This is my obligatory lockout post. I’ve stayed out of this long enough. Now I’m just flustered and have a lot of stuff to say. Everyone is freaking out about a season that may not happen. Note I said “may not” happen. It’s not september 15th yet. Anything can happen. The probability that there will be no lockout is far greater than the Cubs chances at winning a world series. As God as my witness if there is no 2012-2013 NHL season then the Chicago Cubs will win the world series in 2013. That’s right I said it. Enjoy my thoughts on the lockout. Well I have a feeling I’m going to incite a riot with a few of the things I have to say.

 

Hurts more than just the players and the owners

A lockout will not just put the players and owners to out of a job. Technically they won’t be out of a job. Players can go overseas and play if they want. Owners will still make money even if their team doesn’t play. What about the ticket sellers, the ushers, the custodial workers? What about the vendors, the bartenders ? What about the ice girls, the mascots, the stadium Djs? They are all going to lose a job or not get paid.  I have heard that some people working within the organizations will still have a job. They will just have a different role in the organization for the length of the lock out. I don’t know if that goes for everyone. If I worked for the organization I would be scared for my job. This is about more than just the players and the owners. You are playing with the lives of those who are struggling to pay the rent or put food on the table. I don’t know the players. I don’t know the owners. Maybe they know all of this. Maybe they don’t. I just hope these people are in their thoughts as they negotiate.

 

Players going overseas

I know how bad you want to continue playing hockey. Believe me when I say I know not having a job stinks. I do wonder one thing. Why wouldn’t you stay and fight for the end of a lockout. You have waited your whole life to play in the best league in the world. When the first sign of struggle comes along you flee? I don’t get that. If I had my dream job and something was getting in the way of it I would fight until there was no fight left in me. By going overseas during the lockout you are sending the message that you don’t want this as bad as the fans want the end of a lockout. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe you can fight for your team while playing in another league but I have to believe that would be hard. With all the training, practicing, games and traveling I do not see it being easy to put forth your ideas to making the lockout come to an end. I’d rather you stay here and train your butt off  than go overseas and leave us fans behind.

 

Unemployment

I know people are moaning and groaning about how players might be able to collect unemployment. If a player is making anywhere between 1 million and the league minimum I’m ok with it. Why? You have to think about how much everything costs. Trainers, security, housing in a safe place, nutrition specialists, and equipment. None of that comes cheap.

 

My Solutions:

These are just a few solutions I could see working.  Clearly there are a lot of things that need to be done and I’m just a lowly writer who is not involved in these negotiations. I want a season so I’m throwing my two cents into the mix.

 

Pay cut:
Everyone making over 6 million dollars a year should take a pay cut. This includes owners, the commissioner, coaches, players, everyone. If money is an issue taking a pay cut should be one of the options on your list. If your team is not meeting it’s goals you shouldn’t be making the amount of money you do. Isn’t that how the “real” life works? You don’t meet your goals you lose your job or take a pay cut.

NO MORE BIG CONTRACTS
After this season No more crazy contracts. I don’t care how bad you want to win. A star player doesn’t always make for a star team. There is also this thing called chemistry. You can’t buy chemistry. You can try, it may work, but more than likely it will not. If a player wants to play for you they will come play for you. If a team wants you to play for them they will provide what is necessary. Note I said “what is necessary”. Not “what will keep you in your mercedes benz”.  Some of the contracts this summer were completely unnecessary. You’re not going to make money by shelling out that much money. You have to give a little to get a little but you also have to make sure you don’t end up with a losing team.

NO MORE EXTENDED CONTRACTS

No player should be allowed to have contracts over 5 years. You want job security then play hard, win games. That’s the nature of the beast. That’s what it’s like in the real world. No one knows what the future will bring. You could get hurt and never be able to come back. Now you are just eating away at the teams money. It sounds cold I know. I’m sorry I don’t mean to sound cold. It’s just a harsh reality.

REALIGNMENT

Sit down and figure out a money saving realignment. Get the realignment to a point where the teams are not constantly traveling. Work the schedule out so you can take the bus out to the nearest team. It worked in the past maybe It’s time to make it work again. A team in Columbus shouldn’t constantly be flying out to the west coast all the time and barely seeing anyone on the east coast. It’s silly that Columbus, Chicago and Detroit only plays Pittsburgh and Ottawa once a year. When they are close enough to play multiple times a year.

Blackouts
This one pains me the most to say since I would definitely be affected by the outcome. If you don’t have at least 80% of your seats sold by a certain date your game should be blacked out from the surrounding area. How else are people going to be motivated to get their butts to a game. It works in football, I think it could work in the NHL. There is no reason why there should be empty seats at playoff games. I’m looking at you Detroit Red Wings, Phoenix Coyotes, and Florida Panthers. When I went to the round 1 game 3 Detroit vs Nashville at Joe Louis Arena there were many empty seats. Not just that but there were people buying tickets the day of the playoff game. You should be sold out. Especially in Hockey Town. Come on fans.

