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Heritage Classic Presser Reaction

As you no doubt know by now, the Jets unveiled the jerseys and alumni rosters for October's Heritage Classic, and your boy went down to Portage and Main to see for himself. Here's my reaction to what went down, because that's clearly not an already saturated market.

The Uniforms

The Jets went back a long way for their jerseys, basing the design heavily on the uniforms worn during the original Jets' WHA days. You can take a look at them here (thanks to WHAuniforms). The white uniforms use the circular logos worn by many of Winnipeg's beloved pros from 1973 through 1990. They have a blue shoulder yoke and three spaced stripes, blue-red-blue, at the elbow area. The collar is red and blue, with a cross-over pattern like the Oilers' throwbacks last season. The jerseys use block numbers, the same kind seen on Chicago and the Islanders' jerseys, in blue with red outline. For the majority of the WHA years, they wore red pants, with two blue stripes down the outsides of the legs, which are all retained here. The socks are identical to the aforementioned arm pattern. The helmets are white and have the same number and logo designs as the jerseys, exactly where you'd expect to see them. As for what's different about the jerseys, the shade of blue used is the navy blue of the modern Jets, rather than the royal blues of the classic look. The Heritage Classic logo appears on the right shoulder. There appears to be a small logo in between the two blue stripes down the legs of the pants, of a white box with a red circle with a white jet inside it. The nameplate is in a more vertical kind of type than the original versions. Of course, the whole jersey is Reebok EDGE, complete with the longer curved tail and the wee little NHL patch in the collar. The entire look is shown off in a video in this tweet.

Speaking of those Oilers' throwbacks, the Oilers are using the same throwbacks as they unveiled last season to commemorate the final season of Rexall Place.

I am going to be completely honest with all of you, I'm not the biggest fan of these jerseys. It's not so much that it's a bad design, so much as the overall package doesn't do anything for me personally. Firstly, I don't like the prevalence of navy blue in the NHL these days. One look at Sportslogos.net, and you see all the official logos of NHL teams, and even the ones worn on brighter blue jerseys are navy. It's not an eye-catching colour. I never liked the NHL patch in the collar, and I never liked the Jets' use of red pants. It just looks too "New York Rangers" or "Columbus Blue Jackets" for my liking. Additionally, I think the Jets took too much of a Lou Lamoriello-with-the-Devils approach to designing the sweaters. Granted, the Jets aren't just re-using a specialty jersey, and Heritage Classics don't have as experimental a design as Winter Classics or Stadium Series, but the new jerseys are simply a boring recolouring, and nothing really new. Perhaps using the 90s logo rather than the 80s logo would have helped.

The Alumni Rosters

A major part of the announcement was the release of the Alumni Game rosters. While you can see them here, I will list them all here for completeness' sake, along with the stats they posted with their respective teams.

Winnipeg

G - 35 - Bob Essensa (281 GP, 116-114-32, 0.894 Save%, 3.14 GAA, 14 SO) - 1988/89-1993/94

D - 44 - Dave Babych (390 GP, 73G, 248A, 321 PTS) - 1980/81-1985/86

D - 2 - Dave Ellett (475 GP, 95G, 204A, 299 PTS) - 1984/85-1990/91

D - 3 - Mike Ford (WHA - 179 GP, 28G, 79A, 107 PTS) - 1974/75-1975/76, 1976/77-1977/78

D - 6 - Jim Kyte (399 GP, 11G, 25A, 36 PTS) - 1982/83-1988/89

D - 33 - Mario Marois (255 GP, 17G, 116A, 133 GP) - 1985/86-1988/89, 1991/92

D - 22 - Moe Mantha (318 GP, 31G, 125A, 156 PTS) - 1980/81-1983/84, 1989/90-1991/92

D - 27 - Teppo Numminen (547 GP, 53G, 212A, 265 PTS) - 1988/89-1995/96

D - 7 - Tim Watters (438 GP, 21G, 101A, 122 PTS) - 1981/82-1987/88

C - 10 - Dale Hawerchuk (713 GP, 379G, 550A, 929 PTS) - 1981/82-1989/90

C - 25 - Thomas Steen (950 GP, 264G, 553A, 817 PTS) - 1981/82-1994/95

R - 13/8 - Teemu Selanne (231 GP, 147G, 159A, 306 PTS) - 1992/93-1995/96

C - 16 - Laurie Boschman (526 GP, 152G, 227A, 379 PTS) - 1982/83-1989/90

L - 36 - Mike Eagles (293 GP, 21G, 46A, 67 PTS) - 1990/91-1994/95

L - 17 - Kris King (260 GP, 25G, 29A, 54 PTS) - 1992/93-1995/96

L - 12 - Morris Lukowich (WHA - 80 GP, 65G, 34A, 99 PTS) (NHL - 431 GP, 168G, 177A, 345 PTS) - 1978/79-1984/85

