With five defensemen down, how is Winnipeg going to stay competitive?

Jared Clinton
Michael Hutchinson Featured

Someone ought to ask Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice and GM Kevin Cheveldayoff who exactly they wronged to deserve losing five of their six starting defensemen, because at this point it’s starting to get cruel.

Before Monday’s game, it was revealed that Jets blueliner Grant Clitsome would be sidelined with an undisclosed injury and that he would be on the shelf on a day-to-day basis. However, it’s believed he’ll be out for at least a week or two. Clitsome adds to a list of injured rearguards that includes Toby Enstrom, Zach Bogosian, Jacob Trouba, and Mark Stuart. With so many defensemen sidelined, how will Winnipeg survive in the tough Western Conference? Read more

Couture fires puck into Sharks bench, injures teammate Hertl

Jared Clinton
Hertl

If you’ve been to a hockey game at any professional level, you’ve certainly heard the announcement to always keep your eye on the puck because it travels at high speeds and can cause injury if it leaves the playing surface. San Jose Sharks winger Tomas Hertl is living proof of the damage a flying puck can do.

During Monday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets, Hertl’s teammate Logan Couture turned to a fire a puck out of the Sharks zone on a penalty kill. His accuracy was just a bit off, as the puck went zooming into the San Jose bench, striking Hertl in the face. Read more

Five vastly underrated players from this season’s first half

Colin Wilson. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Not every team can be filled with Crosbys and Malkins or Getzlafs and Perrys. And for every Steven Stamkos, you have five middle of the lineup players that give a game-in and game-out effort that helps propel a team to success.

With the advent of advanced statistics, it becomes somewhat easier to pick these players out. For instance, you can find the players driving play and maintaining puck possession or you can see the player who may be underachieving in point categories but still creating opportunities for his linemates. The following five players are the best of the rest, and while they may not get headlines, they’re certainly getting noticed. Read more

Canada’s vets eye gold, but won’t forget the past

Nic Petan (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

On paper, Canada should have run roughshod over Slovakia, a team they waxed 8-0 in the round robin. But as the Canucks learned in last year’s semifinal, when they fell unceremoniously to Finland before losing the bronze to Russia, those cliches about taking things one game at a time are spoken for a reason.

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The world’s best hockey fan? It might just be the Winnipeg Jets’ Dancin’ Gabe

The Hockey News
Dancing Gabe has become a fan favorite in Winnipeg. (John Woods/Winnipeg Free Press)

By Geoff Kirbyson

Aside from the odd player on the opposition bench and a few on the home side, Gabe Langlois is the best-known person at every Winnipeg Jets home game. Known simply as ‘Dancing Gabe,’ the 51-year-old has ingrained himself in Winnipeg’s sporting culture over the past quarter century for his unparalleled fandom and his unmatched dancing skills.

Whether it’s the Jets, the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers, baseball’s Winnipeg Goldeyes or high school sporting events around town, Langlois is there, showing off a soft sneaker whenever the music plays.

You want popularity? Cults would kill to have the following he has. Consider the fans who gathered at the intersection of Portage and Main in Winnipeg to celebrate the return of the NHL in May 2011. When Langlois joined the throng, the chants of “Go, Jets, Go!” were quickly replaced by “Gabe, Gabe, Gabe!” and he was mobbed for pictures and high fives. Read more

Canadian coach Groulx takes bold step in starting Eric Comrie vs. USA

Eric Comrie  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

BROSSARD, Que. – The good thing about naming Eric Comrie the starting goaltender for Canada’s pivotal game against USA New Year’s Eve is he won’t have to harken back very far to recall the biggest game of his life.

“Probably my first World Junior game against Germany a couple of days ago,” Comrie said when asked about the biggest stage upon which he has ever played. “I’m just going to get ready for the next one.” Read more

Eric Comrie to start for Canada in New Year’s Eve game vs. USA

Ken Campbell
Eric Comrie  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

BROSSARD, Que. – In something of a mild surprise, Hockey Canada announced that Eric Comrie of the Tri-City Americans will be in goal when Canada and USA meet in the New Year’s Eve game that will decide Group A in the World Junior Championship.

Even though Hockey Canada has expressed confidence in both Comrie and Zach Fucale, it seemed Fucale was the frontrunner for the No. 1 job, given that the Montreal Canadiens prospect played for last year’s team and was the starter in two of Canada’s first three games, allowing only one goal on 40 shots. Comrie, meanwhile, stopped all 17 shots he faced in Canada’s 4-0 win over Germany.

Comrie, the 59th overall selection of the Winnipeg Jets in 2013, has been a standout for Tri-City this season. He is the younger half-brother of former NHLer Mike Comrie. Another older half-brother, Paul, played 15 games for the Edmonton Oilers and Comrie’s younger brother, Ty, is a 17-year-old center for the Tri-City Americans.

More to follow.

World Juniors: Why Denmark is no longer just “happy to be here”

Nikolaj Ehlers, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Mads Eller expect victories for their improving nation. (photo by Steve Russell/Toronto Star)

It was a play that transcended a single game.

Winless Denmark found itself deadlocked with the winless Czech Republic in a crucial Group B affair Monday afternoon, and Winnipeg Jets prospect Nikolaj Ehlers found the puck on his stick with his Danes on a power play early in the third period. Using his eye-popping speed, Ehlers zoomed into the high slot, charging up a wrister before surprising everyone on the ice with a gorgeous backdoor pass onto Mathias Asperup’s stick. Easy goal, 3-2 lead for the Danes.

In the end, the go-ahead marker didn’t stop the Czechs from tying the game and winning in overtime on a beautiful goal from Bruins 2014 first-rounder David Pastrnak. And the Czechs largely deserved the victory, having outshot Denmark 47-14. Still, seeing Ehlers make a play that exotic, that skilled, said something more significant. It wasn’t a good goal “for Denmark.” It was an elite play by an elite young player for an emerging nation. It reminded us to take these Danes more seriously than we ever have.

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