Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Do The Scheifele

Dale Hawerchuck sat in his office and watched the press buzz in Winnipeg on a small TV in the corner. Replays of Mark Chipmans announcement where a common theme among the sports channels and the old Jet sat back watching with more than a twinge of nostalgia. He got up, opened the door and walked down the hall. The familiar smell of an ice rink was there, along with the heavy sound of pucks smacking into the boards. Hawerchuck found a seat and settled himself in, while reaching into his jacket pocket to retrieve his cell phone. On the ice members of  the Barrie Colts where enjoying an informal summer skate. Hawerchuck made the call, "Ya Zinger, it's Ducky" he said in an abruptness that only came with familiarity. "I've got a kid you need to look at".

I have no idea if that's how it happened but that's my romanticized version of the events and until someone tells me different that's what I'm going with. Of course the kid is Mark Scheifele and we all know what happens next in the story. The kid becomes the Jets first round pick and goes on to look like the best thing since ladies yoga pants.

Here's what was supposed to happen next. Scheifele was supposed to go to the young stars tournament and be the best player there - check. He was then supposed to go to the big camp, show flashes of offensive brilliance but ultimately get shut down by NHL defenses in pre-season play. He would then get ceremoniously shipped back to Barrie as "The one to watch", and we would tie the story up with a nice little bow until next fall. But wait, all did not go according to plan.

Instead this new experimental Jet pots a goal a game along with some beautiful assists thrown in for good measure. The big league defensemen and goalies look just as baffled as their junior counterparts by this kid who seems to always be in the right place at the right time. A good problem to have so we might think, but  this proves to be the ultimate dilemma. Common wisdom would suggest that it is far to early to bring a player like Scheifele into the NHL . Scheifele needs ice time and first line experience to keep him on an upward trajectory in his development arc. That would mean going back to Barrie and ripping up the OHL for at least one more season before trying making the jump to the big club. The problem with that is we need a reason to send him back, and so far he hasn't given us one.

There are some familiar frames of reference that I can draw upon as an observer of the Vancouver hockey. If we look back we can weed out some famous flame outs from Canucks pre-season play, the most famous probably being Jason King. Now I know what your thinking, King was a different animal. He already had a season with the Moose under his belt, and was hardly a superstar hopeful. Still in the pre-season and the subsequent first five games of the regular season he was averaging two points a game. He then went on to flame out in spectacular style, eventually being relegated to the AHL and then into hockey oblivion. Was King a victim of being brought up to soon, who knows, but it does illustrate the danger.

We can also look at Gilbert Brule who was a stud with the Vancouver Giants and was ultimately brought up too early by a struggling Columbus Blue Jackets club in the 2005-06 season. He walked away from that season with a broken sternum, broken leg, shattered confidence and a ticket back to the WHL. He is just now finding his NHL game in a second chance with the Edmonton Oilers.

I think what I'm trying to do is here is convince not only you the reader but myself that this kid needs more time. We all want to see a "Dale Hawerchuck 2.0" join the Jets for their historic first season back in the NHL, but the hard truth is that no matter how well he does in pre-season it would probably be a huge mistake to bring him up to the big club full time.

The first thing we need to do is let this kid grow into his body. If he joins the NHL now and puts up some numbers, he'll become a target. He'll need more meat on that lanky frame to withstand the punishment of an 80+ game season. Second he needs to learn how to be a top six guy, not a third or fourth liner. If he can't legitimately step into one of those top six spots then he shouldn't be with the big club. Third, young offensive talent needs ice time. This kid needs to be out there for big minutes and facing a variety of situations. if you can't give it to him, his talent will wither on the vine.

So what do we do? Tell the kid to stop looking awesome? I guess not, but if he keeps scoring goals it will definitely be tough to send him back. I'm hoping that this will sort itself  out on its own. Sceifele will get a look during the regular season, at which time the opposition, with paychecks on the line will introduce this kid to real NHL hockey and shut him down. I know that sounds counter productive, but I really do think another year in Junior is what he needs

But what if they don't shut him down ..........

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I asked a few ROTJ supporters to give me their impressions of the first game at the MTS Centre. Long time ROTJ suporter Ryan Goodale sent me a little more than what I asked for, but it I'm glad he did. Here is Ryans story unedited:


By Ryan Goodale

Five Thousand, Six Hundred, and Twenty Three. 

