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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.

Blake Wheeler is indestructable

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

 

Top Winnipeg Jets Questions Heading Into 2015-16

View image | gettyimages.com

 

This summer has been a relatively quiet one for the Winnipeg Jets in terms of roster moves. With training camp quickly approaching Jets fans and media have been speculating on a number of uncertainties regarding the team.

Just because David Letterman is no longer doing ‘The Late Show’ that doesn’t mean top ten lists are extinct from society.

Here are the top ten questions heard this summer regarding the Winnipeg Jets

-(When) will Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien sign contract extensions? How much will it take to sign one, or both? What return can the Jets get for Dustin Byfuglien if he were to be traded?

-Where will 2014 1st round pick Nikolaj Ehlers play this season? Junior? The NHL? Europe?

-Can Ondrej Pavelec repeat his performance from the end of last season? How will playing time be split between Pavelec and Hutchinson? Will Connor Hellebuyck see time in a Jets uniform?

-How will Alex Burmistrov fare in his return to the NHL? Can he replace the departed Michael Frolik?

-Who is the 9th forward? This assumes the top eight forwards are Ladd/Little/Stafford, Perreault/Scheifele/Wheeler, Burmistrov/Lowry. The ninth could be Ehlers (mentioned above), or another one of the Jets crop of young players trying to make the jump to the NHL (see below).

-What young players will make the jump to the NHL level? Can Andrew Copp grab the 4th line centre role previously occupied by Jim Slater? Aside from Thorburn & Peluso, who else will be on the fourth line? Where do players like Matt Fraser, Matt Halischuk, Nic Petan, Joel Armia, Chase De Leo, and Brendan Lemieux fit in.

-What will Mark Scheifele, Jacob Trouba and Adam Lowry’s next contract look like after this season? Which of these three will get a bridge deal, and will one (or more) get a long term contact?

-Is there too much of a logjam on defense to open up a spot for 2013 1st round pick Josh Morrissey at the NHL level? With ten defenseman on one way contracts, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

-How much of an impact will having the Moose in the same arena have on roster movement? It was previously difficult for the organization to get players out of St. John’s to Winnipeg (especially after moving to the Western Conference). With the two teams sharing a building, can we expect more instances of players getting called up and down?

-Can Winnipeg support two pro hockey teams? This was a question that was asked when it was announced that the AHL would be returning to Winnipeg. In early August Dan Hursh, TNSE VP of AHL Operations told Global News “we’re certainly approaching the 4-thousand mark and that puts us in a really good place” putting to rest any concerns about the short term viability of the team.

These are the main questions that will linger until the season opener on October 8th, and throughout the 2015-16 season.

The Winnipeg Jets 8-2 win over the Florida Panthers was amazing on so many levels

It was an incredible night on Tuesday at MTS Centre. Most importantly the Winnipeg Jets won the game by a score of 8-2 in their quest for a playoffs. The Jets now have a record of 22-14-8 for 52 points, putting them 4th in the Central Division.

Mathieu Perreault scored a hat trick – The franchise went 287 games without a hat trick until Bryan Little ended the streak on December 5 vs. Colorado. It took only 16 games after Bryan Little completed the feat for Mathieu Perreault to follow it up for a hat trick of his own. He finished the game with four goals, which we’ll get to later.

Dustin Byfuglien continued to dominate – The Jets were so close to dual hat tricks as Byfuglien had scored two goals in the second period and added in an assist for good measure. Big Buff continued where he left off after the weekend when he steamrolled Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar of the LA Kings along with Francois Beauchemin and Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks. Byfuglien was recently named to the NHL’s All-Star team and has been on fire since moving to defense recording 17 points in his last 18 games.

Paul Maurice recorded his 500th career win – In exactly one year since he took the job as Head Coach of the Winnipeg Jets Paul Maurice earned his 500th career win and has lead the team 40-26-13 since he took the job which would put them in a playoff spot over an 82 game season.

Michael Hutchinson won again – He allowed two goals on 27 shots improving his record to 12-4-2. The Jets rookie has been phenomenal this season as his 2.00 GAA & .931 SV rank 2nd & 3rd in the NHL.

