Saturday night was the last emotional rollercoaster in the abnormal season that the Winnipeg Jets have had to partake in. Teemu Selanne made his long-awaited return into town and the Jets fans showed just how much he is still loved in town. I personally loved the first few minutes as when Teemu hit the ice any Ducks player that touched the puck was booed and as soon as Selanne touched it he was cheered. When Teemu had a few quick touches then passed it off it became somewhat humourous but the Winnipeg crowd showed their passion for their former star and in the end for their current Jets.
Loud chants of G-S-T, unrelenting hazing of Dan Elis. The Winnipeg crowd had their fun honouring Selanne in their own way while the Jets jumped to an early 2-0 lead but as the Ducks clawed back the fans turned their energy to helping their Jets. It truly showed just how intelligent a Winnipeg hockey crowd is.
Teemu received several standing ovations and was cheered throughout the game including both times his name was announced as he assisted on 2 of the 3 Ducks goals that night. He also had a fitting farewell moment as he was named the games 3rd star.
The only disappointment I had with this night was actually with CBC who decided that Selanne didn’t deserve a star in their selection and instead gave it to Perry. CBC failed throughout to realize the importance of this night to its Winnipeg fans cutting to commercial instead of staying with the game and airing the Teemu tribute that was planned.
Thankfully the Anaheim broadcast was smart enough to stay and you can view that video clip on their site.
Also lacking by CBC was the game outside of the Winnipeg broadcast region. They need to learn that the Leafs are not a team most people outside of Toronto want to see and they could and should look at the significance of the games they have and play the one in most demand. Last nights game was arguably as big a deal as the home opener yet it got very little special treatment by CBC except for a few mentions of Teemu coming back and interviews leading up to it. Even the post game cut back to the Leafs post game on the web feed of the game was ridiculous.
But lets focus on the good that happened tonight and perhaps the most important thing to remember was the win and two points moved the Jets to ninth and one point out of a playoff spot just behind the free-falling Leafs. It also keeps Anaheim down in the bottom of the West just above Columbus and keeps that fleeting hope alive that if the Ducks are out of the playoffs Teemu may be traded to the Jets.
I stated on our podcast this week that would only happen if the Jets were solidly in a playoff spot and a cup contender. After seeing the reaction last night and how it effected Teemu I think that if the Ducks are out of the playoffs and the Jets are contenders to make them that Teemu could be traded back in a similar fashion that Ryan Smyth was sent back to Edmonton this offseason. That would mean the Ducks would not get a lot back in return other than the feeling of doing something nice for a player that helped you win a Stanley Cup.
Likely though that was the last time we’ll see the Finnish Flash play an NHL game at the MTS Centre, and it was a great night for Jets fans and a touching night for Teemu.
Thanks for the memories Teemu and we hold out hope you might be back in the Peg come March.