     A number that can be justified in one's mind when standing in line to pay property taxes - or perhaps installing some new windows in a house.  It's a long, cold winter in Winnipeg and those new windows would certainly help cut down on the heating bills for a few months. 

     5,623 has a completely different meaning to me, though.  It's the precise number of days I endured - yes, endured - between watching a live NHL game.  The last game I ever attended was on April 28, 1996, a playoff loss to the Detroit Red Wings.  My story is no different than that of thousands of Manitobans - I watched as our team was ripped away from us - a victim of escalating salaries, an untenable building lease, and a grand plan of growing the game in the United States. 

     I told myself that I would always cheer for my Jets, now to be known as the Coyotes.  I didn't.  Wouldn't.  Couldn't.  Watching that team invoked too emotional a response.  Not tears, but anger.  Why US?  Why Winnipeg?  I was a 22 year old man (although some of my exploits would make it hard to seem so), and I felt like a huge part of my being was gone in an instant.  I didn't want to stop being a Jets fan, but I had no say in the matter. 

     Then an odd thing happened.  Over a period of perhaps 5 years, I started ignoring the NHL.  I would sit down to watch Hockey Night In Canada and only make it through two periods.  I stopped participating in fantasy drafts.  And I didn't care.  I would certainly watch the playoffs every year, and of course the World Juniors and Olympics, but NHL hockey just didn't seem to matter to me anymore.  That's not to say, however, that I had given up on hockey altogether.

     On October 11, 1996, I went to my first (the first ever, in fact) Manitoba Moose game.  I hated it.  I declared I would never go back.  This was bush league hockey and Winnipeg was certainly not a bush league hockey town.  We were an NHL town.  I didn't go back until 1998.  Free tickets, in the lounge section.  We got drunk, and left after the second period.  I didn't return until 2000.  Free tickets again.  We got drunk, but stayed for the whole game.  The next week I bought tickets, sat in the stands for the whole game and actually enjoyed myself. 

     In 2004, with the opening of the MTS Centre, I became a Moose ticket package subscriber and remained so for the rest of their history (save for 2007 when we took a year off due to the birth of my son)  Despite what the Winnipeg hockey elitests said under their breath about the AHL brand of hockey, I was fully entrenched as a Moose fan and took great joy in watching the Canucks prospects move through the system and work their way up to the NHL.  Over the years I had the pleasure of watching such names as Kesler, Bieksa, Schneider, Rypien (R.I.P.), Hansen, and Burrows get promoted to the big club (never mind people like Baumgartner, Goren, Roy, and Keane, who were loved by the Moose faithful). 

     Something else happened when the Moose became affiliated with the Canucks.  Slowy, but surely, I started to become interested in the NHL again.  On top of that, I had a team to cheer for.  I was a Canucks fan.  How could that be?  A jets fan turned Canucks fan??  This is certainly something I had to keep quiet.  I found myself watching Hockey Night in Canada and pretty much any hockey I could get my eyes on.  I was back.  And it was all because of the Moose.  Never mind that Marc Chipman saved hockey in Winnipeg, he, in a sense, saved ME.

     Back to 5,623.  I think it may have been fate that I went all those years without seeing a game.  I looked back at some old business calendars and came up with the following.  Over the last 10 years I have taken 12 business trips during hockey season to markets with NHL franchises.  12 perfect opportunities to see a game.  Not once - ever - was the home team in town when I was in those markets.  How could that possibly be?  Clearly I was being scolded for turning my back on the NHL when the Jets left.  Then came the icing on the cake.  October, 2010.  The annual boys road trip to Minneapolis to see the Vikings play - and the Wild had a home game the night before.  After 14 years, I was finally going to see an NHL game.  Not so, said the hockey gods.  Around 4 hours into the trip, it was discovered by someone who shall remain nameless that the football tickets had been left in Winnipeg.   The first car of four continued on to Minneapolis and cuaght the hockey game, and I sat in a bar in Fargo while he shall who remain nameless drove back to the U.S. border to meet a courier and retrieve the tickets.  If that's not the hockey gods preparing me for something bigger, I don't know what is.

     Something bigger came last night.  At 6 PM sharp, I entered the MTS Centre as a Winnipeg Jets season ticket holder.  I made my way to my seat and did not leave  - not once, no beer, food or washroom breaks - until the players gathered at center ice to salute the fans and Mark Scheifele skated out as the first star while the crowd chanted his name.  It was, in summary, perfection.

