Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Jan. 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 finally hit the ice for real in Las Vegas on Sunday afternoon after not playing for 13 days and it showed at times in a sloppy, see-saw, 5-4 overtime win versus the Golden Knights.  The Jets record now sits at 15-11-5 and they are 3 points out of the last wildcard position.     [Read more…]

Winnipeg Jets First Quarter Grades: Defencemen, Goalies, And Special Teams

Winnipeg Jets grades for the defencemen and goaltenders – 

At this time last season, the Winnipeg Jets defensive corp was well below league average in my opinion but Kevin Cheveldayoff added a couple of solid mid-range defencemen that have vastly improved the Winnipeg Jets back end.  This season this corp is far better moving the puck in transition but the defensive system seems to still struggle even with an overall better defensive corp.  The system is flawed at times and still allows too many high-danger chances.  The goaltending is still way better than average but the special teams are an embarrassment considering the personnel this team employs.    [Read more…]

Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Nov. 22

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 went 1-1-1 last week and improved their overall record to 9-4-4 on the season.  The Jets play at home Monday night versus the Penguins then head back on the road for 3 games this week (Columbus, Minny, and Calgary) with a back to backs on Friday/Saturday.  

2. Jets:  The highlight of last week’s games was the Jets’ 5-2 win over the Edmonton McWhiners and that win helped them finish their 7-game homestand with an impressive 5-1-1 record.  Any day we beat the Oilers is a good day in my books. 

3. Jets:  Are you kidding me?  FYI, these rankings came out on Tuesday so whatever happened after Tuesday’s 5-2 win over Edmonton is irrelevant.  As far as I’m concerned ESPN’s rankings are a joke and they have no credibility.  


4.  Jets:  I’m getting a little concerned about the number of two on ones the Jets are giving up because of Josh Morrissey’s ill-advised pinches.  Being aggressive in the offensive zone is part of the game now and every defenceman is going to get burned every once in a while but it’s becoming a regular thing with Josh. 

5. Jets:  It doesn’t matter what line Nikolaj “don’t call me Nik” Ehlers plays on, they automatically become a threat.  Ehlers is a line driver and isn’t linemate dependant like a lot of wingers in the NHL.  He is an outstanding puck handler and one of the NHL’s leaders in zone entries every season.         

6. Jets:  Regulars that visit here know how much I hate the NHL’s officiating and on Friday night in Vancouver they didn’t disappoint.  Winnipeg Jets never had one powerplay opportunity in a game where the Jets forwards were interfered with countless times in front of Thatcher Demko.  This league is such a joke.

7. Jets:  The Winnipeg Jets played 125 minutes of hockey in their home and home series with the Edmonton Oilers last week and only gave up THREE goals and only ONE at even strength.  Again, ONE at even strength.  Let that marinate for a bit.  The Jets came away with three points and probably should have taken four and looked very good doing so.  The scary thing is this team is not clicking on all cylinders and is still a work in progress.      

8. Jets:  If you want a good chuckle watch this. 

9. Jets:  Going into camp most Winnipeg Jets fans think this is the biggest talking point.  The concern seems to be waning in light of Eric Comrie’s play so far this season although I still need to see more and against some tougher competition BUT so far, so good.  We will probably run this poll for a couple more weeks before retiring it but the angst meter has started going a little more in Comrie’s favour.  His numbers are actually pretty good and he has played very well overall but I just don’t like small goalies.  He still scares me to death every start but that’s me.

Will Eric Comrie last the seaon as Jets back-up goalie?

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10. Jets:  I see the hate for Blake Wheeler has amped up again from the same vocal minority that has been on him for years.  Yes, the captain is off to a slow start but keep in mind he missed a handful of games due to Covid.  He probably isn’t a top-line right-winger anymore but he certainly isn’t ready for the rocking chair yet either.  One of his biggest strengths was running the #1 unit’s powerplay from the right half-wall but for some strange reason, Paul Maurice has him in the left goal-line bumper spot which is a complete waste of his passing ability.  I’ve also heard his detractors say he is too slow which is complete bullshit.  He is faster than Andrew Copp and nobody has ever accused Anze Kopitar of being slow although I’ve seen glaciers move faster.  The captain hasn’t been putting up points at his usual rate but it’s not from lack of chances.  I’m not ready to write him off yet.

11. Jets:  I really like the current configuration of the Jets’ third line right now.  Jansen Harkin, Adam Lowry, and Evgeny Svechnikov have a nice mix of skill and grind in their game and they spend a lot of time in the offensive end of the ice.  It seems like Lowry has to adapt to breaking in new linemates every season but he continues to be a beast and one of the Jets’ most reliable players.  We are lucky to have him.

