ended up going with our other plans, hopefully they work out.”

“Did I want to do a PTO? Of course, I want to play in the NHL and that’s the best chance. But then you have to look and think if you get injured trying out, then you have nothing. Or if you wait too long then some of those options are gone. (The Swiss League is) one of the best leagues outside the NHL, in one of the best cities; at that point you can’t turn it down. That’s what it came down to.”

“The NHL life is great; this is a little detour, who knows what is going to happen after it. My goal is to hopefully next year come back, if not next year then the year after that and play again in the NHL. This is the best place for me right now, I’m really looking forward to it, real excited and I feel fortunate to be going over there.”

Listen to the full interview here.