Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Sept. 5

Mitch Kasprick is now the “Westdale curmudgeon” 

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.

It is with a very heavy heart that I write this but I would like to send out my condolences to the family and friends of Scott Campbell.  Scott was a Winnipeg Jets 1.0 fan favourite and Twitter legend.  Scott always took time to chat with his many followers and really made their days.  It’s not often an NHL player interacts with a fan base like Scott did.  Scott was a Winnipeg Jet until the day he passed away and he loved the Jets and their fans.  I got to know Scott on a personal basis and he was a very modest, fun guy.  Scott spent some time writing here at WHT and had quite a following.  It seems the good ones leave us too soon and Scott was definitely one of the good ones, he will be missed.  I will always be proud to say you were my friend.  RIP big guy. 

 

 

1. Jets:  Well it’s September so it’s back to work.  If Chevy can take August off why can’t I?  If it’s good enough for Chevy it’s good enough for me.  

2. Jets:   The only major announcement I really missed was the Jets and Mason Appleton avoiding arbitration and agreeing on a contract extension.  Appleton’s contract is a three-year deal with an average annual value of $2,166,667.  Wrapping up Appleton for 3 more years was a solid move, he complements Adam Lowry nicely on the 3rd line.

3. WJC:  While I was away Team Canada won the World Junior Championship in an exciting Gold Medal game but for me, it was a hollow victory with Russia not there and some of the best juniors in the world not available.  Also, the WJHC being played in the summer completely lacked the allure of the tournament over the Christmas holidays.  That being said, a win is a win and I’m not going to complain.

4. Jets:  Last week the Jets made their first semi-meaningful free agent signing of the off-season inking Sam Gagner to a one-year deal.  I don’t mind this signing, at least he’s not the usual unskilled plug Chevy likes signing.  Gagne has a skill set that can be used up and down the lineup and even though this isn’t a blockbuster signing it does move the needle slightly in the right direction.

5. Jets:  Fans are wondering who will be in the Jets’ top 6 forwards.  I think Mark Scheifele and Nikolaj “don’t call me Nik” Ehlers play together and Pierre-Luc Dubois and Kyle Connor play together with Blake Wheeler and Cole Perfetti on the wings.  Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the new head coach, Rick Bowness get the blender out with all six of these forwards. 

6. Jets: Speaking of the 3rd line, I wonder who gets the LW job playing alongside Adam Lowry and Mason Appleton?  Will it be Jansen Harkins finally claiming a regular spot?  Could it be Morgan Barron who had a decent finish with the jets last season or could it be the newly acquired Sam Gagner?  We will know soon enough.  

7. IIHF:  Speaking of summer hockey tournaments, the Women’s World Hockey Championships concluded this past weekend with a close Gold Medal game with Canada winning 2-1.  But, once again it lacked the allure of winter hockey.  It will be nice to see everything finally get back on schedule again.  

8. Jets:  Whether it is baseball, basketball, football, or hockey, preseason is a time for optimism but there seems to be a lot of pessimism in Winnipeg and I’m not sure that should be the case.  No, they didn’t make any big acquisitions and it seems like it’s the status quote again BUT the biggest change is behind the bench and this could be the most significant change of all.  Before I make any judgements I want to see what Rick Bowness does with this group.   

9. Jets:  On paper, it looks like the Jets should have an improved 4th line with David Gustaffson (if he can stay off the IR), Jansen Harkins, Morgan Barron, Sam Gagne, and Dominic Toninato filling out the bottom 6.  

10. Jets:  My weekly question for Kevin Cheveldayoff or Mark Chipman or Rick Bowness.  

Everyone in the free world knows you’re carrying too many NHL-ready defencemen and you are probably going to move 1 or 2 but isn’t it tough to move guys so close to the start of the season?  It’s probably okay if they don’t live here full time but it does lead to a lot of scrambling just before the season starts for the players and their families.  Conversely, it is pro hockey and part of the business so boo hoo.  Forget about it, I retract the question.

11. Jets:  What do you think of Chevy’s work so far this offseason?  

Are you happy with Chevy's work so far this off-season?