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12. Ice:  The Winnipeg ICE won both of their road games last week and improved their overall record to 19-1-0 on the season.  Matt Savoie, Mike Milne, and Connor McClennon are one, two, three in the WHL’s scoring race.  The ICE are still the top-ranked team in the CHL.  It’s a great time to be a Winnipeg sports fan.   

CHL Top 10 for Week #7:

    • 1. Winnipeg ICE
    • 2. Everett Silvertips
    • 3. London Knights
    • 4. Kamloops Blazers
    • 5. Edmonton Oil Kings
    • 6. Sherbrooke Phoenix
    • 7. Charlottetown Islanders
    • 8. Ottawa 67’s
    • 9. Rimouski Oceanic
    • 10. Kingston Frontenacs

13. Moose:  The Manitoba Moose had a good week going 2-1-0-0 in their three-game series with the Milwaukee Admirals and now have an overall record of 9-6-1-0 and sit 5th in the Western Conference.  A fun fact about this team is that there are four defencemen in their top eight scorers.

14. Jets:  I hate the Winnipeg Jets penalty killing and I have for years. It is passive and basically relies on Connor Hellebuyck to stand on his head. This team’s PK has been hovering around the basement all season but yet the Jets AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose has the #1 PK in the AHL.  I don’t know who the Jets’ PK coach is but enough is enough.  It’s time for a different vision.

15. Jets:  My weekly question for Kevin Cheveldayoff and Paul Maurice.
Does Riley Nash or Dominic Toninato bring more to the table than David Gustafsson would?

16. Jets:  Attendance:  Winnipeg Jets attendance has never been an issue or a talking point but after a year with no fans, with people still a little hesitant on attending games because of covid, and maybe some fan backlash toward TNSE and Kevin Cheveldayoff, the attendance is down and I’m a little concerned.  I’ve gone through the pain of losing an NHL team and once in a lifetime is enough for me.  Yes, we have rich owners but the club still needs to be viable on its own merits.

Vs Edmonton Oilers – 13,473

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

  • Good:  The home-ice win versus the Oilers.  
  • Bad:  The penalty killing is a joke.  It’s like groundhog day.  Nuff said.            
  • Ugly:  The Jets’ powerplay was 4th at 28.10% two weeks ago.  It’s been awful lately and in my opinion, it cost them the Oilers game on Thursday night.        

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:  12th at … 21.30% down from 8th at … 23.70 last week. 
  • PK:  31st at … 63.80% down from 30th … 65.80 last week.
  • FO:  21st at … 48.70% down from … 50.30 last week.

19. Goaltending:

  • Conner Hellebuyck:  6-2-4 … 2.62 GAA … .918 SV% 
  • Eric Comrie:  3-2-0 … 2.19 GAA … .920 SV%

20. CFL:  The Winnipeg Blue Bombers finished their regular season with a 13-12 loss in Calgary on Saturday night and now it’s on to the Western Final at home in two weeks.  We are now waiting to see if we go into that game with a full complement of healthy players.   

*

PS:  Winnipeg Hockey Talk needs someone interested in writing about the Winnipeg Ice.  If you are interested contact me (Mitch) at winnipeghockeytalk@gmail.com

In memory of my friend Darryl Manchulenko.

If you have any questions, please give me a shout. You can use the comment section or use the #ASKWHTPOD hashtag on Twitter.

If you like our new format, let us know in the comment section or hit me on Twitter at WpgSportsTalk or WpgHockTalk

If you are interested in writing for Winnipeg Sports Talk or if you know somebody interested, please contact us at:

winnipeghockeytalk@gmail.com

We are looking for writers to cover the Winnipeg Jets, Manitoba Moose, The Winnipeg ICE, Manitoba Bisons, Winnipeg AAA, MJHL, MMJHL, KIJHL, and Winnipeg High School or any sports team in town.

If you have any thoughts on any of these comments or questions, please let me know. We would love to hear your opinions.

Thanks, Mitch

Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Oct. 25

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. 

UPDATE:

Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman has resigned after the findings from the sexual assault scandal were released.  The investigation into the allegations began in August led by former federal prosecutor Reid Schar.

Kevin Cheveldayoff previosly stated he had no knowledge of any allegations involving Mr. Aldrich until he was asked if he was aware of anything just prior to the conclusion of his employment with the Chicago Blackhawks.

