down the "neutral zone trap" button
until the game ended 0-0.
No matter what you think about the viability of hockey in Atlanta, you have to be happy for long-suffering Winnipeg hockey fans. They never gave up on the NHL, even after the devastation of losing their beloved Jets at the end of the 1995-96 season. Fifteen long years later, their loyalty is about to be rewarded.
But while Winnipeg hockey fans have every reason to be excited, they may be in for a shock. After all, the NHL is a very different league today than it was the last time the Jets were on the ice. Winnipeg fans are in for a major adjustment.
I want to help. So as a service to Winnipeg-based readers, here's a handy guide to the various ways the league has changed since the last time you pulled on your Jets jersey and went to a game.
1996 - The Atlanta Thrashers don't exist yet.
2011 - The Atlanta Thrashers don't exist any more.
1996 - Claude Lemieux earns the contempt of the entire hockey world after driving Kris Draper face first into the boards during the Western Conference Finals.
2011 - Since the play didn't involve a leaping elbow to the head or somebody eating a metal stanchion, it would probably result in Lemieux winning the Lady Byng.
1996 - Goaltender Grant Fuhr sets a new league record by playing in a total of 79 games.
2011 - Goaltender Rick DiPietro sets a new personal record by playing for a total of 79 minutes.
1996 - Cam Neely plays his final game for the Boston Bruins.
2011 - Cam Neely is apparently the Boston Bruins' executive vice-president in charge of grimacing angrily next to Peter Chiarelli three dozen times every game.
1996 - If your team's game day staff is really hip and cutting edge, they spend the whole game playing music from 1996.
2011 - If your team's game day staff is really hip and cutting edge, they spend the whole game playing music from 1998.
1996 - The Florida Panthers were swept by the Colorado Avalanche in the finals.
2011 - Having learned a valuable lesson from that experience, the Florida Panthers haven't lost another playoff series in ten years.
1996 - Was one of your favourite NHL seasons ever, although everything just seemed better back then when you were younger.
2011 - Wait, if that was how old you were fifteen years ago then now that would make you… carry the one… man. That can't be right. Oh man. (Stares sadly into mirror for rest of morning.)
1996 - The Tampa Bay Lightning have only existed for a few seasons, and nobody really knows what to make of their fans.
2011 - Lightning fans are so well-liked around the league that players will occasionally stop to offer them a refreshing drink from their water bottle.
1996 - Everyone assumes that unfortunate financial realties will force the team in Winnipeg to move south in the near future.
2011 - Same.
1996 - After you were done reading about the Jets, you could turn to other pages of your newspaper and find stories about the Hartford Whalers, Vancouver Grizzlies and Montreal Expos.
2011 - Young fans probably don't even know they ever existed. Newspapers, I mean.
1996 - Jim Carey of the Capitals wins the Vezina trophy in his first full season, but never comes close to achieving that level of success again and is out of the league within a few years.
2011 - Young goalies never come out of nowhere to have hot starts to their career and then flame out, your Maple Leaf fan friend repeatedly assures you between shots of tequila.
1996 - Hockey fans in Winnipeg cheer for the Jets, love the Jets, and are undyingly loyal to the Jets, and you'd have to be an idiot to think they'd ever want to watch a team that was called anything other than the Winnipeg Jets.
2011 - Um, yeah… about that…