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12. Important Dates:  

September 16-19:   Young Stars Classic in Penticton, BC. 

Game 1:   Winnipeg vs Edmonton Fri, Sept. 16 4:00pm PT
Game 2:  Calgary vs Vancouver Fri, Sept. 16 7:30pm PT
Game 3:  Calgary vs Edmonton Sat, Sept. 17 7:30pm PT
Game 4:  Vancouver vs Winnipeg Sun, Sept. 18 2:00pm PT
Game 5:  Winnipeg vs Calgary Mon, Sept. 19 11:00am PT
Game 6:  Vancouver vs Edmonton Mon, Sept. 19 2:30pm PT

September 24:  Winnipeg Jets Fanfest.

13. Jets:  The Winnipeg Jets signed David Gustafsson to a two-year contract with an average annual value in the NHL of $775,000.  This deal is a two-way contract for the 2022-23 season and a one-way contract for 2023-24.  Interesting, I guess the Jets didn’t want Gus to think they were gifting him a job this winter even though everybody knows his Manitoba Moose days a 99% over.

14. Jets: This Winnipeg Jets team has good players and hopefully with a change in coaching philosophy, accountability,  and players having a greater commitment to team defence they can make 2021-22 seem like just a bad memory.  (see #8)  

15. Jets:  Connor Hellebuyck will be the first to admit last season wasn’t his best but I’d never count out a team with a motivated and committed HELLE.  He was inconsistent and not his usual self last year but this off-season his summer regime won’t be interrupted by Covid cutting into his training time.  

16. Jets:  Everything about 2021-22 was a clusterf**k and this season will be the first time since Covid interrupted our lives that there will be some normalcy.  I remain optimistic and still like this Jets team.  It sure beats being miserable and negative.  To the nay-sayers, I say give them a chance you might be pleasantly surprised.  (see # 8 and 15)

17. Jets:  By the way, I don’t think Barry Trotz is out of the Jet’s future plans yet.  It’s just a hunch based on absolutely nothing.

18. Jets:  In an interesting off-ice move, TNSE hired long-time TSN football and hockey personality Sara Orlesky to the Jets family.  Sarah’s title will be Sr. Host/Producer.  Orlesky will provide behind-the-scenes features and player interviews for Jets broadcasts and Jets TV.  Solid hire as everybody loves Sarah.

19. Jets:  Last time I checked the Jets had 10 defencemen under contract with eyes on the NHL roster.  Pitter-Patter Chevy.  (see #10)

20. Jets:  If you’re driving west on Roblin Blvd close to the perimeter look up at the 4th-floor balcony of the condos just to the south of the Shoppers Drug Mart, you’ll see a red maple leaf on the balcony wall and there’s a good chance I’ll be sitting there, honk and wave.

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Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: July 25

Mitch Kasprick is now the “Westdale curmudgeon” 

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 Pierre-Luc Dubois drama is settled for the time being as he accepted the Jets qualifying offer of $6,000,000 although it still doesn’t settle the big picture.  It will be very interesting and probably be very frustrating watching this play out.     

2. Jets:  Rick Bowness was a guest on Winnipeg Sports Talk last week with Andrew Patterson and Michael Remis and the way he was talking it seemed like he was inferring that ALL the players including Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler were very disappointed in their season last year and are all-in to prove they are better than last year’s result.  Bowness sounded very positive and upbeat, although it would be surprising if he wasn’t.  Reading between the lines he made it sound like the captain will be back, so maybe the trade rumours were just that, rumours.  The Jets are short on top 6 forwards so trading Scheif or the captain just makes no sense.  For now.    

3. Jets:  Isn’t it funny that with all the drama surrounding PLD how the Mark Scheifele trade rumours have subsided?    

4. Jets:  I really liked Evgeny Svechnikov but he didn’t move the needle enough for me to get all bent out of shape because the Jets didn’t extend him a qualifying offer.  

5. Jets:  I think Connor Hellebuyck (6’4) and David Rittich (6’3) will be a decent combo.  I like big goalies and these two are big. 