This story is far from over and could reach as far as Florida (Panthers) and Winnipeg (Jets).  There will be more news coming soon but things don’t look good for Panthers coach Joel Quennevile and maybe even Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff.

1. Jets:  The Winnipeg Jets went 2-0-1 last week getting back to .500 and eased a bit of the angst around town.  The Jets did play a lot better in stretches but are very far from a finished product.  They now head back to California for three more games before returning home for a seven-game homestand.  Their record currently sits at 2-2-1. 

Update:

The National Hockey League announced earlier today that Winnipeg Jets forward Kyle Connor has been named the NHL’s First Star of the Week for the week ending October 24, 2021.  Congrats KC.

2. Jets:  John Gibson 1 Connor Hellebuyck 1 …. Helle easily won round #2 of the fight for Team USA’s goal crease in the upcoming Olympics.    

3. Jets Sometimes Paul Maurice makes it just too easy.  Replacing Blake Wheeler (out with covid) on the first unit powerplay with Riley Nash is his latest head-scratcher.  Just because he is right-handed?    

4. Jets:  The sky is falling, the sky is falling!  Yup, Cole Perfetti was assigned to the Manitoba Moose.    

5. NHL:  They couldn’t get Evander Kane on gambling allegations, they couldn’t get him on spousal abuse allegations but the NHL nailed him for something stupid like him using a fake covid vaccine card.  C’mon Evander, really?  He has been suspended for 21 games and is probably done in the NHL.  The Sharks players have publicly said they don’t want him back and I don’t think teams are lining up to give him 3rd, 4th chance.  Good luck in the KHL Comrade Kane.   

6. Jets:  Pierre-Luc Dubois has scored in four straight games and finally looks to be comfortable as a Winnipeg Jet.  PLD has a nice mix of skill, speed, and strength in his game and it’s been on display so far this season. 

7. Jets:  Kristian Vesalainen scored his first NHL goal on Saturday night and his line (with Adam Lowry and Jansen Harkins) were dangerous all night.  This was definitely their strongest game of the season.  Hopefully, there’s more to come and now that Ves has scored his first goal maybe he can relax and start sniping.

8. Jets:  Regular readers here know I’m not an Andrew Copp is a “top-6” guy and he didn’t do anything to change my opinion in his first two games of the season playing on a line with PLD and Nikolaj Ehlers BUT I must admit he was very good in Minny playing with Scheif and KC and Thursday night with Paul Stastny and Nik Ehlers.  Copp isn’t the most skilled forward on the team but he balances that out by being responsible defensively.  No, I haven’t been abducted by aliens, it’s still me.   

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9. Jets:  Going into camp most Winnipeg Jets fans think this is the biggest talking point.

Will Eric Comrie last the seaon as Jets back-up goalie?

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Looking at the Jets schedule it looks like Eric Comrie’s first start should be Nov. 5 versus Chicago or Nov.6 versus the Islanders.    

10. Jets:  The Jets passive penalty kill drives me crazy.  There are times when they are two feet away from a player that can be challenged and they collapse into a passive position.  This team relies way toooooooo much on Connor Hellebuyck on their PK and even when Helle is at his best the Jets PK falls into the middle of the pack statistically in the NHL.  The last few seasons the problem hasn’t been the personnel, it’s been the system.       

11. Jets:  I don’t get all the angst because Cole Perfetti was assigned to the Manitoba Moose.  I’d rather see him play big minutes as a center and learn that position in the AHL rather than playing lesser minutes in the NHL as a winger.  To be honest I think he could play in the Jets’ top 9 forward groups but I get why he was sent down.  (see #4)     

12. NHL:  The Vegas Golden Bettmans need to turf those gold helmets, they are beyond FUGLY.  They wore them again last week and I haven’t heard one positive review from anybody.  Surprise, surprise.

13. NHL:  To Gary Bettman:  Put the player’s benches on opposite sides of the ice like they used to be and were meant to be.  The excuse that the home team has an advantage because the penalty box is closer to the home team’s bench is beyond lame.  Even if it is a slight advantage, who cares, it is part of being the home team and last time I checked ALL 32 NHL teams play 41 home games.  Sounds even to me.  

14. Jets:  Unpopular take but I don’t think Josh Morrissey has had the great start everybody thinks he has.  He is off to a better start offensively with two goals already but he has only been average at best in his own end.  Yes, he is breaking in a new partner but he is struggling mightily in front of Connor Hellebuyck in the physical game.  A lot of the goals have beaten Helle because Josh can’t move guys in front or tie up their sticks.  Helle can’t stop what he can’t see.  Neal Pionk has been equally bad.  It really showed versus Minny where the Wild owned the front of Helle’s crease.     

