Ottawa Senators v Winnipeg Jets

Senators send Jets’ playoff hopes to bed


Technically speaking, the Winnipeg Jets aren’t mathematically eliminated from the 2012 playoffs. Still, it’s tough not to feel that they’re essentially toast after the Ottawa Senators outlasted them 6-4 tonight.

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If nothing else, the Jets shouldn’t really feel “ashamed” – both from the perspective of this season and the individual contest. Just about every writer implied that the Jets could be atrocious and Winnipeg fans would be so delirious to have a team that it would all be gravy, so putting up a real fight to just fall short of the postseason isn’t half-bad. If we look back at this loss as the final nail in the coffin, it fits into the theme of overachieving, too.

Plenty of fight

The Senators took a 2-0 lead thanks to a late first period goal by Chris Neil and an early second period tally by wonderfully named Kaspars Daugavins, but the Jets didn’t just roll over. They tied it up about five minutes later and the theme carried on from there. Kyle Turris gave Ottawa a 3-2 lead at the 17:26 mark of the second period but Antti Miettinen scored his second goal of the night 20 seconds later to make it 3-3.

Daniel Alfredsson ended up being the killer, however. he scored about three minutes into the third period and while Evander Kane showed that the Jets still wouldn’t give up by making it 4-4 17:03 into the final frame, Alfredsson then scored the game-winner less than 30 seconds later. Milan Michalek scored an empty-netter to seal the deal, but ultimately the theme seemed to be “too little, too late” for the Jets.

(Heck, that might be an appropriate title for the team DVD, if those were allowed to be negative.)

Again, though, it’s tough to pile on the Jets unless you’re a jilted Atlanta Thrashers fan.

Even if you attribute it to Ottawa’s many leads, it’s impressive that Winnipeg out-shot Ottawa in all three periods and 48-35 overall. Shots aren’t everything, but they’re often a good way to illustrate team effort, which seemed to be there even if the talent wasn’t for the Jets.

Perhaps the most sobering factor is that this loss happened in Winnipeg, where the so-so team morphs into a serious threat.

End of the road

Sports Club Stats downgrades the Jets’ playoff chances from an already-paltry 4.1 percent to just .6 at this point, so tonight may indeed have been an informal curtain call. Still, if you’re a Winnipeg fan, you should probably feel reasonably satiated about the present and absolutely excited about the future.

Even if the short-term future probably won’t involve a trip to the playoffs.

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‘John leaves a lasting mark’: NHL announces Collins’ departure as COO

John Collins
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One of the driving forces behind the NHL’s growth over the last decade is moving on.

John Collins, who’s served as the league’s chief operating officer for the last seven years, will be leaving his post to embark on a new business opportunity.

More, from the League:

Collins, who joined the NHL in November 2006, had been COO since August 2008.

“John leaves a lasting mark,” said Commissioner Bettman. “His energy, creativity and skill at building strategic partnerships helped drive significant revenue growth for our League. We are grateful for his many contributions and wish him the best in his new endeavors.”

Said Collins, “I’m grateful to Commissioner Bettman for his leadership and friendship over the past nine years. He had a vision for extending the reach of the NHL and supported us completely as we set out to make the game as big as it deserves to be.

“The NHL’s future is filled with promise and potential and I will admire and cheer the League’s successes to come on the global stage.”

Collins, 53, was regarded as one of main presences behind a number of the NHL’s most successful initiatives, including the Winter Classic and Stadium Series, the HBO 24/7 collaboration, the relaunched World Cup of Hockey, Canadian and American television deals and partnerships with companies like SAP, Adidas, Major League Baseball Advanced Media and GoPro.

During Collins’ tenure, the NHL was twice named “Sports League of the Year” by the SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily — once in 2011, and again in 2014.

Jackets activate Dubinsky, Wennberg from IR

Andy Andreoff, Brandon Dubinsky
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Columbus will have some reinforcements up front when it takes on the Devils tomorrow in New Jersey.

Brandon Dubinsky, who’s missed the last six games with an elbow injury, and Alexander Wennberg — who’s also missed the last six games, but with a foot ailment — have both been activated from injured reserve, and should be available for selection on Wednesday.

It wasn’t all good news for the Jackets, though. Defenseman Cody Goloubef and right wing Rene Bourque were placed on IR.

The biggest return for Columbus is Dubinsky, who had four goals and 11 points in 16 games prior to getting hurt, while averaging nearly 19 minutes per night.

That said, getting Wennberg back is key as well; the former first-round pick has been plagued by injuries recently but showed well during his rookie campaign in ’14-15, with 20 points in 68 games.

Alumni rosters announced for Bruins-Habs at Gillette Stadium

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The Winter Classic Alumni Game is back this year, scheduled for New Year’s Eve at Gillette Stadium between former members of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.

Today, the NHL announced the rosters and coaching staffs.

Famous ex-Habs that will take to the outdoor ice include Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, and Mats Naslund. Behind the bench will be Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Demers and Guy Lafleur, among others.

The home side will counter with Bruins legends Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, and “Nifty” Rick Middleton, while Don Cherry, Mike Milbury, and Derek Sanderson will be among the coaches. (Quite a trio of personalities right there.)

Here are the full rosters:


NBCSN will broadcast the alumni game nationally in the United States, while Sportsnet and TVA Sports will have it in Canada.

The 2016 Winter Classic will be played the next day (on NBC).

Goalie nods: Andersen’s ‘flu-like symptoms’ mean Khudobin starts versus Flames

Anton Khudobin, Frederik Andersen
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With Frederik Andersen experiencing “flu-like symptoms” (PHT diagnosis: it might be the flu), the Anaheim Ducks will turn to backup Anton Khudobin for tonight’s home game versus Calgary.

Khudobin could, in turn, be backed up by Josh Gibson, recalled today from AHL San Diego. The Ducks have officially listed Andersen as “questionable.”

Khudobin (3-3-0, .917) has not started a game in over a week. His last action came exactly a week ago, after Andersen got the hook versus Nashville.

Andersen may or may not travel with the Ducks for tomorrow’s game at Arizona.

The Ducks, of course, are coming off a 5-0 loss to Tampa Bay, a result that produced the following quote from Ryan Kesler:

After a four-game winning streak to start November, Anaheim has since dropped five of its last seven.

Karri Ramo will be in net for the Flames. After a terrible start to the season, he’s been much better lately, allowing just eight goals combined in his last four starts.


Craig Anderson for the Senators. Antti Niemi for the Stars.