NHL in Winnipeg

Drive To 13 update: Winnipeg more than halfway to goal with general sale starting tomorrow

We had an update on how ticket sales were going in Winnipeg earlier today showing that over 4,000 season tickets were sold after just two days of being available as part of a presale before being opened up to the general public on Saturday. While that number was more than impressive, the “Drive To 13” update this evening was even more encouraging to the fans in Winnipeg looking to impress the NHL and guarantee the Board of Governors approval to sell the Atlanta Thrashers to True North and move the team to Canada.

Late this afternoon, the Drive To 13 official twitter account updated the sales figures and they’re huge with 7,158 season ticket deposits put down for the next three, four, or five years of Winnipeg NHL hockey. That leaves 5,842 more deposits left to go with the online free-for-all for all potential buyers tomorrow starting at noon. With the rest of Manitoba and north-central United States ready to chime in and get a piece of the action in Winnipeg, you have to think that perhaps they’ll meet their goal before the weekend is even out.

Look at it this way, True North gave fans up to three weeks to take care of business for themselves and they could get it done in four days. That’s impressive no matter how you look at it because that’s a lot of money getting plunked down and a lot of years being devoted to an NHL team. Of course, once those 13,000 tickets are bought up we’ll get to find out what True North plans on naming the team.

With all the Jets nostalgia running wild through not just the City of Winnipeg but across North America, it would become a severe let down and a damn shame to see the team named something else that smacks of marketing nonsense. We’ll save our indignation in case that happens, but we guarantee that there will be some in written form here should things go that way. Nonetheless, Winnipeg is doing their job of showing what it all means to them regardless of the team’s name and that’s something to be proud of.

Lightning lament life as a .500 team

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The Tampa Bay Lightning have plenty of time to rise above mediocrity, yet it still must be deserving to finish at .500 for two straight months.

After last night’s 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders, that’s exactly where they find themselves:

Record at the end of October: 5-5-2

Record at the end of November: 11-11-3

As of this writing, the Lightning found themselves on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. It all stands as a pretty tough thing for the reigning Eastern Conference champs to swallow.

The uncomfortable-yet-vital question is: can the Lightning break out of this funk?

Looking at their schedule, it won’t be easy, at least not right away.

They crawl through California during a three-game road trip to start December, and they also face six of eight on the road from Dec. 2 – 18.

The Lightning soak up home dates to finish 2015 after that, but what damage will be done by then?

Frankly, the Bolts will need to dig deep to break this pattern. If nothing else, they’ve fought with their backs against the wall before.

Dubinsky won’t change, and he won’t go easy on Crosby


Sometimes a suspension will shame a player, or at least inspire him to change the way he plays.

That apparently won’t happen regarding Brandon Dubinsky‘s one-game timeout session for cross-checking Sidney Crosby.

Dubinsky told Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch that he won’t alter his style, whether it’s against Crosby or someone else.

“Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”

In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.

One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.

Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?

Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).

Bad news for Boedker: Coyotes won’t face Sens again in 2015-16


Sorry Mikkel Boedker, you won’t get to face the Ottawa Senators again this season.

OK, it could happen if the speedster is traded from the Arizona Coyotes. He could also face the Senators in the unlikely instance that the two teams fight it out in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

Beyond those two possibilities, Saturday night was it, and Boedker must have been licking his chops much like an actual coyote.

For the second straight game, Boedker managed a hat trick against the Senators, helping Arizona beat Ottawa 4-3 last night. His third tally stood as the game-winner in a 4-3 victory.

You can watch all three goals in the video above.

It’s oddly fitting that Boedker has three goals this season … against teams not named the Ottawa Senators.

Hey, Tortorella called the Penguins whiners again

John Tortorella

Don’t forget, the Blue Jackets – Penguins rivalry isn’t just about the bitterness between Sidney Crosby and Brandon Dubinsky; John Tortorella can fuel the fire, too.

Torts must not have been happy about the one-game suspension that Dubinsky received for cross-checking Crosby, as he channeled his vintage self in essentially calling the Penguins a bunch of whiners.

You can see from this glorious Sportsnet video, Tortorella said: “Pittsburgh whines enough for the whole league.”

(He also said the Blue Jackets weren’t going to whine by … whining. Good stuff.)

As Puck Daddy notes, this isn’t the first time Torts claimed that the Penguins are whiners.

Both the Blue Jackets and Penguins lost their games on Saturday, but clearly some eyes and ears were still focused on their last confrontation.

In case you’re wondering, the two teams next face off in Pittsburgh on Dec. 21.