     I'm still bitter that hockey was ripped from me for 15 years - it seems odd now for a 37 year old to look at people in their early 20's as idols.  I couldn't be happier, however, that my son has a team full of players (and I know that True North will ensure this) that he can look up to.  I will say this though - even though it may be odd for someone my age to wear the name and number of a twenty-something on their back, that Byfuglien is seriously fucking cool.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Game Day With RJ

To say last night surpassed expectations was an understatement. The crowd, the game, the emergence of Sceifele.... the crowd. It was all a breath taking preview of whats sure to be a barn burner of an opener.

I asked my good friend from the Jets twitterverse, RJ Pangman to tweet and sum up his experience as it happened. I wanted to get a sense of what it was actually like to be there from a fan perspective. RJ is a season ticket holder and long time ROTJ supporter. Here is his perspective from right after the game. I have edited as little as possible:

"I wake up in the morning, and it's raining out. Not just raining, but pouring. Seems fitting, in a year where we had maybe 5 days of rain all summer, lasting at most a couple of hours. It's supposed to rain all day. It's cold out too. Do I care? Not one iota. It's Jetsmas, or as KJ79 (Justin) calls it, 'Happy Jetsyear' It's here. The day has finally arrived. Am I excited? You bet I'm excited. Justin texts me: "I'm trying to be calm but it's too hard with you not to be excited". 
Maybe some NHL 2012 will calm me down. NOPE, maybe taking a walk in the rain? NOPE. I've waited 15 long years 15 LONG F'ING YEARS. I remember how sad I was that cold day in April. The day Detroit ended the Jets. I don't fault them, hell I've been cheering for them faithfully for the past 15 years. 
As 3:30 in the afternoon approaches, KJ pops by, we go grab some liquor for some pre-gaming. ($10 a drink at MTS I'm going to make sure I have a few before hand to stay not broke lol.) We play some NHL 12 online against opponents as the Jets. As we play we have some surreal moments. We're playing as the Jets, and not just the team we made so we could pretend we're back...WE ARE BACK!
We head to A&W for some eats and to calm our nerves. People smile as we walk in with our Jets Jersey's, not because we're hopeless Jets fans, on a wing and a prayer, but because we're like some 400,000 other Manitobans that love our team. OUR TEAM, OUR JETS! We drive down around 6 pm an hour and a half prior to game time. As we walk up to the MTS Centre, among the fans pouring in, I just try and soak in (while getting soaked) this moment. It reminds me of May 20th. Standing at Portage and Main. The impromptu celebration after Steven Brunt's announcement. This has the same feel. The party for the real fans, the true fans, the people that have waited 15 years for this, 15 long years. No longer is it, "If Winnipeg were to support a franchise", "If Winnipeg could get corporate support", or "When Winnipeg would be able too..." , no this is here and now. We're back in the big leagues. No more Hamilton, Hershey, Marlies, or Ice Dogs. We're done with the Wilkes-Berries, and the  Rochester's, it's time for Montreal, Washington, Toronto (boo), Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Buffalo (MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIILLLLLLLLERRRRRRRRRRR) We're back, we're here, and we're ready.
So as we enter the building, we walk up to the ticket guys to scan our tickets, KJ goes ahead and goes in, I literally stopped. I had to take a moment, and realize, this was it, this was the first time in this building as a Jets fan, I was entering it, no longer a Moose season ticket holder, hoping that one day we'd get our team back, but as a Winnipeg Jets season Ticket holder. This is it, I enter, and the moment you enter, it's INSTANT ELECTRICITY. No words can describe the feeling. It really was surreal. We already had it in mind to head down to behind the benches to watch warm up, but were denied. They said that you must go to your section and stay there. (I see the rent a cops are in full force) after some navigating we managed to get down there. As the clock counts down to warm-up the building fills up. I've have to say, it was the most intense warm up count down ever. The clock went so slowly. But when they hit the ice, the building exploded, I'd say there had to be 10000 by that point.
I make my way back to my seats in anticipation for the drop of the puck. As we inch closer and closer, the place inches closer and closer to eruption. The last 3 minutes to game time, tried to be a tribute to old and new, but the place is too loud. Between cheering, and "Go Jets Go" chants, you can barely hear yourself, and you certainly can't hear the PA announcer. I have no idea what song they came out too. When they hit that ice, (I shake my head as I type this) the intensity of the place, the building, the city, just EXPLODES, 15 years, we've been waiting for this moment. It's here. It's pandimodom. They're trying to say the Jets starting lineup but it's crazy. Then, the memorial for the fallen. It was nice that when we all realized it was on the screen, not a soul said anything, no "go jets go" no idiots yelling jets (ala rider fans who cheer during moment of silences) we all give our cheers to the fallen. It was a good tribute. As much of a mood killer as it was, it didn't stop us from chanting during the anthem.
Puck drop. It's here, it's on the ice, and right off the hop, Big Buff makes his presence known, throwing a big hit. CLB, though to their credit, wouldn't roll over, they stood up and took on Big Buff and Stuart in a fight mere seconds in. From that point on we knew we were back, it set the tone, that it wouldn't be easy, that we'd have to earn our stripes, but in our building, we won't lay down.
Now I could go on and on about this game, but I'll speed things up a bit. I can't say enough for the young talent on our team, but I'd like to see how they do against a full NHL team. Scheifele was amazing, but I really was surprised at Paul Postma and Alexander Burmistrov. As great offensively as Postma was, his defence was equally as good. I counted 3 blocked shots and 4 take a ways. Solid defence, including breaking up a potential break a way when it was 2 -1 Jets. But Burmistrov's board work, and Datsyukian Dekes we're unreal for me. The kid has tremendous talent. Hopefully he can be that star we need him to be. Big Buff was a star in him self. The crowd loved him, and he fed off of it, with his big hits, or rough work after the whistle. He'll be loved no matter what the charges are.
Pavi made some unreal saves, and looked at ease in net, I was disappointed that we put Abescher out there in the 3rd when it was only 3 -1. Very risky. Especially because I felt that this was a must win, this and the home opener. You don't disappoint your fans, by laying a goose egg on home soil on opening night. But he held on, so it is moot. But I wasn't a fan of that.
The guy I was disappointed in was Antropov. The guy just looks like a big beast, like him and Buff could destroy people. But he was soooooo slow. @TJCAPS said his board work is good and he looked good but I didn't see that, all I saw was that it looked like Antropov was always at the end of a shift, and he'd just have gotten on the ice. Other than his fight, Patrice Cormier was invisible to me, in fact, just prior to the fight I was looking at the lineup card and said, is Cormier playing???
In the end, our stars shined at home, and our 1st rounder stole the show. Mark Scheifele will be a star one day, but lets hold off the parade giving him a roster spot, let him play one more year in Jr's, because as great as he was offensively, his back checking was very suspect. He had at least 3 give a ways that I remember, and one that led to a break a way (broken up by Postma)
Jets win 6 -1 but lose in CLB's 5 - 1, but all I see is Jets win 7 - 6 against CLB's. 15 years ago, we were gone, 15 years later, we're back. GO JETS GO"

