Current Jets put boots to former Jets

Current Jets put boots to former Jets

Some things just work out.

Then there’s the Winnipeg Jets move to Arizona, 21 years ago.

That skating disaster of a franchise wobbled into Winnipeg on Tuesday, not-so-proud holder of an NHL record for the most games without a regulation victory to start a season.

That inglorious mark reached 20 after a 4-1 Jets win left the Desert Dogs with an embarrassing 2-15-3 mark.

The ’Yotes are well on their way to a sixth straight season out of the playoffs, which would make it 12 of the past 15 years.

In 21 years, they’ve advanced past the first round once.

The best thing that could have happened to this franchise would have been to get out of dodge when it had the chance, in 2009 or 2010, when Mark Chipman was ready to write a cheque and bring it back home.

As fate would have it, NHL commish Gary Bettman wrung more millions from the taxpayers of Glendale, Ariz., and turned Chipman’s attention to Atlanta, instead.

Some things do work out.

So did this: Bryan Little broke out of his goal-scoring slump on the night Dale Hawerchuk went into the Jets’ Hall of Fame.

When the Thrashers relocated, you may recall Little gave up his No. 10 and switched to No. 18 to honour Hawerchuk’s history here.

PATRIK THE GRUMP?

Remember when Patrik Laine was mired in a four-game point drought, lamenting his lack of confidence and how hard hockey was for him?

Laine scored a goal in each of the next five games, going into Tuesday.

“Filleting himself in front of the world there, the hockey world, somehow gets him going, somehow drives him more,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said pre-game.

“So when he’s not playing well, he’s angry and grumpy … he gets a little bit snarly out there. And things start to go for him. Now he’s in that mood.”

DUCKY GETS MISTY

A pre-game ceremony saw Hawerchuk get a little glassy-eyed as his No. 10 banner was raised to the rafters, next to those of Anders Hedberg, Ulf Nilsson and Bobby Hull.

Hedberg and Nilsson, members of the famed Hot Line that tore up the WHA in the 1970s, were next to Hawerchuk at centre ice.

“To go up there with Ulf, Anders and Bobby, those guys were amazing players … it’s pretty special,” Hawerchuk said earlier in the day.

“Ducky” actually recalled struggling to crack the Jets lineup as an 18-year-old in 1981.

“The first two weeks, I didn’t think I was going to make it,” he said. “I was so exhausted, the game was so fast. But I got more and more comfortable doing it every day. I slept like crazy, trying to keep my energy up.

“I didn’t want to be the first overall pick and then get sent back to junior.”

The guy adapted, was named the NHL rookie of the year and the rest — 1,409 points, 929 of them in nine seasons with the Jets — is history.

Asked to pick out a highlight moment, No. 10 has a tough time.

“Every day being in the NHL, man,” he said. “I was the only guy on my street that made it. We all wanted to make it and I happened to be the guy that made it.”

HE’S NO GRETZKY

While elite players don’t always make good coaches, Hawerchuk has done just fine in seven seasons with the OHL’s Barrie Colts.

One of his highest-profile former players was thrilled to be in attendance for the special night.

“He did so much for this city and this city did so much for him,” Jets centre Mark Scheifele said. “It’s a pretty cool thing to be part of it. I’m excited for that moment for him.”

Scheifele says among the things Hawerchuk taught him is that “simpler is usually better.”

“You don’t go and stickhandle the puck and flip it up in the air seven times and that’s how you learn hockey,” Scheifele said. “It’s a simple game. And it’s a team game. That’s the biggest thing he’s taught me, is this game isn’t about the flash and dash.”

Scheifele jokes he was constantly in Hawerchuk’s office in Barrie, either getting advice or getting yelled at.

Hawerchuk does recall having to light a fire under his star on one occasion.

“I barked at him pretty good on the bench, in front of everybody, on purpose,” the coach said. “He took a second look at me. But he picked up his game in a hurry, I can tell you that.”

NHL-BOUND?

Hawerchuk is often asked whether he wants to coach in the NHL someday, and never says yes — or no.

“Right now I’m happy where I am,” he said. “I love teaching the kids and seeing guys like Mark Scheifele turn out over time.”

The comments from a longtime buddy and former teammate are a little more revealing.

“I think he does,” Scott Arniel said on Monday. “I don’t think he’s in a rush to do anything. He’s probably going to wait for the right time, family wise. The right time, maybe the right team.”

Source : http://edmontonsun.com/sports/hockey/nhl/winnipeg-jets/current-jets-put-boots-to-former-jets/wcm/4d00af2d-33a4-418b-b1b9-8f0c06533c40

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