Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: May 3

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 finished one of their most embarrassing stretches in 2.0 history last week going 0-5 on their last homestand, losing 3 games to Edmonton and 2 games to Toronto.  Even more disturbing was they only scored 6 goals in those 5 games, the goaltending was sub-par, and they had minimal push-back as the Leafs and Oilers toyed with them in their own barn.  Thank goodness there were no fans in the building because it might have gotten ugly.  A lot of Jets fans are trying to put on a brave face and say things will be ok once the playoffs start etc. etc. but there is a lot of gloom and doom amongst the fanbase right now.  

UPDATE:  After a tough 2-1 loss in Ottawa last night the Winnipeg Jets losing streak is now SEVEN games.  The Jets went 0 for 6 on the PP and gave up a shorthanded goal.  I think that says it all.

2. Jets:  The Winnipeg Jets went 0-3 last week and don’t have to worry about first or second place anymore.  That ship has sailed.  Now they are only two points ahead of Montreal for third place.  Wow, how the mighty have fallen.  The free-falling Jets now sit at 27-20-3. 

3. JetsThe bloom is definitely off the rose as far as Derek Forbort is concerned.  Has now entered Anthony Bitetto and Nathan Beaulieu country as far as the Jets fanbase is concerned.  

4. Moose:  The Manitoba Moose had a good week snagging 5 of 6 points from the Stockton Heat and now have finished their monster 7-game homestand with a solid 9-5-2-1 record improving their overall record to 15-11-2-1 on the season.  The Cole Perfetti watch now has him at 8 goals, 15 assists, for 23 points in 29 games.

UPDATE:  The American Hockey League announced today Moose forward Cole Perfetti has been named the CCM/AHL Rookie of the Month for April.  Perfetti, 19, tied for the lead among AHL rookies, and the Moose, in scoring in April.  He recorded 13 points (4G, 9A) in just nine games. 

5. Jets:  Poll Question:  Should Chevy cut a deal with Seattle GM Ron Francis so the Jets don’t lose a player off their roster in the expansion draft?  In the 2017 Vegas expansion draft the Jets and Vegas cut a deal where the Golden Knights would select Chris Thorburn’s expiring contract.  In the deal they flip-flopped 1st rounders with Winnipeg acquiring the 24th pick (from Vegas, from Columbus) in the 2017 NHL Draft in exchange for the 13th pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, and the Jets third-round selection in 2019.  

Will Chevy or should Chevy cut a deal with Seattle GM Ron Francis so the Jets don't lose a player in the expansion draft?

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6. Jets:  The biggest thing I’ve noticed during this bad stretch for the home team beside their ongoing poor defensive play is their offence is struggling because they spend far to much time on the perimeter.  This team likes to score off the rush but when that’s not happening they seem to lack the grind to score the greasy goals.  The only players that regularly go to the tough areas and get their noses dirty are Mathieu Perreault, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Adam Lowry, and Mason Appleton.  Teams are starting to adjust their game plans from regular season to playoff mode and the Winnipeg Jets haven’t or can’t match those adjustments.  They have three weeks to figure it or it will be another early exit from the playoffs and then heads should roll …. if Mark Chipman has the balls.

7. Jets:  The Winnipeg Jets blueline has been a source of concern all season but to be honest I think this team’s biggest problem isn’t the actual players but the deployment of the players.  Tucker Poolman is taking a lot of heat but is it his fault he is on the top pairing?  Derek Forbort’s play has really gone downhill in the last few weeks but he is still being trotted out alongside Neal Pionk every night.  Right now, Jordie Benn might actually be playing better than the beleaguered Derek Forbort.  Why is Dylan DeMelo still playing in the third pairing?  Why aren’t Ville Heinola and Logan Stanley playing more?  Hell, Sami Niku couldn’t be as bad as Forbort lately.  The biggest problem with the Jets blueline seems to be the guy or guys behind the bench.  I can’t believe the suits all agree on the deployment of the team’s defencemen and if they do the problem is even worse than we could imagine.   

8. Jets:  Does Kyle Connor still play for the Jets?  Is he the “Seven Million Dollar Man” or the “Invisible Man”?  I’ve tried real hard to change my attitude when it comes to KC but it is stretches like his current slide (one assist in six games), that validate my opinion that he is an overpaid one-dimensional hockey player and when that one dimension disappears he is absolutely useless.  He brings nothing else to the table if he’s not scoring.       

