Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Mar. 14

Mitch Kasprick is the “Motown Curmudgeon” aka “Motown Mitch”

Odds and Ends, Thoughts and Questions, from this past week in hockey –

Just so there’s no confusion when I’m spewing my bias, I am a fan of the Winnipeg Jets, Arizona Coyotes, Manitoba Moose, Winnipeg Ice, and all Team Canada Hockey teams.

I am NOT a fan of Gary Bettman or as I call him, Count Chocula.  I am a big believer in the 7Ps. You’ve been warned.

1. Jets:  The Winnipeg Jets had a pretty good week that started off with an impressive 7-4 win at home over the Stanley Cup champs and then they took 2 of 3 on the road.

They finished off their 3-game road trip with an impressive 4-3 overtime victory in St. Louis and now head back home for a stretch of 6 home games in their next seven starts.

The Jets record currently sits at 27-23-10 and they are 4 points behind Vegas for the final wildcard spot BUT most importantly they still sit sixth in the Central Division.  Winnipeg still has to reel in Dallas who are 3 points ahead of them but with 3 games in hand.  

2. Jets:  Andrew Copp has been knocked out of two games in the past month with hits to his head and neither one was penalized.  The first was on Feb. 16 on a hit from Jordan Greenway and the second was last night ( Mar. 13) on a hit by Oskar Sundqvist.  I thought that the NHL wanted to get these hits out of the game but I guess it only matters if you play in one of the big markets in the east.  Can you imagine the uproar if this happened to a team like Toronto or Pittsburgh?  Andrew Copp missed 6 games after the Greenway hit and right now there has been no update on his condition.  Once again the NHL has proven that all hits aren’t equal and worse, that all hockey markets aren’t treated equally. 

3. Jets:  Coach Dave Lowry may have found lightning in a bottle when he put together the line of Nikolaj Ehlers, Pierre-Luc Dubois, and Kyle Connor.  This is not a slight on Evgeny Svechnikov but Ehlers brings a dynamic to this line that could be scary.  I hope Dave Lowry gives this line a long leash to see what they can do.  They looked scary good in St. Louis.  

4. NHL:  I had to laugh at the TSN crew calling a little scrum that turned into a hugfest a “line brawl”.  These youngsters they have on Sports Desk would probably crap their pants if there saw a real line brawl.  Man, have times changed.  

5. Jets:  Right now, in my humble opinion Kristian Vesalainen is roster-blocking David Gustafsson.  Ves has had tons of opportunities but it’s Gus’s turn now.   

6. NHL:  My weekly analysis (bitching) about NHL officiating.

The officiating in the St. Louis game on Sunday night was interesting, to say the least.  It started with a missed or non-call on a headshot to Andrew Copp by Oskar Sundqvist.  Now, Sundqvist is not a dirty player but that is neither here nor there, it was a hit that should have warranted a penalty call. 

Then, in overtime, David Perron got the benefit of the doubt on a pretty obvious tackle and then 10-15 seconds later was given the benefit of the doubt on a BLATANT tackle that lead to a great scoring chance on a 2 on 1 but Connor Hellebuyck made a huge save and shortly after Pierre-Luc Dubois scored to seal the OT win a let the officials off the hook.

FYI, I only comment on the things I see in Jets games.  If I were to comment on all the bad officiating I see on a nightly basis I would have to start another website and I could post an article every single day.  The scary part is that NHL officials are widely accepted as the best on the planet and I would concur.  My problem with NHL officiating is the lack of consistency from game to game and crew to crew.

7. Jets:  FYI:  The Jets now have 3 games left before the trade deadline next Monday and most Jets fans are hoping Kevin Cheveldayoff trades the expiring assets but after this past week he may be having second thoughts.  If the Jets win 2 out of these 3 games I would be shocked if Chevy trades his expiring assets and I’m going to hear the term “self rentals” again and I’ll probably get ill.        

8. Jets:  Josh Morrissey is in the middle of his best stretch of hockey in the past two seasons BUT, I bet you could feel a but coming, he is just not the right guy to be running the Jets powerplay.  I would prefer Nate Schmidt or Neal Pionk manning the point because they will shoot the puck.  If you have no threat of a shooter it renders the rest of the PP useless.  The prime example of that was the 2-man advantage the Jets had early in the first period.  That was frustrating and painful to watch.       

9. Jets:  Have I mentioned lately how much I enjoy the rugged style of hockey Pierre-Luc Dubois and Brendan Dillon bring to the ice every night.  I don’t want to hear any crazy talk about trading Dillon either.     

10 Jets:  Connor Hellebuyck played very well in the win over St. Louis BUT once again he gave up a goal he should stop 99 times out of 100.  Helle is off and I can’t help but think his bout with Covid-19 just before training camp has impacted his game greatly.  It cost him valuable training time and put him off his schedule.  I don’t think Helle has forgotten how to play goal and I have no doubt he will get back to normal.  I just hope it’s sooner than later.   

