Saturday, 5 July 2008

History On Saturday

It's Saturday, and I was lazy today as it was hot and humid today. However, it didn't stop me from chatting with my dad about hockey as he was a little blown away by some of these contracts that have been signed and sealed by teams and players. We began to joke about how a team in Winnipeg would never work today because of the "salary cap" that was put in place. Winnipeg was paying its players $27 million when the team left, and they had already sold off both Teemu Selanne and Phil Housley because they couldn't afford to keep them. The minimum now is, of course, $40.7 million - nearly $14 million more than what the Jets were paying the players over a decade ago. Long story short, we discussed what we missed the most in not having the Jets, and both of us agreed that we missed the playoff atmosphere, and how the city of Winnipeg went crazy when the Jets qualified for the post-season.

I found an audio clip of exactly what the old barn on Arena Road, known as The Winnipeg Arena, used to sound like. Now, this is just a mash-up of audio clips and the Jets warm-up music - AC/DC's Thunderstruck - but it still resonates with me. There is also some good sound clips of the late Don Wittman in this mash-up, so listen to it if this piques your interest.

Team History:

  • In their inaugural NHL game, the Jets iced a lineup of Gary Smith in net, Lars-Erik Sjoberg and Craig Norwich on the blueline, and Morris Lukowich, Peter Sullivan, and Willy Lindstrom up front.
  • The Jets played their first NHL game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on October 10, 1979 in Pittsburgh.
  • The Jets won their first game over the Colorado Rockies on October 14, 1979 at home by a 4-2 score.
  • They won their first road game in the NHL against the Quebec Nordiques on Halloween of 1979.
  • During the Jets' illustrious time in the NHL, the Jets beat up on the Los Angeles Kings most often. The Jets had more victories over the Los Angeles Kings than any other franchise, including their last regular season game which saw the Jets win 5-3 on April 12, 1996.
  • Ironically, the Jets had their worst winning percentage against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, posting a pathetic 2-10 record. The Jets recorded the most losses against the Edmonton Oilers in franchise history.
  • The Jets had more playoff wins against the Calgary Flames than any other team, and had more playoff losses to the Edmonton Oilers than any other team.
  • Jimmy Mann was the first player ever selected by the Winnipeg Jets in an NHL Entry Draft. Mann went 19th overall in the 1979 draft.
  • Peter Marsh was the first player selected in the 1979 Expansion Draft. Marsh's rights were held by the Montreal Canadiens.
  • In 1338 NHL games, the Jets sported a record of 506-660-172, while scoring 4862 goals-for and having 5347 goals-against.
  • The Jets best season came in 1984-85 when they posted a record of 43-27-10 for 96 points, the only time the Jets broke the 90-point barrier in the NHL.
Player History:
  • The first goal in Jets' history in the NHL came off the stick of Morris Lukowich. He scored at the 13:34 mark of the third period in a 4-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh. The goal was assisted by Peter Marsh and Barry Melrose.
  • The first hat trick in franchise history came courtesy of Willy Lindstrom on December 15, 1979. Lindstrom turned the trick in a 6-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in Winnipeg.
  • Willy Lindstrom also scored the first playoff goal for the NHL Jets. Lindstrom put his name in the recod books with his goal at 1:20 of the first period on April 7, 1982 in a playoff game against St. Louis Blues.
  • Norm Maciver scored the last goal for the Winnipeg Jets during a playoff game against the Detroit Red Wings on April 28, 1996.
  • The first Jet to score on a penalty shot was Brent Ashton. Ashton scored on Kirk McLean of the Vancouver Canucks on December 11, 1988.
  • Markus Mattsson earned the first shutout in Jets history in a 0-0 tie with the New York Islanders on February 12, 1980.
  • Doug Soetaert was the goaltender in the first NHL playoff game that the Jets won.
  • Lars-Erik Sjoberg was the first captain of the NHL Jets, while Keith Tkachuk was the last captain.