Gail McDonald almost won $1 million – The “Safeway Score and Win” promotion runs during every Winnipeg Jets game, if a Jets player scores five goals, the drawn name will have a shot at winning $1 million. Matthieu Perreault was able to get four before the third period, and had a prime chance to score the fifth goal in the third period but was unable to beat former Jet Al Montoya on a breakaway (video above). She joined the TSN 1290 postgame show with Rick Ralph & Trevor Kidd and seemed to take the loss quite well.

And finally...this guy

Aaron Merke, a comedian has since been identified as the man in the video.

The Jets hit the road for a tough set of back to back games in Dallas and Chicago on Thursday and Friday as they continue to fight for playoff in the Western Conference.

The Winnipeg Jets Most Heartbreaking Losses of the 2014-15 Season

In a game where the Winnipeg Jets were out-shot 37-14 by the San Jose Sharks, and had killed six of seven power plays, Winnipeg’s Hockey Team was poised to “steal” a point against another Western Conference foe fighting for a playoff spot. With eight seconds left, and the game tied 2-2, it appeared that the Jets had at least one point in the bag.

However, it all turned when Joe Pavelski won an offensive zone draw to Logan Couture who passed to a wide open Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Vlasic then beat Jets Rookie Goaltender Michael Hutchinson to give the Sharks a 3-2 lead and the win.

The feeling of Monday night’s loss felt very familiar. It’s the feeling of heartbreak, thinking that the team is oh-so-close to those coveted two points. If the loss vs. the Sharks had to be ranked, it would be 5/5 on the Heartbreak Scale. It’s easy to point out the Jets losses this season that have been in dramatic fashion.

For a game to be “Heartbreaking” I’ll consider a number of factors.

  • Was it against a division rival or a team competing with the Jets for a playoff spot?
  • Was a third period lead squandered?
  • Was a goal scored with minimal time remaining?
  • Were potential points left on the table?

(Required Reading: Bill Simmons’ “Levels of Losing”)

Here’s a look at some of the games that got away from the Winnipeg Jets during the 2014-15 season thus far.

November 15th 2014. Jets 1 Nashville 2: In what was a tight hard fought game, Craig Smith put Nashville on top with just over two minutes remaining when a juicy rebound ended up on his stick at the side of the net.

Heartbreak Rating: 3/5

November 20th, 2014. Detroit 4 Jets 3: The Jets took off to a 2-0 lead against Detroit after goals by Dustin Byfuglien and Adam Lowry. The Red Wings weren’t going to go down easy, fighting back to tie the game in the second period on the heels of goals by Tomas Tatar and Johan Franzen . Jets fans thought they could relax when it was 3-2 into the final ten minutes of the third period, but Mike Babcock’s team fought back and scored two goals just over two minutes apart late in the final frame to win 4-3 and take at least a point out of the Jets hands. The dagger was this goal by Tomas Tartar who scored on a play created by Justin Abdelkader after beating two Jets wide down the left wing.

Heartbreak Rating: 4/5

December 11th, 2014. Jets 3 Colorado 4 (SO): Facing rookie goalie Calvin Pickard, the Jets were looking to take two points from the division rival Avalanche after Mark Scheifele made the score 3-1 4:32 into the third period. Similar to the game vs. Detroit, the Avalanche scored two goals in the final ten minutes of the third period to force overtime. The game was eventually lost in the shootout after Winnipeg was unable to put one past Pickard.

Heartbreak Rating: 2/5

December 7th, 2014. Ducks 4 Jets 3 (OT): In one of the most exciting games at MTS Centre this season, Jacob Trouba tied it for Winnipeg with under 5 minutes remaining in the third period. The Jets got the point for getting to overtime but the game ended quickly after Kyle Palmeri put this shot past Ondrej Pavelec which left fans wondering “how’d that go in?”

Heartbreak Rating: 1/5

December 21, 2014. Flyers 4 Jets 3 (OT): Rob Zepp, playing his first career NHL game started in goal for the Flyers. When the Jets took a 3-1 lead into the third period it looked as if they would make the 33-year-old rookie’s debut a night to forget. Vincent Lecavalier put the team on his back by scoring two third period goals, including one with just over three minutes left in to send the game to overtime. The Flyers weren’t content with Just one point as Jakub Voracek scored ten seconds into OT to snatch victory away from the Jets.

Heartbreak Rating: 4/5

If the Jets miss the playoffs by a few points, fans can look back at these games following the season and think “what could have been?”