Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun,
The morning after a 3-2 loss to Boston, their third loss in a row and fourth straight at home, winger Blake Wheeler acknowledged things are getting depressing around here.
“What’s happened with our team, we’re just so bogged down by all the negativity,” is how Wheeler began, Monday. “There’s so much negativity. We feel it... and it’s deserving. When you lose games that’s kind of the way it goes.
“But the biggest problem is not that we’re not trying... we’re just suffocating ourselves with all the expectations.”
Wheeler made it clear he wasn’t complaining about all the complaints. Or about having to answer daily questions in a voracious Canadian market.
“We’re supposed to be held accountable. That’s the way the media works and the way coaches work,” he said. “You guys may write it in the paper, but we’re already thinking it.”
from Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press,
Eight days without any points and the Winnipeg Jets find themselves descending the stairs into the NHL’s basement. They’re not quite all the way down but they can see the cellar floor.
In a condensed 48-game season going to sleep for a week can draw the curtains on a team’s playoff sunlight and that has been the case for the Jets.
Three-straight home losses this week and Winnipeg has been stuck at 11 points since Feb. 9th, while much of the league has either moved past them or built on their lead.
The Washington Capitals also have 11 points but sit behind the Jets in the Eastern Conference because they’ve played more games. Only the Columbus Blue Jackets with 10 points have less than the Jets in the NHL.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
"He very much deserves the same level of acknowledgement as Teemu," Jets owner Mark Chipman told Sportsnet.ca in an interview.
That is a strong statement and Chipman knows it.
While Selanne could basically walk across the Red River in the eyes of locals after scoring 76 goals as a rookie with the Jets, Carlyle carved out his reputation with much less flash and dash. He simply gave everything he had for nearly two decades to both the city and whatever hockey team happened to call it home at the time.
It started during parts of 10 seasons as a defenceman with the original Jets and included a stint as an assistant coach before that team packed up for Phoenix in 1996.
Rather than move on himself, Carlyle stayed behind with Heisinger and helped transform the Manitoba Moose into a model minor-league operation. There were seven winning seasons split between two separate stints with Carlyle at the helm as coach and general manager.
"You have to remember it wasn't fashionable to be part of our organization at that time," said Chipman. "He gave us credibility. I owe him a great deal."
from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,
In the afternoon they had arrived at the MTS Centre two hours early to line up in -26 windchill and swirling snow gusts. They came in painted faces and replica jerseys and carried Thundersticks and sang and danced and cheered with sheer delight that the hometown heroes were finally back on the ice and winter could be put back in its proper place.
In the evening, they called in to the radio talk show. Someone wanted an “APB” put out on forward Kyle Wellwood. Another wanted one put out on centre Bryan Little. Both had been invisible, though they were hardly alone among the Jets in turning in weak performances.
The odd fan called for calm, saying it was but one game out of 48, saying the team – the Atlanta Thrashers until fall 2011, when they relocated to Winnipeg – is in a rebuilding phase that will likely take five years. They have good draft picks coming up – six in the first three rounds this June – and it is going to take time.
But other callers were having none of it. They didn’t like the forwards, they didn’t like the defence, they didn’t like the goalie. One caller said he’d wasted $200 on tickets to the home opener.
from Tim Campbell of the Winnipeg Free Press,
Can Ondrej Pavelec be more of a difference, many ask?
Will the team's road record improve?
Will Evander Kane shuffle aside all the distractions and remain on the upward production curve?
Is Olli Jokinen just the centrepiece the team was lacking?
Can 19-year-old Mark Scheifele make the jump?
All good questions, but none of them will be relevant without the central improvement the Jets must have.
Their goals-against total in 2011-12, all 246 of them, was in the NHL's bottom five.
If many or all of the above questions were answered in the positive and the 2013 goals-against number stays the same, there is no realistic path for the Jets to the playoffs.
from Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun,
In a deft display of media relations, the Jets had both Byfuglien and Pavelec attempt to diffuse potential time bombs on the same day, and there wasn't a blow-up to be seen.
Byfuglien didn't have to say a word about his off-season conditioning — he looked ready to go, putting a serious crimp in his reputation as the weigh scale's worst enemy.
The Jets were keen to see how Pavelec carried his weight, as well.
And while a few beads of sweat were visible under the brim of his Boston Red Sox cap, the 24-year-old was convincing in his first Winnipeg public appearance since The Crash Heard 'Round the World.
Pavelec sounded genuinely remorseful over his drunk driving conviction in his native Czech Republic last summer.
"It was stupid, that's for sure," were the first words out of his mouth.
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,
The Winnipeg defenceman is a constant part of these negotiations. He hasn't always had a large public presence, but he's heavily involved.
There are no heroes in the Implosion of 2012, but both sides have made sure that one or two of their opponents are known villains. Even the Mashco-Piro are aware that Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs sent one Governor to the corner and made employees pay a hefty tax bill on their 2011 Stanley Cup rings.
Meanwhile, the Andromeda Galaxy can see how much the league loathes Donald Fehr -- the man "with no skin in the game who is about to ruin the season."
Full disclosure: I don't know Hainsey at all away from the rink, but I've enjoyed my limited dealings with him around practices and games. He's one of those players who likes to know what's going on around the league, so he's insightful to talk to.
But, something has gone very wrong between Hainsey and and the league's negotiating teams. It is believed one of the reasons Mark Chipman was added to the mix -- in addition to his moderate nature -- is that it was hoped the defenceman would be more "in line" with his owner present.
I stress I've never heard it on- or off-the-record from any owner, general manager or negotiator -- but there is a rumbling going around that Hainsey will never again get an NHL contract. (He is an unrestricted free agent next summer.)
You play your game, we can play one too...
from Ryan Rishaug of TSN,
"Just trying to play out the process a little bit in my head of what happened, where we might have gotten off track," said Winnipeg Jets defenceman Ron Hainsey.
Those thoughts led him directly to Wednesday night, when the two sides were deep in the most delicate of negotiations. The NHL laid out its main issues and deal breakers and the NHLPA did the same. But as the players were outlining details of a proposal, Hainsey began to sense frustration from the owners and became concerned that they were having trouble clearly communicating the details of their offer.
"There was clearly a communication issue with what was being transpired across the table," added Hainsey. "They hadn't understood it properly I guess, or it just hadn't been communicated right and there was an issue there and so that was when I thought it was troublesome. We needed to think about getting the lead guys back in there; both sides not just our side because being clear and getting this done we felt was there to do."
Hainsey and the players indicated that the small group dynamic was over, that Don Fehr was coming back in. He says the owners told them that could be a deal breaker. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly clarified the league's position via e-mail to TSN, saying "totally within their rights to do, but response of our owners was "if that's the case, don't expect us to stay involved."
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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