Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Every game's a circus in the early going

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Another circus.

The Winnipeg Jets have gone from their home opener last Sunday to Thursday's match-up in Chicago, complete with all its cross-connections between the organizations, to today's contest against the Phoenix Coyotes, who were strong candidates at one time to be original Jets returning to Winnipeg.

Today, there's a strong expectation that many new Winnipeg Jets fans will be in the Phoenix area to cheer against the old Jets/Coyotes.

When the Jets return home after tonight's game, the Pittsburgh Penguins are next up on Monday.

Is there a normal game in sight for Winnipeg?

"It's just part of the fabric of the NHL. It's always going to be that way," Jets coach Claude Noel said. Friday. "There will always be whatever there is. You're talking like they're potential distractions. I don't see it that way.

"The distraction may have happened in the first game because we're not used to it but this is the way it goes. That's why eventually you've got to play for the right reasons, for your own intrinsic motivation.

"The distractions, you've got to put them aside. They're always there and the more you go, the more you get. If you get to the final, how many do you want to create. It's why teams stay in hotels."

-- -- --

Through two games, the Jets have been outscored 9-4.

Given Noel's hope that stable defence and goaltending -- the top six blue-liners and both goalies are back from last season -- would be the team's trademark, he was asked to comment on the back-end results so far.

"I would leave that up to you guys to decide but I know your comments are going to be mirrors of what I say, so I'll help you there," Noel said. "I would say it's a little bit less than I would have hoped. That's putting it as politically right as we can."

-- Campbell

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 15, 2011 C4

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