I found Pangers take on Shceifele  interesting. I was one of the people planning the parade last night, but I guess there are things that you see at the game that can't be seen on TV.

Good job Panger, we'll look forward to more from you in the future.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Notes From Penticton

Lucky 7 Hockey panelist "The Expert" made the trip to Penticton last week to check out the new Jets first hand. Below are his notes, and his assessment of the Jets prospects:

"My cousin Ed, who has run our family hockey pool since it's inception in 1977 went to the games with me.  We saw the Oilers and Flames on Wednesday and the Jets and Canucks on Thursday.  His comment was that he could not believe how fast and big the Jets were.  The Canucks would have easily beaten either the Flames or Oiler prospects but they were boys playing against men when it came to he Jets.  Entire shifts were spent in the Canuck zone, Redmond, yuen and the other Jets D were in the rush ALL the time and ready to jump as soon as he puck turned over.  Yuen made a couple of rushes from his own end where you thought he was cornered by a forechecker and spun away to lead the rush.  Redmond was a rock with no flaws he's NHL ready.  Koper was solid, fast and strong but that was he entire Jets team.  He was great in the first game against SJ but was not terribly outstanding in the game I saw.  Klingberg will likely make the team and Scheifele was constantly getting chances.  Reminds me a little of Toews.

Gregoire is also pretty talented but I doubt he could crack the big club this year."

There you have it. Hardly an unbiased source , but a first hand witness none the less. We have the real deal on our hands here folks. Get ready for a wicked ride!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Will The Jets Live In Swaggerville?

