Tag: MTS Centre

Marc Staal, Sidney Crosby

Sidney Crosby thinks Winnipeg fans are “awesome” – despite backfiring chants


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.

Winnipeg Mayor says Jets have “everyone excited”

Boston Bruins v Winnipeg Jets

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.

Testing the place out? Islanders to play preseason game in Brooklyn

The Brooklyn Nets Basketball

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.

Can the young Jets handle the pressure today?

Winnipeg Jets

When the Winnipeg Jets host the Montreal Canadiens at 5 pm ET today, 15 years of dreaming and hoping will be complete. Well, almost complete – most of those dreams probably ended with the Jets earning a sweet victory.

That part is up to a very young Jets roster, which only has one past-his-prime player in 35-year-old backup goalie Chris Mason. (Beyond Mason, the Jets have just one forward over 30 [Nik Antropov, 31] and three defensemen at 30: Randy Jones, Johnny Oduya and Ron Hainsey.)

Considering the situation and the Atlanta Thrashers’ recent lack of playoff appearances, this is it for players such as Evander Kane and Ondrej Pavelec. With that in mind, this ranks as head coach Claude Noel’s first big challenge: making sure that the Jets players stay within themselves and play a simple game.

“The biggest challenge is going to be keeping the emotional level of the players at an even keel,” Noel said. “That’s my biggest challenge. It’ll have to be that way through the initial 20 minutes. I recognize those things, so I’m not going to try to say anything magical that’s going to get them psyched up. They’re already going to be psyched up … I would be better to say things that will keep them calm.”

On the bright side, the Jets feature two players who aren’t very far removed from the pressure of competing in the Stanley Cup finals. Captain Andrew Ladd and catalyst Dustin Byfuglien contributed to the Chicago Blackhawks’ 2010 championship run, so they’ll know what to expect – generally speaking.

That being said, when you take a crowd that created such a raucous showing for a preseason game into account, even Ladd and Byfuglien might not be totally prepared for the decibel levels that today’s Winnipeg crowd will produce.

(Note: the game will be on NHL Network, by the way.)

Winnipeg fans provide ‘playoff atmosphere’ for Jets’ victorious preseason return

Winnipeg Jets vs Columbus Blue Jackets

The Winnipeg Jets might enjoy a “honeymoon period” with fans for at least the 2011-12 season, but the once-forsaken market wouldn’t mind witnessing some glorious wins, either. Under normal circumstances, preseason games are quickly forgotten unless something terrible happens (such as a season-ending injury), but it’s likely that many Winnipeg fans won’t forget Sept. 20 anytime soon.

While the Jets’ other squad lost a 5-1 game in Columbus, the Jets’ second split squad rewarded fans for creating a “playoff atmosphere” at Winnipeg’s MTS Centre by beating the second group of Blue Jackets 6-1. The MTS Center was packed with more than 15,000 fans for a game that won’t count in the standings but certainly meant something to fans who’ve been waiting 15 years to watch another Jets game.

The Globe & Mail’s Roy MacGregor captured the passionate scene, underscoring how pointless it would be to tell Winnipeg fans that the game means nothing on paper.

But the Winnipeg Jets are no longer on paper, no longer an idea, a hope, a prayer. As of 6:59 p.m. Central Time, when the reborn team skated out to a thunderous reception for merely the warm-up, they were once again the real, living Winnipeg Jets – even if none of the names on the new blue-and-white jerseys were Hawerchuk or Selanne, the two most popular names on the backs of the 15,004 fans who packed the rink for this meaningless yet highly symbolic game.

Instead of Dale Hawerchuk and Teemu Selanne, the local heroes of yesteryear, there were Andrew Ladd, the new captain, Dustin Byfuglien, the new face of the franchise, and 18-year-old Mark Scheifele, the future.

“In 2011,” the MTS Centre scoreboard read, “The NHL Returned to the Greatest Fans in the World.”

And certainly it seemed so. They screamed through the warm-up and sang O Canada as if the players on the ice had just won Olympic gold.

source: APGame summary

Defenseman Paul Postma scored the first goal on the power play, with assists from Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd. Postma finished with a goal and three assist for four points, tying him with 2011 first round pick Mark Scheifele as the game’s top point-getters. Scheifele recorded two tallies – including the winner late in the first period – and added two helpers. Byfuglien couldn’t help but praise Scheifele after a performance that could help the prospect make an immediate jump to the NHL.

Speaking of Byfuglien, the oversized defenseman made a Byfuglien-sized impact in a game, shaking off bad news from earlier today. Byfuglien fought Cody Bass just 37 seconds into the game and eventually finished the night with two assists and nine penalty minutes. Mark Stuart also fought Dane Byers at that moment, which set the tone for a rough-and-tumble contest in which each team received 60 PIM.

Blue Jackets’ 2010 first round pick Ryan Johansen scored his team’s only goal, which made it 2-1 at the time. Ondrej Pavelec stopped 17 out of 18 shots through the first two periods, while David Aebischer made his own return to the NHL consciousness by making all nine saves in the final frame. Curtis Sanford absorbed all six goals for the Blue Jackets.


Yes, tonight’s game won’t bring the Jets any closer to a playoff berth, but it’s trivial to mock fans for celebrating this win so robustly. They’ve waited long enough.