Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Some Quick Jets Updates

That looks pretty good, doesn't it? Round logos are entirely perfect for center ice treatments, and that Jets logo looks incredible! Things are heating up around Winnipeg as hockey fever returns! I think the only improvement the franchise could have made is to include the little jets in the red line like they used to have during the previous Jets era. Regardless, the roundel looks awesome, and I'm pumped for opening night against the Montreal Canadiens! Who else is looking forward to seeing hockey in Winnipeg once again?

Alright, here are a couple of updates on some hockey stuff. This is just a quick update on what's happening in and around Winnipeg with regards to the Jets. If you're not interested in the Winnipeg NHL franchise, carry on. But if you want some insight as to what this city is going through, read on.

Let's start with the NHL FaceOff proposal. Rumour has it that Canadian rockers Nickelback were going to take part as the featured band at NHL FaceOff. If you're like most Canadian music fans (or music fans in general), Nickelback doesn't rank highly on many rock fans' music playlists. Some attribute this to their songs sounding a lot like other songs they've written or others have written. Others feel they don't have a lot of musical range. Whatever the case may be, it appears Winnipeggers are amongst those who don't really want Nickelback to kick off the new NHL season in their city.

Current Winnipeg Free Press music critic Rob Murphy and former music critic Bartley Kives have penned an open letter to the NHL and Commissioner Gary Bettman requesting, in fact begging, for Nickelback not to appear in Winnipeg for the opening weekend of the 2011-12 NHL season. According to the two Free Press writers, after waiting fifteen years for the Jets to return, the appearance of Nickelback will only "sully the celebration with the presence of a band whose existence is antithetical to the very concept of celebration." Ouch.

While nothing has been finalized for the opening weekend celebration yet - meaning Nickelback hasn't been finalized - it seems that the Alberta-based band isn't going to be welcomed with open arms in Winnipeg.

If the NHL were smart about this celebration, Lynn-Lake-Manitoba-born Tom Cochrane would be the headliner. Not only is he an Honorary Colonel in the Canadian Air Force, he's a born-and-bred Manitoban. Cochrane was appointed as an Honorary Colonel by the Canadian Air Force's 409 "Nighthawks" Tactical Fighter Squadron in November 2007, leading to his second flight in a CF-18. Could you imagine how much of a rousing ovation "Big League" would get on opening night against the Canadiens?

In other Jets' news, there will be some competition in training camp for roster spots as a couple of forgotten NHL players will be in Winnipeg on tryouts.

First, Chris Mason and Ondrej Pavelec will be competing against former NHL goaltender David Aebischer for a roster spot. Aebischer spent the last four years in his native Switzerland tending to nets for Lugano. While he is still under contract with Lugano, his window of opportunity is small, meaning this could be his last chance to grab an NHL job if he so wants it.

Aebischer is a decent goaltender who should able to push Mason for the back-up job, but I don't think the Jets are going to allow either Mason or Pavelec to go through the waiver wire. Aebischer might be a solid pick-up for the St. John's IceCaps in the AHL in that the Jets will have an NHL-calibre goaltender available to them if the need arises.

Secondly, former AHL Penguins standout Janne Pesonen will attend camp for the Jets as well. Pesonen played the last two seasons with Ak Bars Kazan in the KHL. His 2008-09 season in the AHL saw him light up the league as he posted 32 goals and 50 assists in the junior league, and there's hope he can contribute that kind of point production in the NHL after getting some seasoning in the KHL.

Thirdly, the Jets invited defenceman Brad Wall to tryout with the St. John's IceCaps. The former Quebec Remparts defenceman posted some impressive numbers in the QMJHL. Wall is an intriguing prospect as he could bring creativity and skill to the blueline. While he doesn't have a lot of professional hockey experience yet, he will attend the University of Prince Edward Island if he can't crack the IceCaps' lineup.

So there are a few updates in regards to the newest old team in the NHL. I'm getting excited for training camp to break just to see the team in action again. Win or lose, I'm convinced that opening night is an absolute blast based upon the excitement from the perspective of a fan!

Even if it does include Nickelback.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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