Benny and the Jets
by BMS on 09/30/11 at 11:51 AM ET
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.
It sure was nice to see Winnipeg fans getting loud on the first nationally televised evening game on TSN this past Wednesday. There was some drama as the third period unfolded, as the Jets trailed 1-0 before Evander Kane and Blake Wheeler potted two quick ones (Kane also added an empty-netter). Jets fans lapped up every second of the action, bringing a decidedly playoff-ish atmosphere to the pre-season game at the sold-out MTS Centre. Expect the sellouts and the noise to continue for the foreseeable future.
Aside: TSN might now stand for The Scheifele Network - they proved in Wednesday night’s broadcast that they absolutely love the kid. And while it’s hard not to like what Scheifele has shown on the ice (he’s tied for second in pre-season goals and points), it’s also tough to imagine the grinning, sorta-geeky kid sticking in the Jets lineup the way Calder trophy winner Jeff Skinner did with the Carolina Hurricanes. He picked up one helper in Wednesday night’s tilt and looked good on the ice, though, making it tougher to say what’s going to happen once the regular season gets underway. As Bob Mackenzie mentioned during Wednesday’s broadcast, there may just be a spot at center on the second line depending on where the coaching staff decides to put Nik Antropov.
I won’t be able to catch tonight’s game, as I’m currently in the Okanagan Valley doing some winery touring - a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. I’m going to guess the Jets will be wearing the white jerseys again tonight - it seems like they’re saving the dark blue jerseys for the regular season for some reason.
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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.