 

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11. Jets:  95 point update:  I figured the Jets needed approx 52 points in their final 40 games to have a shot at a wildcard spot.  As of today they have earned 21 points in 18 games and are still just a little bit off the pace for 52 points but that can drastically improve with a couple of wins in the last two games of segment #2.  Going into Tuesday’s game versus Vegas the Jets need 31 points in their remaining 22 games.  The improbable is still tough but there is still hope in Jetsville.                      

12. Ice:  The Winnipeg ICE went 3-0 last week and improved their overall record to 39-9-3-2 on the season.  The ICE are still eight points behind first-place Edmonton in the Eastern Conference and they still have five games in hand.  The Edmonton Oil Kings are the #1 team in the CHL rankings and the Winnipeg ICE have slipped to #4 but that could change again this coming Wednesday.  

Kia CHL Top-10 Rankings – Week 19

as of Mar. 9

1. Edmonton Oil Kings
2. Charlottetown Islanders
3. Hamilton Bulldogs
4. Winnipeg ICE
5. Everett Silvertips
6. Portland Winterhawks
7. Kamloops Blazers
8. Shawinigan Cataractes
9. Quebec Remparts
10. London Knights

13. Moose:  The Manitoba Moose snagged 3 out of 4 points last week in their two games versus the Belleville Senators and improved their record to 30-17-2-2 with a .627 winning percentage.  They still sit in 4th place in the AHL’s Western Conference.  

Special Teams:

  • PP:  19.00  down from 20.00 last week.
  • PK:  80.60% down from 81.60 last week.

14. JetsThe Winnipeg Jets have 22 games left in the season and the big question is whether they are buyers or sellers? 

According to moneypuck.com the Winnipeg Jets’ chances of making the playoffs sits at 8.0 % as of Sunday night, up from 4% last week.  Of course, this number is very fluid and it changes with each win or loss by the Jets and the teams they are chasing.  It is fun to watch.

Updated game by game odds:

After 7-4 win vs Tampa  … 7.0%

After  2-1 win at NJ … 5.0%

After 5-2 loss at NYI … 5.5%

After 4-3 OT win at St.L … 8.0%

FYI:  Monday, March 21 – Trade Deadline (3 p.m. ET)

Based on the Jets current position in the standings should they be buyers or sellers?

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15. Jets:  My weekly question for Kevin Cheveldayoff and/or Dave Lowry.

What are you going to do with Kristian Vesalainen?  It’s just not happening for him and I’m wondering if he needs a fresh start somewhere else.  (see #5)  

16. Jets:  The Good, Better, Best this past week.

  • Good:  The 2-1 win in New Jersey.
  • Better:  The 4-3 OT win in St. Louis.   
  • Best:  The 7-4 victory over Tampa on home ice.  Jets fans needed that.       

17. Jets:  The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly this past week.

  • Good:  The play of Eric Comrie in the New Jersey win.  He may have stolen that win.      
  • Bad:  Helle gave up another 3-4 soft goals this past week.     
  • Ugly:  The 2-man advantage early in the 1st period of the Blues game.    

18. Jets:  Special Teams: Rule of thumb. Have the two red numbers (PK and PP) total at least 100% when added (as your minimum). 

  • PP: 13th at 21.60% down from 22.00 last week. 
  • PK: 21st at 76.80% down from 77.00 last week.
  • FO: 13th at 50.70% up from 50.60 last week.

19. Goaltending:

  • Conner Hellebuyck:  20-21-9 … 2.99 GAA … .908 SV% … Shutouts 3 
  • Eric Comrie:  7-2-1 … 2.34 GAA … .920 SV%

20. NHLNowadays the term “generational player” gets thrown around way too liberally.  An example right now is Jack Eichel.  I don’t see anything generational about him although his neck injury is a legitimate excuse we’ll have to wait and see if he hits “generational” status going forward.  My guess is no.  

Comments

  1. Hi Mitch…Your point #4 on line brawls got me chuckling. When they declared a line brawl, I thought, Holy Crap! I haven’t seen one of those since my son played in a seniors league. If that’s now considered a line brawl, those knuckleheads have to re-visit some old footage.
    Every year I get a bit antsy at the trade deadline. I see other teams beefing up their roster while we do nothing. I realize the Jets are on the cusp of being a seller, but their latest run gives me hope. Still, I compare Chevy to Nero during this annual event.

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      Hi Les … thanks for visiting …. I also chuckled as I was typing #4 … as for Trade Deadline Day I agree and I’m definitley not a Chevy defender but I really believe the NTCs nd the NMCs are killing the game … It is a privledge to play in any NHL city although some are nicer than others but IMO it creates a competitive imbalance. BAN NO TRADE CLAUSES.

      • Yep, I’ve always thought you should count your lucky stars if you ever made the big time. By having NTC’s and NMC’s, you hogtie franchises that aren’t as sexy as those with a huge marketing value. Lindros was a perfect example of how a player dictates where he plays, and his parents did all they could to milk the gravy train. A franchise with the financial ability to mold a players image can translate into big bucks.

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