  • Two Jets were Calder Trophy winners: Dale Hawerchuk and Teemu Selanne.
  • Tom Watt won the Jack Adams Award for coach-of-the-year.
Franchise Records:
  • Tie Domi still holds the franchise record for PIMs in one season with 347, set in 1993-94, while Laurie Boschman led the team in PIMs five times over his career, and had 1335 PIMs during his time with the Jets, the most in franchise history.
  • Goaltenders Bob Essensa and Brian Hayward are tied for most wins in one season with 33, while Essensa holds the record for shutouts in one season with five. Essensa holds the record for most appearances in one season with 67.
  • Essensa holds the record for most shutouts in a Jets jersey with 14, most wins with 116, and also has appeared in the most games as a goaltender with 281.
  • Thomas Steen holds the franchise record of most games played with 950.
  • Dale Hawerchuk holds the Jets' franchise record for goals with 379.
  • Teemu Selanne holds the franchise record for goals in a season with 76.
  • Thomas Steen recorded the most assists in a Jets jersey with 553.
  • Phil Housley holds the franchise record for most assists in one season with 79.
  • Hawerchuk holds the record for the most points with 929.
  • Selanne holds the record for most points in one season with 132.
  • Fredrik Olausson recorded the most points by a Jets defenceman with 335.
  • Dave Ellett had the most goals by a Jets defenceman with 95.
  • Dale Hawerchuk holds the record for most appearances in an NHL All-Star Game with five.
  • Paul MacLean and Dale Hawerchuk recorded a franchise-best 16 playoff goals during their times with the Jets. Hawerchuk also has the most playoff assists in franchise history with 33.
  • The best plus-minus in one season for the Jets belongs to Robert Picard. In 1984-85, Picard was a +31.
Forgettable Records:
  • Bobby Dollas played the most games in a Jets uniform without scoring a goal.
  • Doug Soetaert was part of the worst beating in franchise history when the Minnesota North Stars pummeled the Jets 15-2 on November 11, 1981. Soetaert surrendered all 15 goals.
  • In the rather forgettable 1980-81 season where the Jets only recorded nine wins all season long, the Jets won both their road games in Maple Leaf Gardens against the Toronto Maple Leafs - their only two road wins that season by scores of 8-2 and 2-0.
  • Don Spring, who played with the Jets from 1980 to 1984, was the first Venezuelan-born player to play in the NHL.
  • The last player ever selected by the Winnipeg Jets in an NHL Entry Draft was Rob DeCiantis, selected in the 9th-round, 214th overall in 1995.
  • Dave Babych, during the 1980-81 season, posted a plus-minus of -61, the worst in franchise history.
  • Kirk McCaskill played briefly for the Jets before establishing a long career in Major League Baseball as a pitcher, most notably with the California Angels.
  • The only teams the Jets ever defeated in the playoffs was the Calgary Flames. They defeated the Flames 3-1 in 1985, and 4-2 in 1987 - their only playoff series wins in franchise history.
  • Raymond Bourque scored his first career NHL goal against the Jets during a game on October 11, 1979.
  • Over the course of the franchise's time in Winnipeg, the Jets only won twice in 23 visits to Buffalo against the Sabres. The Jets had a franchise record against Chicago of 24-44, including a 5-26 record at Chicago Stadium. The Montreal Canadiens beat up on the Jets regularly. The Jets record was a pathetic 10-36 against the Habs, and went 2-21 at the Montreal Forum. The Jets were pathetic against the Pittsburgh Penguins, posting a franchise record of 16-31.
  • The Jets didn't score a goal in Montreal until January 15, 1981 - midway through their second season after joining the NHL! The didn't post their first win in Montreal until February 23, 1984 - nearly five years after they joined the NHL!
Ok, I think that little trip down memory lane is enough for me. Please note that I did not include the WHA Winnipeg Jets in this examination, nor did I include any Phoenix Coyotes info. This was strictly a look at the NHL Jets.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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