The Afternoon Shift – April 20

Returning soon to Winnipeg International Airport?

So what does a hockey broadcaster do once his team is done for the season? If you’re Bob Kaser, you continue coming up with juicy nuggets to share with the legion of Griffins and Red Wings fans.

Kaser – that master of the microphone, doctor of description and poobah of play-by-play – actually wears a number of other hats within the Griffins organization. His management, community relations, sales and Griffins Youth Foundation responsibilities keep him more than occupied during the warmer months.

But his keen hockey mind never has an offseason, and he recently cooked up this interesting tidbit that has also been reported in various media circles: the Red Wings were the final team that the Winnipeg Jets ever faced, as Detroit’s 4-2 series win in the 1996 Western Conference Quarterfinals sent the Jets packing for Phoenix. Now, with the Red Wings up 3-0 against the Coyotes, Detroit could – if rumors and speculation are true – usher in a new era of ecstasy for over one million Manitobans by ending Phoenix’s season and possibly expediting the franchise’s return to the ‘Peg.

Will the coyotes revert to their sled dog past and go back to the Great White North? Who really knows at this stage. But extensive coverage of the whole soap opera can be found at the Winnipeg Free Press’ website.

Oddly enough, Kaser was aboard Red Bird II, the Wings’ charter jet, the last time it landed in Winnipeg. No, it wasn’t prior to the decisive Game 6 at Winnipeg Arena on April 28, 1996 (a 4-1 Detroit triumph). It was almost exactly 13 years later, on April 30, 2009, when the Griffins borrowed her to travel to Winnipeg for Games 1 and 2 of their AHL North Division Finals series against the Manitoba Moose. Sadly, the plane’s luck didn’t rub off on the Griffins, who dropped a pair of 2-1 decisions at the MTS Centre en route to a four-game sweep by their rival.  

AHL link:

Alumni news and notes:

Video – NHL alumni goals:

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