It's not any one chant or singular moment Mark Stuart remembers most. Not the fans belting out "True North!" during the national anthem, the mocking serenade of "Crosby's better!" aimed at Alex Ovechkin or "Silver medal!" fired at Buffalo Sabres and USA Olympian goaltender Ryan Miller. All that can become a permanent deposit in a man's memory bank, no doubt. But what really jumped out for the veteran Winnipeg Jets defenceman during that first season of home games at the MTS Centre was the buzz, that absolute rush, he felt when he pulled on his jersey, buckled up his chinstrap and walked down the tunnel to the ice. And on many nights during the that 2011-12 season, that buzz wasn't dialed down until well after the final horn. "It's the excitement, first and foremost. That's what sticks for me," said Stuart on Friday, not long after the Jets had completed final preparations for their 2013 debut against the Ottawa Senators. "As soon as you get out there for the warm-up you can feel the energy in the building. Any time you are at home and you get that kind of energy, you can feed off it. It has to help you. It helped us out big-time last year. "There's points in a game where you need that extra boost sometimes -- you're up by a goal and you're pinned down in your own end, the goalie makes a big save and the crowd goes nuts. That's huge." That was then, as they say, this is now. And if the Jets are going to build on the reputation that their barn -- the smallest in the NHL -- is a road-trip nightmare for opponents, then it has to continue into the condensed 48-game schedule that is the 2013 regular season and beyond into the playoffs.
Jets plan to feed off fans, improve on middling home record
Winnipeg Free Press | Jan 19