Ondrej Pavelec

Reality bites: Winnipeg columnist recognizes Jets are just the Thrashers


The Winnipeg Jets have fallen on hard times recently. They’ve lost 9 of their last 13 games and sit five points behind Florida in the Southeast Division and after back-to-back miserable performances against the Canadiens and Panthers, reality is starting to settle in on Winnipeg.

The Jets are just the Atlanta Thrashers in new clothing.

Ed Tait of the Winnipeg Free Press sounds off about the struggles of the team and deals the cold, hard truth to fans in Manitoba that their relocated team didn’t develop the magical power to win games just by moving.

You can pick up a franchise and move it 2,075 kilometres north from Atlanta to Winnipeg, you can change the name and jersey colours and set them up in front of a passionate fan base. But you can’t change this — the Thrashers/Jets have come exactly as advertised. They are a goal-starved lot lacking a finisher — especially with Evander Kane out of the lineup.

Reading this after hearing from coach Claude Noel about how he’s doing as well as he can with what he’s got and things are getting awfully gloomy in the ‘Peg.

Crazy thing is, if the Jets do start finding goals and picking up a few more wins, they can win the Southeast Division. The Panthers and Capitals are inconsistent and the Hurricanes and Lightning are having rough seasons.

If they want to show they are dyed in the wool Atlanta though, they’ll continue to fade down the stretch and remind Jets fans what it’s like to have a mediocre hockey team again.

Here are the 10 oldest players to play a game this season

Jaromir Jagr
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This isn’t breaking news or anything. We just thought you’d like to know that three of the NHL’s 10 oldest players (who’ve played at least one game this season) are members of the Florida Panthers.

Oh, and the Panthers’ starting goalie? He’s the oldest starter in the league. (Scroll down.)

Here’s the list of skaters, topped by 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr:


Yet another veteran Panther, 36-year-old defenseman Brian Campbell, ranks 17th on the list.

Granted, the above list does not include 39-year-old Patrik Elias (who’s hurt) or 39-year-old Eric Boulton (who just re-signed with the Isles). As soon as those two play, Thornton will get pushed out of the top 10.

Now here’s the list of goalies who’ve started at least one game this season, topped by 36-year-old Roberto Luongo:


For the record, Luongo isn’t the oldest goalie under contract. That would be Minnesota’s Niklas Backstrom, who’s 37.

Related: Can Florida’s old guys hang on while the young guys get better?

Hamburglar (groin) returns, Sens demote O’Connor

Andrew Hammond
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Matt O'Connor‘s time in the Canadian capital was brief, but still noteworthy.

O’Connor, the losing netminder in Sunday’s “Battle of the Backups” against Montreal — Habs No. 2 Mike Condon got the win — has been sent down to AHL Binghamton to pave the way for Andrew Hammond‘s return from a groin injury, per the Sun.

The Hamburglar has been out since the preseason, but his return is earlier than expected.

He was originally supposed to miss the first two weeks, yet now sounds as though he’ll play one of Ottawa’s two games on an upcoming road trip through Columbus and Pittsburgh.

It’s going to be interesting to see if Hammond can replicate the success he had last season, when he came out of nowhere to go 20-1-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage, and finish seventh in Vezina voting.