An open letter to players

There’s something that you need to know. You’re not in Kansas anymore, or should I say Atlanta. You’re not pro athletes in a fringe sport played in front of 7000 people lured to the rink with free hot dogs. These people know you and they know the game.

These fans have been told by everyone in the hockey world to give up, it’s not happening. For fifteen years they kept working, hoping and dreaming. They kept going to pre season NHL games, world junior games, and Moose games. They rallied as a community to build an NHL calibre rink and practice facility. Still the world told them to give up, go home, and in the words of one particular TSN hockey insider “Be happy with the Manitoba Moose”.  They didn’t listen. These fans clawed their way back from hockey oblivion and spoke up with one voice that made the NHL and the hockey world listen.  When the last of the doubters challenged them to put their money where their mouth was, it happened quickly and without hesitation. On one day in June 248,000 Winnipeg hockey fans logged on to the computer to cast a minimum $5000.00 vote.  Now you have to remember this isn’t like other markets. Season tickets aren’t merely a corporate write off. Real people are making real sacrifices every day to make sure an NHL hockey club stays and thrives in Winnipeg.

So what does that mean to you as you put on a Winnipeg Jets jersey? It means you owe them.

You owe them not just good entertainment, not just an over 500 season, not just a first round play-off berth. You owe them the cup.  Ya, I said it, you owe them the hardest trophy in professional sport to earn. Why? Because they’ve put everything on the line just to give you the chance to compete for it, and because no fan in professional sport deserves a championship more than hockey fans in Winnipeg.

Think about it every time you lace them up. These fans do more than just pay your salary, they believe in you and they believe in the game. So ask yourself this; Are you man enough to play for these fans? We’ll find out.

An open letter to fans

Here we are, we have arrived. An NHL team called the Winnipeg Jets is skating in Manitoba once again, and as always the Manitoba hockey fan has gone the extra mile to show support. When 2000 people show up to a pre-season practice and drown out the coaches with Go-Jets-Go, you know this town is ready for a season of NHL hockey. There is however something to keep in mind, you deserve more than you got the last time around.

I keep hearing about a honeymoon period where expectations will be low in Winnipeg and the average hockey fan will be happy just to see an NHL club again. I would caution against this type of thinking. While it’s true we’re all grateful to see the club back on the ice again, we can’t let mediocrity creep back into our mindset like it did with the previous version of the Jets. How many of us remember always bracing for a loss but hoping for a win? How many times did we feel like making the playoffs was something to be thankful for?
Not this time. Personally, I want more. I want this club to be an elite club, where winning is expected and not just hoped for, where making the play-offs is a given, not a pleasant surprise. Now I know, technically we still need to build, I get that, but establishing how we go about our business is something that starts now. We need to establish swaggerville not just in the summer and fall, but all year round. This club needs to establish a dominance of character right from the start.

Now does that mean being a schizophrenic “trade em all” fan every time we lose and a “plan the parade” fan every time we win? No.  But what it does mean is giving our selves permission to dream big, it means letting ourselves want the cup.

So take it all in, enjoy the NHL once again, but keep in mind these players work for you. You are the ones who brought them back and you are the ones who will make sure they succeed. Keep pushing, keep wanting more and good things will happen.  As the season gets under way ask yourself this; will the Jets live in swaggerville?

Monday, September 12, 2011

A New Era

Tonight something special is going to happen. A team will once again hit the ice under the moniker “Winnipeg Jets”. Later this week these same Jets will play teams named the Vancouver Canucks, and Edmonton Oilers, for the first time in a long time.  The new Jets era will have begun with the rookies invading Penticton and it all just seems so very surreal. After all the tragedy the hockey world has endured these last few months, it truly seems as though the start of the Jets season will mark a new beginning and a chance for everyone to put the recent and not so recent past behind them.

Today I opened my Twitter feed and read the sour news that the last remaining Lokamotiv player, Alexander Galimov had died of injuries he sustained in the devastating plane crash of just a few days ago. I'm hoping this is the last body blow that hockey fans have to face before the start of a new season. Not so recently the deaths of Boogard, Rypien, and Belak caused us all to look at the role of fighting and the enforcer. They also smashed open the silence that surrounded depression and pro sports. Still we could somehow make sense of this and try to fix the issues that had afflicted these individuals (A task that is ongoing). But then fate dealt us something we couldn’t make sense of. The cruel hand of probability took away an entire pro-hockey team in Russia. Sure we could blame shotty regulations, bad fuel, and old planes but it was hard to compute the loss of an entire team. Familiar names from the NHL and up and coming young Russian players were erased in seconds. The KHL, Russia, and hockey fans around the world where left reeling.