 

Stop raising ticket prices

Fans are not going to come to games if you keep raising ticket prices. Especially if you are doubling prices. Now the owners are going to tell me they need to pay their players. Well maybe you should have thought about that before you shelled out 8 million dollars for a player who isn’t performing at their best.

FANS NEED TO GO TO GAMES

Fans if you want to help revenue. You HAVE to go to games. I’m not saying you have to sit in the most expensive seats but you have to go to the games. Sit in the nosebleeds. Buy season tickets. At least from the stand point of the Columbus Blue Jackets through out the season you can get special ticket packs. There are green seats for $10 if you get to the game early enough to buy them. If you love the team you have to find a way to the arena. This also falls on the fans.

 

Fans Convert People

We all know people who don’t like hockey, don’t understand it, or don’t even know what it is. Start small take them to a local high school game. I took my friend Jim to the St Eds vs  St Ignatius game and he was hooked. You have to look for opportunities to create a fire of passion in future fans. Take them to games with special offers. For example: This past February there was a tweet up at the Blue Jackets game. Afterwards you could meet and talk to James Wisniewski. If they see and talk to a player they will likely make a connection. Then you have a fan who wants to come to more games.

Bring people to free events like Front Street Fridays, Open Houses, and Bartending night.

Be welcoming to new fans. I’m not saying you have to be friends you just have to be nice. Which since I’ve moved down here I’ve seen is like pulling teeth. Listen to what new people have to say. Branch outside of your bubble. You will find people with common interests and you have thus made someone new feel comfortable in their new surrounding.

Owners , managers, coaches and players put yourself out there in the community.

Owners you want people to come to your games and buy your merch right? Well put yourself out there in the community. I mean really put yourself out there. Go to all of your kids games. Go to functions of those who you employ. Get involved in your local neighborhood. Volunteer at the local shelter. Shop at local stores and restaurants. Not just the ones located around the arena and around your house. I’m not saying sacrifice your privacy. Everyone deserves their privacy. Just put yourself out there in a way that will make people remember you.  Maybe even go so far as to stand by the doors on game night every once in a while and greet fans. Welcome them into “Your House”. Show the fans how much you appreciate them. If a fan feels appreciated they will come to games and more than likely bring people along for the ride.

 

 

I know these sound a little silly but we all know every little bit helps. I believe these things  could help prevent future lockouts.

VIVA LA HOCKEY!!!

JUST SAY NO TO LOCKOUTS!!

 

 

 

Tampa Bay Times Forum, Florida, was the venue for Thursday night’s clash between the Winnipeg Jets and the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Jets were coming into this battle off the back of an impressive win over the Flyers in Philadelphia, and the good news kept coming when Dustin Byfuglien was cleared to return to action following his knee injury which kept him out for 16 games. These factors would have put the Jets in a good mindset before this game, and it showed, with the Jets securing a 2-1 win in Overtime.

Ondrej Pavelec, this man stole the show, as he has many times this season. His performance was the main reason the Jets had a chance to win this game, making 30 saves from 31 shots. Not as impressive as Cam Ward, who recorded a 47 save shut-out against the Bruins, but still impressive nonetheless.

Winnipeg got the scoring started 19:44 into the second period. Ladd drove into the shooting zone and laid the puck off to Slater who fired off a shot from the left circle, Garon got a piece of it but the rebound landed right on the stick of Wheeler who dispatched the puck into the net from close range.

The Bolts tied the game with 9:26 remaining in the third period. Hedman received a nice pass from St. Louis and beat Pavelec from the left circle.

The Jets gave the Lightning a good chance to grab the lead with 4:10 remaining when Andrew Ladd got a slashing penalty. Tampa didn’t take the chance, not even getting a single shot on goal.

Regulation time wasn’t enough for these two teams and overtime was needed to decide the encounter.

With 1:46 remaining in OT, Kyle Wellwood of the Jets, finished the game and sealed the victory for Winnipeg. A nifty pass by Blake Wheeler from the left circle found Wellwood all alone with an empty net gaping in front of him, all he had to do was tap the puck home, which he did, giving him his 10th of the season.

Final Score - Winnipeg Jets 2 – 1 Tampa Bay Lightning

Goalie Stats -

Winnipeg – O. Pavelec – 30 saves from 31 shots

Tampa Bay – M. Garon – 22 saves from 24 shots

3 Stars - 

1. Kyle Wellwood(WPG)

2. Victor Hedman(TBL)

3. Dustin Byfuglien(WPG)

 

 

The Jets flew into the Wells Fargo Centre in Philadelphia, home of the Flyers, on Tuesday night for their first game since the All Star Break. Winnipeg had gone 3 games without a win coming into this one and not many had predicted this trend wouldn’t continue. However, continue it would not, with the Jets coming away with the victory after an impressive 2-1 win after a shoot-out.

