Sidney Crosby wasn’t afraid to admit to Paul Friesen that he thinks that the atmosphere at Winnipeg Jets games seems “awesome.” That being said, he wonders if the spirited fans at MTS Centre might want to re-think what they yell after “Jordan’s better” chants seemingly only pushed Eric Staal to generate a late regulation loss for the desperate Jets.
“I think they were saying Jordan’s better. If anything, that probably motivated Eric a little bit. He ended up having a good game. You never know how that works out.”
Crosby has his own experience with making offending fans pay. Philadelphia Flyers fans might always jump into “Crosby sucks” chants, yet the Pittsburgh Penguins center has shredded the Flyers on many occasions – including two playoff series.
Even so, Crosby won’t offer an extensive critique of Jets or Flyers fans.
“They’re both trying to help their team and get on the opposing players,” Crosby said. “I’m not going to sit here and critique somebody’s heckling ability. The main thing is they’re pretty passionate fans.”
Jets fans might want to change their course when they see him, though – so far Crosby has two assists through a single period of wide-open play in Pittsburgh.
The Winnipeg Jets might not be killing it in the standings,* but the return of the NHL is producing promising results, as you can see in this article by Kevin McGran.
Such a point might seem painfully obvious until you realize that there was some doubt that there wouldn’t be that big of a bump for the city since they already benefited from packed buildings via the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. (This is Canada, after all.)
Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz says that there’s been a serious bump in tangible and emotional ways, even if there aren’t many official numbers yet.
“Where we have phenomenal growth is people deciding to live downtown, something we’ve always wanted,” Katz said. “That was happening before, but the Jets continue it. But from my point of view, the greatest benefit that’s hard to measure is the feeling people have being back in the NHL. Everybody is talking about it, everybody is excited.”
Jets coach Claude Noel described relocating from Atlanta to Winnipeg as a “hidden thing” that has taken a toll on some players, but believes that the adjustment period is over.
If you ask a lot of people in Winnipeg, the return of the NHL has made a far-from-hidden impact on the city. Just imagine if the franchise could upgrade the Jets from a bubble contender to a genuine playoff team, then …
* – The negativity regarding their current state seems a little excessive, though, if you ask me. The Jets began January with a four-game road swing, had four of six in Winnipeg and then went on a six-game road trip. Starting in mid-February, the Jets will play eight games in a row at home. If they flub that, then go ahead and beat up on the young team.
Remember when the Islanders were kicking around the idea of playing a preseason game in Brooklyn at the new Barclays Center?
That idea is actually going to happen as the Islanders announced that they will face the New Jersey Devils on October 2 at the new arena in Brooklyn. While the arena itself opens on September 28, the Islanders game will be the first hockey game to be played in what will be the new home of the New Jersey Nets.
The announcement of the Isles playing a game in Brooklyn also works as a way for Islanders owner Charles Wang to see how the place fits as a possible future home for the team. The Islanders’ troubles in getting a new arena in Uniondale and Hempstead on Long Island have made their future in the area an uncertain one and if things play out well, Wang could try to have the team move into the digs in Brooklyn.
The one catch with Barclays Center when it comes to hosting hockey, however, is that the arena seats just 14,500. With that as the maximum capacity, it would make it the smallest arena in the league, even smaller than Winnipeg’s MTS Centre.