R - 20 - Andrew McBain (408 GP, 101G, 129A, 230 PTS) - 1983/84-1988/89

R - 19 - Brian Mullen (372 GP, 124G, 172A, 296 PTS) - 1982/83-1986/87

L - 34 - Darrin Shannon (311 GP, 64G, 124A, 188 PTS) - 1991/92-1995/96

L - 9 - Doug Smail (691 GP, 189G, 208A, 397 PTS) - 1980/81-1990/91

C - 24 - Ron Wilson (536 GP, 75G, 134A, 209 PTS) - 1979/80-1987/88

Coaches - Tom McVie, Serge Savard

Edmonton

G - 31 - Grant Fuhr (423 GP, 226-117-54, 0.882 Save%, 3.69 GAA, 9 SO)

G - 30 - Bill Ranford (449 GP, 167-193-54, 0.887 Save%, 3.51 GAA, 8 SO)

G - 35 - Dwayne Roloson (193 GP, 78-82-24, 0.909 Save%, 2.78 GAA, 6 SO)

D - 4 - Kevin Lowe (1037 GP, 74G, 309A, 383 PTS) - 1979/80-1991/92, 1996/97-1997/98

D - 7 - Paul Coffey (532 GP, 209G, 460A, 669 PTS) - 1980/81-1986/87

D - 22 - Charlie Huddy (694 GP, 81G, 287A, 368 PTS) - 1980/81-1990/91

D - 21 - Randy Gregg (453 GP, 40G, 148A, 188 PTS) - 1982/83-1989/90

D - 33 - Marty McSorley (206 GP, 24G, 36A, 60 PTS) - 1985/86-1987/88

C - 99 - Wayne Gretzky (WHA - 72 GP, 43G, 61A, 104 PTS) (NHL - 696 GP, 583G, 1086A, 1669 PTS) - 1978/79-1987/88

L - 27 - Dave Semenko (WHA - 142 GP, 16G, 20A, 36 PTS) (NHL - 454 GP, 59G, 77A, 136 PTS) - 1977/78-1986/87

C - 11 - Mark Messier (851 GP, 392G, 642A, 1034 PTS) - 1979/80-1990/91

R - 9 - Glenn Anderson (845 GP, 417G, 489A, 906 PTS) - 1980/81-1990/91, 1995/96

R - 17 - Jari Kurri (754 GP, 474G, 569A, 1043 PTS) - 1980/81-1989/90

R - 16 - Kelly Buchberger (795 GP, 82G, 158A, 240 PTS) - 1987/88-1998/99

C - 13 - Ken Linseman (200 GP, 58G, 120A, 178 PTS) - 1982/83-1983/84, 1990/91

C - 14 - Craig MacTavish (701 GP, 155G, 176A, 331 PTS) - 1985/86-1993/94

L - 18 - Craig Simpson (419 GP, 185G, 180A, 365 PTS) - 1987/88-1992/93

L - 94 - Ryan Smyth (971 GP, 296G, 335A, 631 PTS) - 1994/95-2006/07, 2011/12-2013/14

L - 10 - Esa Tikkanen (522 GP, 178G, 258A, 436 PTS) - 1985/86-1992/93

R - 14 - Blair "BJ" MacDonald (WHA - 339 GP, 118G, 124A, 242 PTS) (NHL - 131 GP, 65G, 72A, 137 PTS) - 1973/74-1975/76, 1977/78-1980/81

Coaches - Ron Low, Glen Sather

Alumni Snubs

There are a handful of Jets players who I was expecting to see named to the alumni team. It didn't happen, but here are the names I expected to see.

Alexei Zhamnov

A fourth-round pick of the Jets in 1990, Zhamov was the team's top centre during the mid-1990s. He enjoyed his best years in the pre-lockout years, but was still an effective centre through the Jets' relocation. He was traded to Chicago for Jeremy Roenick before the Coyotes began play. He scored 267 points (103G, 164A) in 235 games for the Jets between the 1992/93 and 1995/96 seasons. He is the GM of HC Spartak Moscow in the KHL.

