Hey there, time traveller! This article was published 11/3/2014 (1288 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It's the middle of a week of reminders to not lose sight of your roots.
In Winnipeg pro hockey, the parts about Bobby Hull and Anders Hedberg and Dale Hawerchuk and Teemu Selanne are easy.
Less glamorous but no less important are Ryan Kesler, Kevin Bieksa and Cory Schneider and 18 other former Manitoba Moose skaters who are still active today in the NHL.
Tonight's visit by the Vancouver Canucks could put as many as eight former Moose players on the ice at the MTS Centre against the Winnipeg Jets. The Canucks were the Moose's NHL parent for 10 seasons.
This stretch began last Saturday with another appearance by Ottawa Senators centre Zack Smith, whose brief playoff experience with the Moose in 2008 was certainly a springboard to his NHL draft and career.
It continues tonight and also on Friday, when two former Moose head coaches, Alain Vigneault and Rangers assistant Scott Arniel will be behind the bench of the visiting New York Rangers.
Old-home weeks or visits are not exactly new — the Canucks, in fact, were here less than six weeks ago — but they are certainly cause to note the pride still worn by those connected with the 15 Moose years, 1996-2011.
"It's got nothing to do with me and everything to do with the guys who took advantage of the opportunity," said Craig Heisinger, the Jets current assistant who was GM of the Moose in their final nine seasons. "It speaks so well of them because the (number of) guys who didn't is a larger number."
Heisinger is adamant that so many members of the True North organization now in charge of Winnipeg's NHL franchise cut their teeth and learned their craft by slugging it out in the trenches as many as 15 years with the Moose in the IHL and AHL.
"When you worked for the Moose, you just don't take off the hat," he said. "I think some people behind the scenes are critical of me for that and maybe rightly so, but we were pretty proud of the Moose for a long time and you just don't let it go. Some people would tell you to turn the page, that some of that stuff's not relevant anymore, but I don't see it like that.
"It's as simple as this — there's no Jets 2.0 without the Moose."
This week, with Arniel's Friday visit with the Rangers upcoming, we have the entire span of the Moose era covered at the MTS Centre.
Arniel, the former Jets 1.0 skater, played in the very first Manitoba Moose game, Oct. 4, 1996 in Milwaukee. He played three seasons for the Moose, then coached for six more, including four as head coach (2006-2010).
Goalie Eddie Lack, forward Jordan Schroeder and defenceman Christopher Tanev, all likely in tonight for the Canucks, played in the very last Moose game, Game 7 of a second-round playoff series in Hamilton on May 9, 2011.
"It was probably one of the best games I ever played," Lack said recently about the triple-overtime 2-1 score decided by an odd carom off the backboards, one that eliminated the underdog Moose. "I remember being really close to winning that game 1-0 and they scored on a deflection off our own skate. It was really disappointing the way it ended but I'm looking back to that game with good memories, still.
"I think Hamilton had a really good team that year and we really pushed them to the end. I don't think we could have done much more there."
Lack, the 26-year-old Swede, played a total of 65 games in his one and only season for the Moose — his first in North America. He was very good most of the year and stellar in the playoffs.
"What I remember was the atmosphere," he said, asked about playing in Winnipeg. "I remember my first home game here was a great atmosphere and playing on the smaller surface was a little bit of an adjustment for me.
"But everyone treated me real good, with respect, around here. I was very fortunate to be here my first year."
The long relationship between the Moose and Canucks has lasting effects for Heisinger and so a Vancouver visit is still not a night like most others, he said.
"Certainly I have a kind of attachment to Vancouver and I care how they're doing; it's a score I check all the time, and the same for the Rangers (Vigneault, Arniel) and Leafs (former Moose head coach Randy Carlyle)," Heisinger said. "I have friends in Vancouver. Mike Gillis is a friend. Laurence Gllman, Lorne Henning, they're friends. Their trainers are friends and I care how they're doing."
TIES TO THE PAST
VANCOUVER CANUCKS / MANITOBA MOOSE
Ryan Kesler, C
Moose games: 125 (2003-05)
NHL games: 701
How it started: Split his rookie pro season between the Canucks and Moose and was a Moose anchor during the 2004-05 lockout year, including 30 regular-season goals.
Kevin Bieksa, D
Moose games: 135 (2004-2007)
NHL games: 588
How it started: Out of Bowling Green at the end of the 2003-04 season, the Canucks decided to have a look-see on their 2001 fifth-round pick. There was great uncertainty about Bieksa, until he put on a Moose jersey.
Alexandre Burrows, RW
Moose games: 134 (2003-2006)
NHL games: 671
How it started: Failed to make the Moose in 2003 and played in the ECHL but wasn't denied in the lockout season. Drive and determination turned that into an NHL free-agent contract in late 2005.
Alex Edler, D
Moose games: 59 (2006-2008)
NHL games: 538
How it started: Joined the Moose as a 20-year-old in Scott Arniel's first head coaching year. The 2004 third-round pick had a feared shot and a cool head, was a regular in Winnipeg only one season.
Jannik Hansen, RW
Moose games: 141 (2006-2010)
NHL games: 433
How it started: A 2004 ninth-round pick from Denmark didn't garner a lot of headlines in 2006 but Hansen's speed and strength on his feet suggested "NHL sleeper pick" early on.
Jordan Schroeder, C
Moose games: 92 (2009-2011)
NHL games: 46
How it started: The first-round pick of 2009 left the University of Minnesota after two seasons and his skill was evident. Scored in his first AHL game late in the 2009-10 campaign.
Eddie Lack, G
Moose games: 65 (2010-2011)
NHL games: 29
How it started: A free-agent pickup by the Canucks, was highly touted prospect Jakob Markstrom's understudy teammate in Sweden. Lack's big assets for the last Moose season were a remarkably positive outlook on life and a short memory in games.
Christopher Tanev, D
Moose games: 53 (2010-2011)
NHL games: 162
How it started: In 2009-10, was playing for little-known Rochester Institute of Technology and was then one year out of Ontario Tier-2 junior. A smooth-skating, long-reaching free agent was playing NHL games in 2010-2011 because he saw the game well and had virtually no panic button.
Zack Smith, Ottawa Senators;
Kevin Connauton, Dallas Stars;
Aaron Rome, Dallas Stars;
Cory Schneider, New Jersey Devils;
Bryan Allen, Anaheim Ducks;
Mark Fistric, Anaheim Ducks;
Cody Hodgson, Buffalo Sabres;
Michael Grabner, New York Islanders;
James Neal, Pittsburgh Penguins;
Mike Brown, San Jose Sharks;
Sami Salo, Tampa Bay Lightning;
Aaron Volpatti, Washington Capitals;
Mason Raymond, Toronto Maple Leafs.
COACHING HONOUR ROLL
Randy Carlyle: Longtime Jets 1.0 defenceman stayed on to be an assistant with the first Moose team in 1996 and was promoted to head coach Feb. 2, 1997. Returned in 2004-05 as head coach.
Alain Vigneault: His only AHL coaching gig lasted just one year, succeeding Carlyle, before the Canucks promoted him to the head job in Vancouver.
Scott Arniel: Interviewed well when Vigneault was hired, Arniel, who had spent two seasons as a Moose assistant under Carlyle, succeeded Vigneault and stayed until Columbus hired him in 2010.
Claude Noel: Journeyman coach came from interim job in Columbus to take over the Moose for their final season, 2010-2011; lasted as first Jets coach until Jan. 12 this year.