Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Tuxedo Night!

Way back in the early 1980's, the Winnipeg Jets marketing team created Tuxedo night to celebrate the visits of the Montréal Canadiens. It's always special (and annoying) when an original six team comes to a Canadian market. The fans of those teams who seldom visit Western Canada get to watch their favourite team in person (that's the annoying part). For the team it was a chance to be on National TV, an opportunity for the "local kid done good" to have his friends and family to see him live. Back in the early 80's though as a franchise or fan, it meant you had arrived! 

Playing against the Canadiens, (and the Leafs) will always be special for the Jest and their fans. It's no accident that the first ever game for Jets 3.0 was played against Montréal. This despite the fact that they are not division rivals, and have never met in the playoffs. As a child, I used to love when the Jets played either the Leafs or Habs on a Saturday because it meant Prime Time Saturday hockey. Back then, there was no double header so it was rare that any team beside Montréal or Toronto was on Hockey Night In Canada. Even the glory team in Edmonton had a hard time getting on  HNIC at the time... 

One of my fondest memories was a Jets visit to Toronto sometime around 1984 or 1985. Dale Hawerchuk used to beat up of the Leafs for fun. That night he LIT them up for 4 or 5 points and embarrassed them. He did that against several teams, but for some reason because it was over the Leafs on a National scale, it meant more. Same thing with the Habs, it always means more when you beat them. 

Starting goalie... well I don't believe you are sending the right message if you don't come back with Al Montoya. Would you EVER sit a player if he scored a hat trick? No, you wouldn't. There is no doubt that Ondrej Pavelec is the teams starting goalie. He also cannot play every game. If Montoya gets hot, then let him go on a little run. The points count just as much in October as they do in April. Maybe not running Pavelec into the ground by December might a good plan. I'm not confident they will, but I believe Montoya deserves the start. Carey Price will get the start for the Habs. 

In case you didn't notice, both Dustin Byfuglien and Tobias Enstrom are tied for 2nd in defence scoring with 6 points. The leader in the NHL is PK Subban with 7. Both are tied for the team lead in scoring and both are tied for 20th overall in the league scoring. Very impressive considering both have yet to score. With the way teams are defending the Jets PP, it will be harder for Big Buff to score like he has in recent seasons.  

It didn't take long for the Noel Blender to hit the lines against New Jersey. I liked Evander Kane getting a look on the top line, and I thought Michael Frolik showed well. I wouldn't be surprised to see many more "looks" in the top nine this year as the coach has more options than ever. 
Tonight's game is a regional broadcast on TSN Jets starting at 7.00 (and yes I get the irony)


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