The win moved the Jets to within 3 points of the second placed, Florida Panthers, and 4 points off of the top team in the Southeast, the Washington Capitals and having said that, the Winnipeg Jets have played more games than their counterparts thus far this season.

Jets goalie, Ondrej Pavelec, has been huge for them this season and last night’s game was no different. Pavelec constantly denied the Flyers during the 65 minutes played, saving 27 from 28 shots and stoned every Flyers shot in the ensuing shoot-out giving Bryan Little the chance to seal the game, which he did.

It took until 10:36 for the game to produce its first shot on goal, thankfully things heated up after that. With 4:49 left in the opening period, the Flyers struck to take the lead. An awful penalty call on Chris Thorburn led to Brayden Schenn poking the puck barely into the net on the powerplay.

It was an unlikely hero that got the Jets back into the game, Chris Thorburn popped up with his first of the season to make the game a tie. The goal came 2:06 into the second period when Antropov produced a nice pass straight to Thorburn who snapped a beautiful shot to the left of Bryzgalov.

Winnipeg had a stellar chance to win the game late in the third but Ladd couldn’t convert the puck past a prone Bryzgalov.

Overtime could not provide a winner so the teams got ready for a shoot-out. Pavelec denied all 3 Flyers and the first 2 Jets shooters missed, this meant that Bryan Little had Winnipeg’s fate in his hands and he did not let them down, he went five-hole on Bryzgalov and luckily the slot was open.

Final Score - Winnipeg Jets 2 – 1 Philadelphia Flyers (SO)

Goalie Stats -

Winnipeg – O.Pavelec – 27 saves from 28 shots

Philadelphia – I.Bryzgalov – 23 saves from 24 shots

3 Stars -

1. Bryan Little(WPG)

2. Ondrej Pavelec(WPG)

3. Brayden Schenn(PHI)

Thanks to zimbio.com for the use of the photo

 

Follow me here at 18_Darren_88

 

 

The Jet’s first game since their tough loss to Florida sees them travel to the RBC Centre in Raleigh, North Carolina on Monday night to face a stern test against a Carolina Hurricanes side who have a consistency to their game which makes them a difficult test for any team in the NHL.

Winnipeg’s Shoot out loss to the Panthers on Saturday night was a bitter pill to swallow especially due to the fact that the Jets dominated the game but just could not convert their chances.

Tonight’s game between the two South East division rivals is important to both teams but maybe more so the Canes who sit bottom of the division. On the other hand, after Washington’s defeat to Pittsburgh last night, a Jets win would see them move to just 1 point behind the Capitals and 2 points from division the division leading, Florida Panthers.

The result could simply come down to who wants it more on the night.

Last 10 games:

Winnipeg Jets – Won 3, Lost 7

Carolina Hurricanes – Won 4, Lost 6

 

 

 

 

 

The Florida Panthers’ recent run of bad results came to an end on Saturday night inside the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, home of the Winnipeg Jets.

This was mainly thanks to Kris Versteeg and goaltender Scott Clemmensen’s outstanding performances. Versteeg racked up 2 goals and an assist on the night with Clemmensen facing 44 shots and conceding only 3.

Florida took the lead 5:40 into the first period when Marcel Goc fed the puck to Versteeg who then drew Pavelec out of his net and slotted the puck high into the roof of the net giving Versteeg his 18th goal of the season.

The Panthers increased the lead with 16 seconds remaining in the opening period when Santorelli pressured Jets defenseman Hainsey into a turnover in front of Winnipeg’s net, Krys Barch received the puck and fired it towards the net, the puck took a deflection on route off of Santorelli and ended up in the net.

The Jets came out strong in the second period, getting a goal back early through Nik Antropov who deposited the puck past Clemmensen and into the Panther’s net from a pass by Kyle Wellwood.

Antropov was on the score sheet again five minutes into the third period when he placed a shot into the goal from the right circle.

A minute later Versteeg responded for the Panther’s with his 19th goal of the season to give the Panthers back the lead, 3-2.

Alexander Burmistrov decided it was time to end his recent run without a goal with 6:15 remaining in the final period when he pushed the puck past Clemmensen to tie the game at 3-3.

An exciting overtime period dominated by the Jets could not provide a winner therefore a shootout was needed to settle the game.

The shootout turned into somewhat of an epic encounter requiring 7 rounds to determine a winner.

The winning goal came from Mikael Samuelsson after Alexander Burmistrov missed the net to give Florida the victory.

Goalie Stats - 

Florida – S. Clemmensen – 41 saves from 44 shots

Winnipeg – O. Pavelec – 20 saves from 23 shots

3 Stars - 

1 – Kris Versteeg(FLA)

2 – Nik Antropov(WPG)

3 – Zach Bogosian(WPG)

Thanks to FoxSports for the use of the photo.

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