October 6, 2015


12° C, A few clouds

Full Forecast

Record: 0 – 0 – 0

Winnipeg Jets Logo

Winnipeg Jets

By Gary Lawless

Wild night in Winnipeg: But, that's the norm in this here hockey-mad town

Norm Green and Richard Burke may have found the proceedings a little too steeped in hockey, but forget them.

Green moved the Minnesota North Stars to Dallas and Burke took the Winnipeg Jets to Phoenix, but their grubby fingerprints were missing from the scene of the action Tuesday night as two NHL reclamation projects played shinny in a place where the game is still played on frozen ponds.

Winnipeg's Kyle Wellwood, Dustin Byfuglien, Chris Thorburn and Andrew Ladd (from left) dispute a disallowed second-period goal.


Winnipeg's Kyle Wellwood, Dustin Byfuglien, Chris Thorburn and Andrew Ladd (from left) dispute a disallowed second-period goal. Photo Store

If Minnesota is the State of Hockey then Manitoba is the Province of Puck and these two teams, both finally back where they belong, made this one count in all the right ways.


Full house, maximum excitement and a barn burner to boot. Hockey is back in the heartland and thriving, so excuse us if we take a few minutes to preen.

Here's our list of hockey happiness from a run-of-the-mill midweek game in the 'Peg:

1. The crowd. As great as the return of the NHL and big league players has been, it's the fans that seem to steal the show on a nightly basis. Loud, fresh and fun. The word is out in the NHL that Winnipeg's MTS Centre audience is as loud and involved as any in the league.

2. Evander Kane. A skater, a shooter and a burgeoning star. Kane has a nose for the puck and goes wherever he needs to in order to get it. The crowd loves him and we get the feeling it's mutual. Catching Kane in action is becoming a big part of the experience in Winnipeg.

3. Coach Claude. Jets coach Claude Noel is fairly impassive behind the bench but there's big mind spinning furiously under that salt and pepper mop. Noel is introspective, strong willed, funny and clever. He's got the Jets running and the media on the run. In Claude speak, "he's a beauty."

4. The Wild. Underachievers a year ago, rookie head coach Mike Yeo has them atop the NHL and playing stylish but systematic hockey. We're not sure they can keep it up -- they hardly ever win by more than one goal and sooner or later that usually catches up with a team -- but it's a great story while it lasts.

5. Ondrej Pavelec. Pav-electricity is what gets pumped through the building after one of his big saves and he had a dandy on Pierre-Marc Bouchard, outwaiting the sniper and then stacking the pads to shoo away the shot.

6. Dany Heatley. Still has one of the best one-timers hockey has ever seen. Heatley is a slower but more careful player after 700 games in the NHL and still very dangerous.

7. Tanner Glass. Somebody did something to his cornflakes and he was one angry cuss of a player this night. Hard to play against but real fun to watch.

8. Niklas Backstrom. As good as Pavelec was, Backstrom was full measure. Efficient most of the time and flashy when required -- this is a consistent goalie that gives his team what it needs to win every night.

9. Dustin Byfuglien. Gawd, can he be frustrating, but there's no question he's got big-time talent and offensive instincts. He pinched down on the winner and after taking a pass from Blake Wheeler found Bryan Little, locked and loaded, and bang -- it was in and the house was on fire.

10. The final score: 2-1 Jets for the club's fifth home win in a row.

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @garylawless

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 14, 2011 C3

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.

Scroll down to load more