15. Jets:  The line of Pierre-Luc Dubois, Kyle Connor and Evgeny Svechnikov have looked very good in their two games together and myself along with other fans in Jetsville are now wondering if they continue to play well together what Paul Maurice does when Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele return to the lineup?      

16. Jets:  Don’t ask me because I can’t explain Paul Maurice’s decision to dress 11 forwards and 7 defencemen.   

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

  • Good:  The improving powerplay.   
  • Bad:  Opposition camping out in front of Helle.     
  • Ugly:  The number of turnovers/giveaways by a veteran defence corp.   

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:  11th at … 26.30% up from 31st … 00.00 last week.
  • PK:  30th at … 54.60% up from 27th … 60.00 last week.
  • FO:  20th at … 48.90% up from 26th … 00.00 last week.

19. Goaltending:

  • Conner Hellebuyck:  2-2-1 … 3.80 GAA … .886 SV% 
  • Eric Comrie:  0-0-0 … 0.00 GAA … .000 SV%

20. CFL:  The Winnipeg Blue Bombers improved their record to 10-1 after humiliating the BC Lions 45-0 on Saturday night.  The Bombers have now officially clinched home-field for the Western Final.  This is probably the most dominating defensive effort I have seen from a Winnipeg Blue Bomber team and this team has had some great defences over the years.*

PS:  Winnipeg Hockey Talk needs someone interested in writing about the Winnipeg Ice.  If you are interested contact me (Mitch) at winnipeghockeytalk@gmail.com

In memory of my friend Darryl Manchulenko.

If you have any questions, please give me a shout. You can use the comment section or use the #ASKWHTPOD hashtag on Twitter.

If you like our new format, let us know in the comment section or hit me on Twitter at WpgSportsTalk or WpgHockTalk

If you are interested in writing for Winnipeg Sports Talk or if you know somebody interested, please contact us at:

winnipeghockeytalk@gmail.com

We are looking for writers to cover the Winnipeg Jets, Manitoba Moose, The Winnipeg ICE, Manitoba Bisons, Winnipeg AAA, MJHL, MMJHL, KIJHL, and Winnipeg High School or any sports team in town.

If you have any thoughts on any of these comments or questions, please let me know. We would love to hear your opinions.

Thanks, Mitch

Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Oct. 4

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:  I want to get excited about some of the performance’s in the pre-season games but I’m going to temper my optimism because the games have been filled with a lot of AHL players but in saying that I thought Jansen Harkins, Cole Perfetti, and Evgeny Svchnikov have looked good.  Conversely, I thought Kyle Connor, Mark Scheifele, and Blake Wheeler looked like they could hardly wait for the regular season to start.    

2. Jets:  Update for Jets fans wanting to attend training camp, the IcePlex will be open to watching practice but there are rules. 

  • Fans will be allowed to into the rinks to watch. 
  • Seating will be limited. to 250 people max per rink.
  • Spectators need to be fully vaccinated and have proof  (QR code or physical card) and one piece of government-issued photo ID.

3. JetsJansen Harkins has looked poised and more like a veteran so far this season and is a lock for a roster spot.  I’m a little biased because I’ve always liked him but in this case, I believe my optimism for him is deserved. 

4. Jets:  I’ll be surprised if Evgeny Svechnikov isn’t on the Winnipeg Jets opening night roster.  Svech might be the steal of this summer’s UFA market.  

5. NHL:  Duncan Keith hasn’t quite grasped the concept that the NHLPA’s job is to protect its members and not selfish individuals.  Getting vaccinated and protecting the rest of the league’s membership is exactly what the NHLPA is mandating.  ME ME ME ME … I’M SICK OF IT.

From Jim Parsons at the Hockey Writers

Duncan Keith elaborated on why he ultimately decided to get the shot, he said he felt pressure from the NHLPA to adhere to the rules to play. Had he not been essentially forced into getting the vaccine, he made it sound like he wouldn’t have. In the end, he realized he’d have missed too much time and couldn’t have been part of the team had he not gone with the program. “It is what it is he said.” He added it would have been nice to get some more support and push back from the NHLPA for players who were making that personal choice.

DUNCAN, the union did show their support, for the other 98% of the membership.  

6. Jets:  FYI:  Nate Schmidt is an elite skater.   

7. Jets:  Upcoming events.

Oct. 6 – Pre-season game vs Calgary (TSN 3)

Oct. 13 – First regular-season game at Anaheim.