9. Jets:  I like the new Jets powerplay setup with Blake Wheeler on the right-side half wall and Neal Pionk on the point but for the life of me I can’t understand why Kyle Connor,  the team’s top sniper is sitting on the bench in favour of ANDREW COPP?  What the hell is wrong with Paul Maurice?  Are the Jets paying Kyle Connor over 7 million dollars a year to get 20 seconds on the second PP unit? 

10. Jets:  I love Connor Hellebuyck’s positive attitude and his belief in himself and his teammates but I can’t help but wonder how he really feels about his team’s play in front of him most nights.  He is definitely a little off right now but I never doubt his ability to rebound.  As always, this Winnipeg Jets team only goes as far as Helle takes them.   

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11. NHL:  Your referees are LOL laughable.  Only NBA officiating is worse and that’s nothing to be proud of.  Their bar is set so low.  It was bad enough the Jets stunk on their 5-game homestand but they weren’t the only ones that stunk in the building.  

12. NHL:  Key dates.

  • May 16 – End of the regular season
  • May ?? – Playoffs begin
  • July 15 – The latest the Stanley Cup can be awarded
  • July 17 – Expansion draft protection lists tentatively due
  • July 21 – Expansion draft
  • July 23-24 – 2021 NHL Entry Draft
  • July 28 – Free agency opens

13. Jets:  Is Paul Maurice’s job in jeopardy.  Is Kevin Cheveldayoff’s job in jeopardy?

After being swept in the second round by Montreal should heads roll?

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14. Jets:  Enough already with the Andrew Copp in the top six and on the powerplay.  He is a very good third line winger and with Adam Lowry and Mason Appleton he is part of one of the very best third lines in the NHL.  (see#9)   

15. Jets:  Schedule

Update:  The May 7 game vs Ottawa has been re-scheduled to Monday, April 5.  This is due to the two postponed Vancouver games this week.

16. Jets:  Nikolaj “don’t call me Nik” Ehlers is one of my favourite Jets players and he could possibly be the team MVP but there is no way that his absence and Adam Lowry’s absence should impact this team as much as it seems it has.  Where is all this alleged depth this team has?    

17. Jets:  Special Teams: Rule of thumb. Have the two red numbers (PK and PP) total at least 100% when added (as your minimum).  I also base the movement (up or down) on the % and not the NHL ranking.

These are the Winnipeg Jets rankings within the seven team Canadian Division.  Since all games played during the regular season are divisional the rest of the league’s numbers don’t really matter.

  • PP: 2nd at 25.00% down from 25.20% last week.
  • PK: 2nd at 79.10 up from 81.10% last week. 
  • FO: 5th at 49.90 up from 49.60% last week.

18. Jets:  I’m not big on firing coaches and GMs after a tough stretch like the Winnipeg Jets are going through right now but the warts and warning signs we’ve been seeing for the past 3 seasons are on full display right now and if this Jets team had any other goaltender than Connor Hellebuyck, Paul Maurice and Kevin Cheveldayoff might have been gone long ago.  This organisation needs somebody like a President of Hockey Operations for the coach and GM answer to and not an owner that still thinks he’s running an AHL team.  Mark Chipman is too damn loyal and doesn’t have the stones to make the hard decisions.  Getting past the first round ONCE in twelve years would have had most GMs canned years ago.  This fanbase deserves better.    

19. Goaltending:

  • Conner Hellebuyck:  21-16-3 … 2.72 GAA … .912 SV% 
  • Laurent Brossoit:  6-4-0 … 2.39 GAA … .922 SV%

20. Jets:  EVERYBODY GETS INJURIES.  EVERYBODY IS DEALING WITH A TOUGH COMPRESSED SCHEDULE.  EVERYBODY IS BORED, FEELING CONFINED AND SICK OF COVID-19.  ENOUGH ALREADY.  PUT YOUR BIG BOY PANTS ON AND PLAY HOCKEY.  NO MORE EXCUSES.  

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In memory of my friend Darryl Manchulenko.

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Thanks, Mitch
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