Keith Tkachuk

The 19th overall pick used to select Tkachuk was part of the return in the 1990 blockbuster for Dale Hawerchuk. He was one of Winnipeg's most dominant players during his stint with the Jets, and spent some time as the team's captain. He spent nearly all of the 2000s with the St. Louis Blues, save for the tail end of the 2006/07 season, when he was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers, which would have made him unique for being an alum of both the old and new Jets. He scored 289 points (144G, 145A) in 308 games for the Jets between the 1991/92 and 1995/96 seasons. In his stint with the Thrashers, he scored 15 points (7G, 8A) in 18 games.

Ed Olczyk

Remember that clip from 1995 of a guy saying that if the Coyotes won a Cup in Phoenix, that "IT'S COMING BACK TO WINNIPEG!"? That's Olczyk. Ironically, he never played in Phoenix. The current NBC broadcaster scored 201 points (95G, 106A) in 214 games across two stints with the Jets, first from the 1990/91 through 1992/93 seasons, and from the 1994/95 through 1995/96 seasons.

Tie Domi

They let Kris King in right, so where's Domi? He was on the ice starting a fight when Teemu Selanne scored the rookie-record-setting goal in 92/93. Domi scored 40 points (15G, 25A) in 161 games for the Jets between the 1992/93 and 1994/95 seasons.

Phil Housley

Housley was one of the most prolific defencemen to play for the Jets, joining the team in the trade that sent Hawerchuk to the Sabres. A recent addition to the Hockey Hall of Fame, Housley is currently an assistant coach for the Nashville Predators. Housley scored 259 points (64G, 195A) in 232 games for the Jets between the 1990/91 and 1992/93 seasons.

Nikolai Khabibulin

The "Bulin Wall" got his start in the NHL as the original Jets were packing their bags. Far more well-known for his run to the 2004 Stanley Cup, Khabibulin wound being the second-to-last Jet 1.0 to retire, calling it quits in November 2015 after being out since 2013/14 due to a hip injury. Khabibulin posted a 34-29-7 record, 0.904 Save%, 2.89 GAA, and two shutouts in 79 games between the 1994/95 and 1995/96 seasons.

Oilers Snubs

A notable snub from the dynasty years was Mike Krushelnyski, who had his best single NHL season in his first year with the Oilers, and was part of the Gretzky trade to Los Angeles. To get the number of defencemen up to eight to match Winnipeg, I'd suggest Steve Smith and Janne Niinimaa. Smith, who is best known for the own goal that cost the Oilers a spot in the 1986 Cup Final, had some pretty strong offensive years with the Oilers, and Niinimaa was a productive defenceman for Edmonton during the late 1990s and early 2000s. They are fourth and sixth all-time, respectively, in defenceman scoring for the Oilers. I also feel it's important to recognize that 2006 Cup Final appearance. To that end, the last defenceman would be Chris Pronger, who scored 56 points while captaining the Oilers to the Final, assuming he'd be up for it in light of his post-concussion symptoms. If not Pronger, then recently retired Lubomir Visnovsky, who scored more than a half-a-point per game in his late-2000s stint with the Oilers. Other than that, Jimmy Carson, who had his second-best NHL season following his arrival in the Gretzky trade, would be a good alum.

Captaincy Announcement?

Many peoples' interests were piqued when it was announced that Blake Wheeler would be the only Jet on hand to model the new throwbacks. Many were expecting Wheeler's jersey to have a "C" on it, making for a secondary announcement, without any fanfare, that Wheeler would be the next captain, sort of like how they announced the team name when picking Mark Scheifele in the 2011 draft and never spoke of the announcement again. Obviously you know by now that that didn't happen. Wheeler's jersey didn't even have an "A". However, something peculiar has appeared on the NHL's twitter page:

Either the NHL actually spoiled that Wheeler and Edmonton's Jordan Eberle would are going to be captains, or those images were made when Andrew Ladd was still captain and Taylor Hall was expected to get the "C".

Some Video

Winnipeg Jets Alumni Roster Announcement

That's Winnipeg Jets 1.0 legend Dale Hawerchuk announcing the names on the Jets alumni roster.

And there's the day. Everything you need to know about the announcement and my thoughts on it.