July 2, 2015


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Jets buzzing after opening night

It was the day after the magical night before and the buzz from inside the Winnipeg Jets’ dressing room remained the same.

If Tuesday’s preseason split-squad game is any indication -- the Jets’ knocked off the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-1 in front of a sold-out crowd – then MTS Centre will be a madhouse all year.

A packed MTS Centre was treated to a 6-1 Winnipeg Jets victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets in their first pre-season NHL action in Winnipeg on Tuesday, September 20, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

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A packed MTS Centre was treated to a 6-1 Winnipeg Jets victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets in their first pre-season NHL action in Winnipeg on Tuesday, September 20, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

"It was incredible," said defenceman Paul Postma. "There was a lot of excitement in this rink and the guys were all excited to play. The crowd was behind us all the way... it was almost like a seventh guy out there. It was a lot of fun. It’s not just hockey fans, it’s the whole city here behind us and watching and rooting for you.

"The only way I could describe it is compare it to a Stanley Cup playoff game. It’s by far the loudest rink I’ve ever heard of in my life. On the ice and the guys sitting on the bench before the game you couldn't even talk to the guy beside you, it was that loud."

And while Postma’s pro experience has come primarily at the AHL level, even a veteran like Nik Antropov was still raving about the Winnipeg crowd less than a day later.

"It was unbelievable," he said. "I didn’t experience this for quite a bit. Atlanta, obviously, wasn’t like that. The fans were like an extra player for us."

The Jets returned to the ice Wednesday for two practice session, the second involving the crew that had travelled to Columbus and fell 5-1 at Nationwide Arena. They are on the ice Thursday and Friday before heading to Nashville, Carolina and St. John’s for games Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Some roster adjustments could be coming in advance of the weekend, said head coach Claude Noel.

"What we’re trying to sort through now is where are we now numbers-wise, who’s coming on this trip, who’s playing those games knowing that after this weekend and Monday we’ve got to get down to some numbers that are workable for us," said Noel. "After Monday we’ve only got two exhibition games (left), it’s time to buckle down. Who are the lines? Who are we looking to play? Who are the guys on the bubble?

"We’re organizing ourselves here to see where we’re going to go moving ahead. Some of these things just take time to play out. We’re making assessments every day."

Ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPEdTait

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