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Jets Journal: Memory Lane

by Kristi Hennessy / Winnipeg Jets
The Jets hit the road early Wednesday afternoon to embark on their first regular season road trip of the year, a two-game stint starting off in Chicago against the Blackhawks on Thursday night at 7:30 pm (TSN and TSN-Jets). They will then continue to Phoenix for a date with the Coyotes on Saturday at 6:00pm (CBC).

The first road game is always an exciting one for everyone on the plane. For Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd, this is an exciting trip down memory lane.  The two former Blackhawks have not returned to the windy city since being traded to Atlanta in the off-season after helping lead the Hawks to a Stanley Cup Championship in 2010.

Ladd in particular is looking forward to being reunited with his former teammates and is excited to relive a few fond memories.

“I’m pretty good friends with a lot of the guys who are still there,” said Ladd. “I talk to a lot of them on a regular basis and we’ll probably go out for dinner tomorrow night before the game. Once we hit the ice, it’s business as usual. We’ll probably have a laugh after the game too.”

As for ‘business as usual’, what can we expect on the ice between these two teams?

“I’m sure there will be a little bit [of chirping],” smirked Ladd. “We’re both competitive groups and it’s always fun to get the upper hand on the other team so we’ll be looking to get the two points. That’s going to be the biggest thing for us.”

The banner that hangs in the United Center is a reminder of the successful 2009-10 season for the Chicago Blackhawks. Ladd says that’s the first thing he’ll look for when he arrives.

“Not having been back since we won, it’s going to be a pretty cool to go back in there and see the banner and a lot of the training staff and people in the office who were a big part of that team,” said Ladd. “There are so many great memories when you go through something like that. It’ll be god to see everyone but it’ll be nice to get a win in there too.”

The Blackhawks are a young, successful team who have played together for a while and proven that they know how to win. They play with confidence and cleverness, two traits that can be very tough to play against.

“They have a good team with some highly skilled guys,” said Jets coach Claude Noel. “We’ll have to watch out for guys like [Patrick] Kane and [Jonathan] Toews. They play with speed and quickness and they know how to play. We’ll get a good chance to measure up against them.”

One could argue that it might be tough to compare the two teams as they only face-off once every season.  There are a few similarities between the two, but how similar? We’ll have to see once the puck is dropped on the chess game.

“The fact that we’re young and we play a pretty exciting up-paced game,” said Ladd of the notable resemblances. “I think we have a long way to go and a lot of things to learn here, but we had to go through that process in Chicago too. Every team has to make their own path and show what they can do and create their own stories so that’s we’ll be trying to do here.”

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