Kukla's Korner

Benny and the Jets

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.

So we’ll just pretend that game in Columbus didn’t happen, right? Instead, the city’s buzzing about the Winnipeg Jets’ split-squad home tilt against the other half of the Blue Jackets. As the crowd roared, the Jets (wearing white) skated out on to the ice (to no music) and routed the other half of the Blue Jackets’ split squad (in front of ad-free boards, which gave everything a bit of a throwback feel).

The water cooler chatter today (do people still do that?) will be about Paul Postma potting the franchise’s first (home) goal and adding three helpers, and about first round draft pick Mark Scheifele putting two rebound goals home and adding two helpers. Scheifele earned first star honours and at one point the crowd was even chanting his name (they also went on to start an old-fashioned wave - yeah, we’ve been away for a while). People will praise Dustin Byfuglien for crashing around the ice early in the first period before dropping the gloves, and will note Ondrej Pavelec’s solid play in the first two periods as well as David Aebischer’s near-perfect third period performance. A few other jets had strong showings - Andrew Ladd, Ben Maxwell, and Robin Festerling all come to mind here.

But this was the Mark Scheifele show, and fans got their money’s worth. While Scheifele will probably earn himself a few regular season games in the Jets lineup, I’d be shocked if he wasn’t sent back to the Barrie Colts before Halloween. The kid’s enthusiasm is unmistakable, as he was grinning for most of the third period and well into the post-game scrums. But that wide-eyed wonder only reinforces the fact that he is, in fact, still a kid that could use some regular ice time (and probably a few more pounds on his lanky frame). Still, Jets management and scouting staff must be pretty pleased to have seen Scheifele come up so big last night after his stellar performance in the Young Stars tournament in Penticton.

It was all a welcome distraction on the day news came that Dustin Byfuglien is facing four charges stemming from last month’s boating incident.

The Jets’ performance in the rest of the pre-season barely matters, and last night’s milestones will be virtually forgotten when the Montreal Canadiens come to town for the regular season home opener on October 9. For now, Winnipeggers are basking in the post-victory glow of last night’s monumental game.

For those looking for more Jets chatter and other inane short-form thoughts, don’t forget that I’m on Twitter.

Filed in: Winnipeg Jets, | Benny and the Jets | Permalink
  Tags: andrew+ladd, ben+maxwell, columbus+blue+jackets, david+aebischer, dustin+byfuglien, evander+kane, mark+scheifele, ondrej+pavelec, paul+postma, robin+festerling


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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