Earlier this week, the resurrected Winnipeg Jets played their first home game in 15 years at the new MTS Centre in downtown Winnipeg. The Jets triumphed in the preseason exhibition game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Ecstatic Winnipeg fans were in a frenzy. Here's the scene as described by sports writer Roy MacGregor of The Globe and Mail:
"In 2011," the MTS Centre scoreboard read, "The NHL Returned to the Greatest Fans in the World."
And it certainly seemed so. They screamed throughout the warm-up and sang O Canada as if the players on the ice had just won Olympic gold.
And then they got really loud. A mere 37 seconds into . . . [the] game, Byfuglian levelled Columbus's Cody Bass with a single punch -- Bass likely unaware of Byfuglian's mood, given that the big Winnipeg defenceman had been formally charged only hours earlier by Minnesota police for allegedly being under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol while operating his boat in late August.
Once the fighting penalties had been served, it was Byfuglian setting up Paul Postma for a point shot that became the reborn Jets first goal . . . of the new era.
*sigh* Oh yeah, baby, now that's sweet hockey. Very sweet indeed.
Welcome home, boys! All is right with the world again.
[Photo by Phil Hossack of the Winnipeg Free Press]