Oct. 21 – Home opener vs Anaheim.

8. Jets:  I’ve really liked what I’ve seen from Riley Nash so far this season.  He is a bottom-six forward but seems to have more offensive upside than the departed Trevor Lewis or Nate Thompson.  I believe I’m mentioned this previously but he is only a couple of years removed from a 41 point (15G and 26A) in 76 games season. 

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9. Jets:  Going into camp most Winnipeg Jets fans think this is the biggest talking point.

Will Eric Comrie last the seaon as Jets back-up goalie?

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10. Jets: 

  • I promise I won’t pick on Kyle Connor. 
  • I promise I won’t pick on Kyle Connor. 
  • I promise I won’t pick on Kyle Connor. 
  • I promise I won’t pick on Kyle Connor. 
  • I promise I won’t pick on Kyle Connor. 
  • I promise I won’t pick on Kyle Connor. 
  • I promise I won’t pick on Kyle Connor. 

11. NHL:  As usual the NHL implements a new rule and the officials overreact and feel obligated to call it without using any common sense.  I’m in full agreement in calling the hard cross-checks but half the ones I’ve seen called were barely love taps.  C’mon NHL.   

12. Jets:  Mikey Eyssimont has opened a few eyes with his play and I’m looking forward to seeing how he plays on the Manitoba Moose.  He may not ever be an NHLer but he could be a nice pick-up for the Moose.

13. Jets:  I thought last night’s game in Vancouver was Ville Heinola’s best of the pre-season.  I know Paul Maurice has a thing for Nate Beaulieu but I put Heinola ahead of Nate.   

14. Jets:  I don’t care that it’s only pre-season but Kyle Connor might be one of the laziest hockey players I’ve ever watched in a Winnipeg Jets jersey.  (see #10)  

15. Jets:  Mikhail Berdin had an early blip in his first start of the pre-season vs the Nucks Sunday night but I thought he was pretty solid overall.  He gives me a lot more hope for the future than Eric Comrie.  (see #9)

16. Jets:  David Gustafsson may or may not stick with the big club but I would keep him just for his face-off prowess.  He is a beast in the circle and a pretty good hockey player to boot.   

17. Jets:  Kristian Veslalainen has had an up and down pre-season and is still on the bubble according to some experts but I prefer him over a guy like Dominic Toninato.     

18.  Jets:  My forwards are in no particular order based on a 23 man roster with 14 forwards, 7 dmen, and 2 goalies but there is a possibility the Jets could start the season with a 22-man roster for salary cap reasons.

Mark Scheifele … Pierre-Luc Dubois … Adam Lowry … David Gustafsson

Kyle Connor … Andrew Copp … Paul Stastny … Jansen Harkins

Blake Wheeler … Nikolaj Ehlers … Riley Nash … Evgeny Svechnikov

Kristian Vesalainen  

If the Jets go with a 23 man roster the last spot will be between Cole Perfetti, Dominic Toninato or Nate Beaulieu.  As much as I’d like to see Perfetti make the roster there is no rush and he will probably be better served playing big minutes in the AHL to start the season.  I’m not sure how much time Perfetti plays with the MOOSE but it probably won’t be very long.

19. Jets:  My defencemen are in no particular order based on a 23 man roster with 14 forwards, 7 dmen, and 2 goalies but there is a possibility the Jets could start the season with a 22-man roster for salary cap reasons.

Nate Schmidt … Dylan DeMelo … Neal Pionk

Josh Morrissey … Ville Heinola … Logan Stanley … Brendan Dillon

20. CFL:  The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are 7-1 after spanking the BC Lions in Vancouver on Friday night.  The Bombers dominated every facet of the game and are easily the class of the league to date. 

*

In memory of my friend Darryl Manchulenko.

If you have any questions, please give me a shout. You can use the comment section or use the #ASKWHTPOD hashtag on Twitter.

If you like our new format, let us know in the comment section or hit me on Twitter at WpgSportsTalk or WpgHockTalk

If you are interested in writing for Winnipeg Sports Talk or if you know somebody interested, please contact us at:

winnipeghockeytalk@gmail.com

We are looking for writers to cover the Winnipeg Jets, Manitoba Moose, The Winnipeg ICE, Manitoba Bisons, Winnipeg AAA, MJHL, MMJHL, KIJHL, and Winnipeg High School or any sports team in town.

If you have any thoughts on any of these comments or questions, please let me know. We would love to hear your opinions.

Thanks, Mitch

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