Kukla's Korner

Benny and the Jets

A ‘W’ in Winnipeg

“I’d be shocked if we saw a performance much better than that in Glendale Saturday night. There are too many things inherently wrong with the Jets on the ice for them to have a ‘bounce back’ kind of game.”

Those words were written by this bonehead right here following the Jets’ cringeworthy performance against the Phoenix Coyotes in Glendale on Saturday. And while I can’t understand exactly how they pulled it off in such a short period of time, the Winnipeg Jets managed to do what I thought was impossible against the Pittsburgh Penguins last night, squeaking out a 2-1 win in front of the maniacal masses in the MTS Centre.

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Coyote Ugly

Hundreds of Winnipeggers made the trek down to Arizona to see the Jets of old take on the new team on Saturday night, but their boisterous enthusiasm couldn’t help the new team on the ice. The Jets stunk up the Jobing.com arena in a 4-1 loss that highlighted everything this team has done wrong since the beginning of the season.

A goal by the Coyotes’ Daymond Langkow less than a minute into the first set the tone for most of the rest of the game. By the time the halfway point of the first came along, the Jets were already down 2-0. Their best hockey of the game was already behind them at that point, with a few shots from the perimeter (what else is new) ringing off Mike Smith’s goal posts.

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  Tags: phoenix+coyotes, pittsburgh+penguins

No matter how you spell it, that stunk.

Winnepag - as they spelled it at Chicago’s United Center - came out strong last night against the Chicago Blackhawks, yet quickly blew a two-goal lead, losing 4-3. The Jets are now the only pointless team in the NHL; granted, the team’s wonky schedule means they’ve played three games less than the league-leading Pittsburgh Penguins, but in watching the team I’m not sure they would have earned a point had they played as many games as the Pens. Like it or not, Winnipeg, this is your team. It could be a long season.

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Jets’ Buffet: Turnovers, Free Pizza

Jets Grounded, Not Ready for Takeoff, Flight Delay - use whatever airplane-related headline you want. It doesn’t take the sting out of the Jets’ loss against the Montreal Canadiens in their raucous home opener this past Sunday.

No, the team formerly known as the Thrashers aren’t expected to challenge for the Stanley Cup this year, but it doesn’t make the 5-1 drubbing the team took any easier to swallow. It didn’t take long for Mike Cammalleri to take the wind out of the Jets’ sails in the first period (before leaving the game after Yannick Weber skate cut his leg), and while things generally calmed down in the second, the final period was nothing short of a rout.

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Go time

The Winnipeg Jets’ season opens this afternoon. Fans decked out in Jets gear, old and new, have been streaming downtown for hours, pre-gaming the pre-game and getting ready for what will undoubtedly be a historic day for this city.

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You Ain’t Seen’ Nothing Yet

No, the Jets aren’t playing, but the anticipation surrounding tonight’s NHL regular season kickoff couldn’t be more intense in Winnipeg. With the NHL deciding to host the 2011 Molson Canadian NHL Face-off festival at The Forks - located in the heart of downtown Winnipeg - the eyes of the hockey-loving world will turn in our direction for the first of two times this weekend.

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  Tags: andrew+ladd, brett+maclean, mark+scheifele, montreal+canadiens, phoenix+coyotes, toronto+maple+leafs

Jets’ Flight Plan Slowly Coming Together

Split squads, simultaneous home-and-away games, massive rosters, A squads versus B squads, etc. - this pre-season seems to have gone on forever. Winnipeg Jets fans don’t seem to mind, although I think it’s fair to say many are now anxious to see something resembling a final lineup on the ice.

It sounds like Dustin Byfuglien won’t take the ice tonight in Winnipeg against the Nashville Predators in the Jets’ final pre-season game, as the coaching staff indicated yesterday that he has a “minor injury.” Ben Maxwell is also apparently day-to-day, so expect tonight’s lineup to include a few more fringe guys battling hard for the few roster spots available.

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  Tags: ben+maxwell, blake+wheeler, carolina+hurricanes, dustin+byfuglien, evander+kane, jeff+skinner, mark+scheifele, nashville+predators, nik+antropov, tsn

Mark - my word.

The Winnipeg Jets lost 5-1 last night against the Columbus Blue Jackets, with Evander Kane getting the franchise’s first goal in front of a meagre crowd of 8,855.

But the people of Winnipeg aren’t interested in talking about that game – in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if many of the 15,004 on hand for last night’s pre-season home opener at the MTS Centre didn’t know there was another Winnipeg Jets game going on.

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  Tags: andrew+ladd, ben+maxwell, columbus+blue+jackets, david+aebischer, dustin+byfuglien, evander+kane, mark+scheifele, ondrej+pavelec, paul+postma, robin+festerling

JUST DROP THE PUCK ALREADY!

It all becomes real tomorrow - for the first time, the Winnipeg Jets will take to the ice. While it’s not the full roster, it ain’t just the rookies and prospects and it ain’t in Penticton. And while there’s incredible excitement about the Jets’ home opener at the MTS Centre tomorrow night against the Columbus Blue Jackets, it will actually be in Columbus’ Nationwide Arena that the team (at least part of it) will first hit the ice, a full 90 minutes earlier than when the puck drops in Winnipeg. Half of the Jets’ roster is in Ohio to take on half of the Blue Jackets in a 6:00 PM game that will surely have far less fanfare than the 7:30 affair in Winnipeg.

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, montreal+canadiens

Bunz of steel/Jets ticket announcement/Bogosian signed

The baby Jets were stymied by Oilers ‘tender Tyler Bunz, who turned away the 22 shots Winnipeg could muster up throughout three periods that didn’t bring nearly the same level of excitement as the 4-0 victory over the Sharks rookies/prospects. The Oilers dominated the Jets in most areas of the ice, although some valiant efforts in the dying minutes of the game were shut down singlehandedly by Bunz.

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  Tags: tyler+bunz, zach+bogosian

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About Benny and the Jets

Fifteen years ago, Ben's beloved Winnipeg Jets left town. He begrudgingly turned to the Montreal Canadiens for comfort and found none, and is now struggling to find a place in his heart for the Winnipeg Jets v2.0.

Ben is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer that writes a lot about wine and beer. Expect his son to be drafted into the NHL in 2025.

Send him an email at bmswpg@gmail.com and/or follow Ben on Twitter: @bensigurdson

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