So, while going through my twitter feed this morning, I was feeling particularly surely after the news of Galimovs death. I saw some inflammatory tweets by Phoenix sports DJ Roc, from Roc and Manuch. I decided to get into it with him and traded jabs online. It was in trading comments with him that I had a bit of a realization; I don’t have to do this anymore. I think my opponent may have also sensed this as well and the discussion evolved into something civil. We both reluctantly agreed there was no need to carry over the bitterness of the last three years. It was something that was hard to accept in a way, because there had been so much bitter acrimony which remains to this day. But really I have my team back so why carry on with the old grudges? Phoenix will either find its support or it won’t, they are not the old Jets anymore, they are simply the Coyotes now.

So with all of that behind us, we all need something to feel good about, and the rookie tournament seems to fit the bill nicely with a showcase of up and coming stars.  Of course all eyes will be on the first round pick Mark Schiefel who received a nice round of applause at rookie camp last week. Word is that he's serious about cracking the pro line up and his development arc is still climbing steadily.  Even though Mark is saying he wants to crack the line up this year, I’m almost positive it would be a mistake to bring him up for any length of time. Personally I'll be looking at Zach Yuen, of whom I have high hopes. By all accounts he's a well developed all around person that excels at most of the things he does, which includes stopping opposing forwards, and holding down the point. He's a smart shutdown guy that has crazy plus minus numbers in tri-cities. The one thing he needs is size, and hopefully Mother Nature along with a harsh workout regiment will help him with that. I’m looking forward to getting back to "business as usual" from a fan perspective and seeing these young guys in action will help in getting us ready for the big show.

So in more ways than one this fall will be a renewal,a new start for Jets and hockey fans everywhere. The young guns will kick it off and then the pros will come together next week to start their camp in a prelude to the exhibition play and then ultimately the start of a new campaign. Hopefully we can leave the events of this summer and the past few years behind and focus on the game. It certainly will be fun to beat the Oilers again and the Coyotes for the first time. Let’s play hockey!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Jersey Show


Ta da! The new jerseys have arrived! Sweatshops across Asia are racing into action as we speak. What does it all mean? It means that all the pomp and ceremony leading up to the season is almost done and we can start talking about wins and losses. The boys now have a logo and duds to put a logo on, so lets play hockey. I for one am starting to tire of announcements, proclamations and feel good news stories. I want to see this team in action, and it can't come soon enough.

True North, to their credit has done an excellent job of ratcheting up Jets mania to a fever pitch. I would imagine by the time October rolls around Jets fans will be spontaneously combusting in the street due to the pure, sweet frustration of anticipating the first game. I for one am eager to see the effects of how a team goes from basically zero fan support, to religiously zealous fan support in one year. The key players seem to be relishing their new found role as local heroes and so the question that has been lingering in my mind is; will this translate into a bump in on ice performance? As a Jets supporter I'm banking on it, but as an observer of the sport it will be interesting to see how the mythical extra man really does affect a team.

Now for a bit of cold water. One thing nagged at me as the boys stepped off the Herc with the new jerseys on; whats going on with Bogosian? Training camp starts in two weeks, players are in town attending press conferences and working out, so where's our defenseman of the future? We've heard rumours of him holding out for stupid money, so I can't help but wonder, will this team hit the ice without him? I for one certainly hope some sort of deal is in the works to either sign him for a reasonable price, or move him for a good forward. I can see this being a potential distraction if it plays out through training camp.

Ok, now all the pieces of the puzzle are in place. Hopefully this is the last big media show, until the big show in October. Like all fans, all I really want to do is watch hockey. Lets get on with it.

Notes On Swaggerville

I had the pleasure of being in Regina for a wedding on the labour day long weekend and I can honestly say I felt as though two hurricanes had collided. Every cashier, bellhop, and server was wearing some form of rider gear. Everywhere I looked, I saw rider green. As impressive as that was, leading up to the day of the game Blue and Gold started to dot the landscape, and swaggerville came into full effect. My hat goes off to the fans of both cities for showing impressive CFL fanaticism. I sincerely hope the Jets will catch some of that swagger this winter.