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Nashville players, HNIC changes, Jets on TV and 1 more seat

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NASHVILLE -- Captain Andrew Ladd, hot rookie Mark Scheifele and No. 1 goalie Ondrej Pavelec headline the Jets group travelling to Nashville and St. John’s, N.L. for weekend NHL pre-season games.

The inclusion of Scheifele with this roster for two games this weekend is a wise call by Jets coaches and management. They need to see swiftly how he will deal with the ramp-up of game pace and intensity that occurs throughout exhibition games.

Scheifele’s exhilarating debut at the MTS Centre last Tuesday certainly earned him some rope in the days to come, but he’ll have to show more still if he has any hope of sticking around for the season.

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Some curious announcements by CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada this week about personalities added for the season upon us.

To cover for several instrumental contributors who have fled the ship, HNIC has added Andi Petrillo as a co-host of the show Game Day. Any help the CBC can give P.J. Stock will be viewed favourably by viewers.

CBC has added David Amber as a rinkside reporter in the Eastern Conference. We may learn why at some future date.

And the most interesting addition of all is analyst Daryl Reaugh, the former NHL goalie who’s a regular on Dallas Stars and Versus broadcasts.

Reaugh is said to be joining broadcast crews covering the Jets, Flames and Oilers. It will be most interesting to see his style outside of his beloved Stars market. Reaugh can be a bit of a showboat and homer (which may not apply for HNIC), but he’s not boring like some of CBC’s booth participants.

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On the topic of TV, one of the worst decisions made by True North in bringing the NHL back to Winnipeg will surely be its treatment of the fans in its new broadcast deal of 10 years with TSN.

True North has effectively washed its hands of the matter -- and if pressed, can explain away what has transpired -- but leaving TSN to charge Jets fans (via service providers Shaw and MTS TV) for regionally broadcast games is nothing short of shabby.

That TSN and True North announced their deal some weeks ago without a confirmation the vast majority of games would be carried on Shaw or MTS TV was a risk to start with, but the local cable and TV providers’ recent announcements that it’s going to cost $9.95 per month for TSN Jets makes Winnipeg hockey fans the only ones in the country paying direct fees for regional games.

For instance, if you live in Edmoton or Toronto or Vancouver and you subscribe to those teams’ regional providers (Sportsnet in this case), you get the games. Nothing more to do or pay.

Forget the free previews in Winnipeg; they’ll be long forgotten soon. Forget that the TSN Jets channel is free on Bell satellite service. It’s not a real player in the market.

The subscription fees are nothing short of a money grab by Shaw and MTS TV, who can easily blame it on TSN. TSN will turn around and blame it on the providers who collect your money, so the fault will not likely stick anywhere.

They’ve all behaved greedily in the matter. Period.

And that True North, owners of the content in the first place, didn’t do more for its fans in this matter goes down as a failure.

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FYI, the new official capacity of the MTS Centre has changed.

By one seat.

From here forward, the arena will max out at 15,004.

Its capacity began in 2004 at 15,015 but was reduced to 15,003 a few years ago to provide a few more camera locations.

With more changes, swaps and adjustments, the place gained one seat.

And that’s the new number.

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Finally, a major shout-out to new NHL VP of player safety for Brendan Shanahan for his debut on discipline this week.

He got both right, especially a 10-game ban on Philly’s Jody Shelley for his pathetic piece of violence against Darryl Boyce of the Leafs the other night.

Anyone who argues players DO have respect for each other these days ought to watch the clip of the hit a few times.

And then keep quiet.

Mr. Shanahan’s goal now ought to be keeping up the stern messages, and we pray the days of 95 per cent of suspensions being one game are over.

 

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

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