Jets to 'stick' it to fans
KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency
|Fans cheer the Winnipeg Jets against the New York Islanders during National Hockey League action at the MTS Centre, Dec. 20, 2011. (JASON HALSTEAD/QMI Agency)
A sign in the crowd on Tuesday night said, ‘All I want for Christmas is Big Buf’s stick.’
Now that youngster can get that stick, and he won’t even have to wrestle grown men for it, as the team is now selling game-used sticks in its Jets Gear store.
The sticks hit the shelves this week, and they’re already hot-selling items.
“The reason it’s for sale is there’s a thirst for it amongst the public. They’re game-used sticks that aren’t snapped in half or broken. They’re sticks that players don’t want to use anymore,” True North’s senior director of communications, Scott Brown, said Tuesday.
“Anything to do with the hockey team right now is popular, especially at this time of year. Things particularly that are directly connected to the players, you can imagine the popularity of those items.”
It’s not a new concept in Winnipeg. The Manitoba Moose sold used sticks and gloves, but “it just didn’t have the same fanfare,” Brown said.
There’s a chance the Jets Gear store could also sell gloves and other Jets game-worn equipment in the future, but Brown couldn’t promise anything.
“What exactly will be available going down the road is determined between the store and the locker-room,” Brown said.
DANGEROUS HEAD GAMES
The newest concussion-related problem is starting to gain attention in the NHL.
Maple Leafs forward Colby Armstrong made headlines this week when he concealed concussion symptoms, hoping they would go away and enable him to keep playing. They didn’t go away, and now he’s out indefinitely.
Jets centre Jim Slater knows all about concussions, having missed the second half of last season because of one. He realizes in the old days it was normal to hide a concussion, but not anymore.
“In the past it was tough,” Slater said. “Nobody wants to come out of the lineup. You know there’s another guy waiting there to take your spot. Colby’s a pretty established player in the league. Obviously he felt a reason not to say anything. I don’t know what the reason was, but it came back to take him down.
“Nowadays, it’s very important to speak up and tell the trainers how you’re feeling and what’s going on with you.”
Jets head coach Claude Noel, whose career ended on a severe concussion in what was going to be his final season anyway, said it’s crucial players be up front about their symptoms.
“You want your players to be forthcoming on injuries, regardless of what they are. There’s so much attention on concussions and head shots now, you really want to know for sure.”
Noel said he could see Antti Miettinen on a line higher than the third, which is where he made his debut for the Jets on Tuesday night with Tanner Glass and Jim Slater. Miettinen had 15 minutes of ice time and one shot … Jets netminder Ondrej Pavelec made 31 saves in the 3-2 shootout loss to the Islanders, and several of them were stellar. “I thought Pavelec was good,” Noel said. “He played real strong. He really helped us. We’ll thank him for that point.” … Jets centre Nik Antropov’s first-period goal was his first in seven games.