WINNIPEG – The Winnipeg Jets may have felt like guests at their own house party at times on Saturday night.
Anaheim Ducks star Teemu Selanne's first NHL appearance in Winnipeg in nearly 16 years has generated countless written words this week. Winnipeg hockey fans took every opportunity on Saturday night to roar their approval for the long-departed Winnipeg legend, who received ovations before the national anthems and his first shift as well as another round of cheers during the first television time-out early in the first period.
"It's a difficult situation to deal with that because you're in your home rink," Jets coach Claude Noel said, "and they're cheering for an opponent. It's almost like you've got mixed messages coming your way. I thought that early in the game, it almost looked like we were confused."
SOG: 97 | +/-: 2
"We've been a part of a lot of great games and historic games this year," Jets captain Andrew Ladd said.
Jets fans directed boos at Anaheim first-liners Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry at one moment before the boos turned to cheers seconds later when the puck made its way to Selanne.
"The fans had to do a lot of work, the booing and cheering at the same time," Ladd remarked, "so kudos to them for figuring that out."
But Ladd and his teammates recognized the significance of the occasion for Winnipeg fans.
"[Selanne has] done some special things in this League, the 76 goals he scored here. He's had an amazing career, so it's nice for him to be able to get acknowledged by the fans, and hopefully he enjoyed it."