Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Jets' exhibition schedule sees big improvement

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THE Jets have constructed a Winnipeg-friendly exhibition schedule for their second NHL season.

Last fall, the team simply inherited the pre-season menu from the Atlanta Thrashers and it involved a split-squad day and some onerous travel hours.

This fall, the Jets play four of their seven exhibition games in the MTS Centre and have only day trips to Edmonton, Saskatoon and Minnesota for contests elsewhere.

"One of the things we had the benefit of was to reach out and (make) our own exhibition schedule this year," Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said Monday. "Zinger (assistant GM Craig Heisinger) did a great job putting this in place and created some good travel options and some good pairings as far as teams to go see.

"It's a good opportunity spread out over the course of training camp to view all of our players."

The Jets begin on Sept. 24 with a trip to Edmonton, then return to the MTS Centre to play the Oilers the next night.

Winnipeg will also play Minnesota and Boston in a pair of games, including one outing against the Bruins in Saskatoon on Sept. 29. Ottawa, Oct. 6 at the MTS Centre, is the Jets' other opponent.

All games in Winnipeg will start at 7 p.m.

Last fall's exhibition schedule created some travel nightmares for Cheveldayoff, Heisinger and others to see all games. In one stretch, the team played Saturday in Nashville, Sunday in Charlotte, N.C. and Monday afternoon in St. John's, N.L.

"It was a high number (of hours) relative to what the rest of the league was doing but this year all our trips are day trips," Cheveldayoff said. "We'll be able to fly in the day of the game and we shouldn't kill too much practice time.

"We'll get a lot accomplished and our entire organization will be able to view the players. We won't be doing any back-to-backs on the same day with coaching staffs split like what happened last year."

Of course, now all there is to do is hope the games will get played.

The NHL's collective bargaining agreement with the NHL Players Association expires on Sept. 15.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Oil as starter fluid

The Winnipeg Jets pre-season schedule:

Sept. 24@ Edmonton OilersRexall Place8:00 p.m.

Sept. 25Edmonton OilersMTS Centre7:00 p.m.

Sept. 29Boston BruinsCredit Union Centre8:00 p.m.

(@ Saskatoon)

Sept. 30Boston BruinsMTS Centre7:00 p.m.

Oct. 2@ Minnesota WildXcel Energy Center7:00 p.m.

Oct. 4Minnesota WildMTS Centre7:00 p.m.

Oct. 6Ottawa SenatorsMTS Centre7:00 p.m.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 19, 2012 C1

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