6. Jets:  The Winnipeg Jets have added Brad Lauer and Marty Johnson to Rick Bowness’s coaching staff.  To be honest I really have no opinion on these hires until we see them at work.  The proof will be in the special teams.  Fingers crossed folks. 

7. Jets:  I’ve never been an Andrew Copp guy although I’ll admit the Jets will miss him BUT not at $5,625,000 per season.  That’s a lot of cheese for a 3rd line winger which I still think Copp is.  He got his wish and will be a top 6 forward in Detroit and we’ll see how that pans out.  Good luck Andrew and my condolences to Red Wings fans.    

8. Jets:  Mason Appleton has an arbitration hearing set for Aug. 11 but he and the team can still negotiate a new deal up to the deadline.  Appleton was paid $900,000 last season and I predict the Jets and him settle on a new deal before the arb hearing somewhere in the $1,200,000 range.

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9. NHL:  There isn’t a lot on the UFA market that really interests me besides the obvious like Nazim Kadri but maybe a player like Evan Rodriquez, Sonny Milano, or Lawson Crouse could be on Chevy’s radar.      

10. Jets:  My weekly question for Kevin Cheveldayoff or Mark Chipman or Rick Bowness.

Hey Chevy, are the fish biting at the lake?  I hope so because outside of David Rittich you’ve landed nothing but a bunch of minnows from the UFA pool. 

11. Jets:  What do you think of Chevy’s work so far?  

Are you happy with Chevy's work so far this off-season?

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12. Important Dates:  

August 9:  U20 WHC starts in Edmonton and runs until Aug.20.

August 11:  Mason Appleton arbitration hearing.

13. Jets:  In my opinion, David Gustafsson is the only forward from the Moose that will graduate to the big club this fall.  FYI, I’m counting Morgan Barron as a Jets roster player.  Chevy has his work cut out to fortify the forward group.  

14. Jets:  With Paul Stastny not returning this year, I would assume that a top 6 forward spot is there for the taking for Cole Perfetti.

Perfetti/Scheifele/Ehlers

Connor/Dubois/Wheeler   

15. Jets:  Although it’s been said an NHL team needs 8-10 defencemen to get themselves through a season, as of today the Jets have too many NHL-ready defencemen looking for jobs on the big club.  Chevy has to thin the herd.  Right now the Jets have Morrissey, DeMelo, Pionk, Dillon, Schmidt, Samberg, Stanley, Heinola, Kovacevic, Capobianco, Chisholm, and Gwanke all knocking on the door for NHL employment.   

16. Jets:  Players have off seasons and I have no doubt that this current Jets team will be motivated to be better.  There is too much talent on this team and hockey players are extremely competitive and have too much pride, so I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do with a new head coach and a clean slate.  Call me crazy but I still have faith in this team. 

17. Jets:  Speaking of defencemen, Jonathon Kovacevic has signed a 3-year deal with the Jets worth $766,700 per season at the NHL level with the first 2 years being a 2-way deal while the 3rd season is a 1-way deal.  This year Kovacevic is not waiver exempt so it is a real possibility the Jets could lose him.  Stay tuned.   

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Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: May 23

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. WHC:  Pierre-Luc Dubois and Adam Lowry are playing very well for Team Canada, Nikolaj Ehlers is easily Denmark’s best player and Nate Schmidt is one of Team USA’s steadier defencemen.  Leon Gawanke just joined Team Germany and notched a point in his first game and now all five players representing the Jets have points for their countries.  Not bad.

 

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Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: May 2

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 played three games this past week and won all three giving them a record of 39-32-11 on the season.  It took them all year but they finally put together a 4-game winning streak.  Mercifully this frustrating season is over.   

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Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: April 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.

1. Jets:  The Winnipeg Jets played three games this past week going 1-2-0 giving them a record of 36-32-11 on the season and now return home for their final 4 games of the season.   

UPDATE:

Winnipeg Jets defenceman Josh Morrissey has been named the team’s nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.  The Masterton Trophy is awarded annually by the National Hockey League to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

The trophy is named in honour of the late Bill Masterton (born in Winnipeg), a Minnesota North Stars player who died on January 15, 1968, after sustaining an injury during a hockey game.

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