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: May 30

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:  Team Canada had a very good tournament but had to settle for the silver medal in a game with controversial calls in the 3rd period AND overtime that cost them their and indirectly their starting goalie.  In spite of this, in true Canadian style, the boys scored two late goals with their goalie pulled and forced overtime where they lost on another powerplay goal.  To say the officials had a major say in this outcome would be a major understatement.    

Both Pierre-Luc Dubois and Adam Lowry were major contributors throughout the tournament and represented the Winnipeg Jets very well.

[Read more…]

The Winnipeg Jets 2nd Segment Update

Four segments of 13 points will get the Winnipeg Jets to 95 points –

I’ve already conceded that the Winnipeg Jets will not make the playoffs but for you, optimistic fans out there that still have hope here is what needs to happen.  I call it the race to 52 points.   

[Read more…]

Winnipeg Jets Prospects At The 2022 U20 WHC

Winnipeg Jets prospects at WJHC –

The 2022 U20 WJHC starts on Sunday, Dec.26 in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta.  The Winnipeg Jets will have two of their first rounders and two of their second rounders representing four countries in this year’s event. [Read more…]

Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Oct. 18

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 lost their season opener 4-1 versus the Anaheim Ducks and lost game two 4-3 to the San Jose Sharks after coming out strong in both games and then wilting as the game went on.  Losing to two Pacific Division lightweights is a bit concerning going into game three against a good Minnesota Wild team.  There is no way to sugarcoat these first two games.       

2. Jets:  John Gibson 1 Connor Hellebuyck 0 …. Gibson easily won round #1 of the fight for Team USA’s goal crease in the upcoming Olympics.    

3. Jets As expected Evgeny Svechnikov was inked to a one-year, two-way contract with an AAV of $750,000.  I love this signing, I really hope he works out.   

4. Jets:  I’m not just saying this because Kyle Connor scored the first goal in the game and won me $5.00 in my season-long “First Goal of the Game” contest with my buddy Ben on Wednesday BUT I thought this was possibly the best 200 ft game I’ve ever seen him play.  KC actually back-checked hard and made a couple of decent defensive plays and a couple of takeaways.  I thought he did the same in game #2 as well.  I guess he’s taken Paul Maurice’s challenge to heart.  I hope this is the start of a new Kyle Connor.

Embed from Getty Images

PS:  Ben kicked my ass last year in our “First Goal” contest but I beat him the year before. 

5. NHL:  I’ve always liked Andrew Ladd and I hope he can resurrect his career with the Arizona Coyotes.  Ladd potted a goal on Saturday versus Buffalo so he is off to a positive start.   

6. Jets:  Why would Paul Maurice and the Winnipeg Jets play Andrew Copp on the second line where he can ride the coattails of Nikolaj Ehlers and Pierre-Luc Dubois and boost his market value with better offensive numbers?  Andrew Copp is not a legitimate top-six winger but we do have a kid like Cole Perfetti that would make sense to groom in a top-six role.  Kowtowing to Andrew Copp is a no-win situation for the Jets and artificially boosting his stats so he gets paid just makes no sense to me.  

7. Jets:  The Jets home opener is Thursday versus Anaheim and it could be a surly bunch in the stands if they come home 0-3.

8. Jets:  I’ve seen enough of Andrew Copp on the second line to see it’s not going to work.  He needs to go back home on the third line with Adam Lowry.  Paul Maurice should consider trying Cole Perfetti or Evgeny Svechnikov with Pierre-Luc Dubois and Nikolaj Ehlers.  (see #6)   

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:  After two losses in Jetsville it has a different feel.  Normally it would be angst but it seems more like frustration.  I know it’s a tired narrative saying “relax it’s early” but it really is early as this Jets team is a work in progress trying to work in new players and a new system.  My patience meter is set to ten games before I overreact.  

11. NHL:  I’ve watched about a dozen games so far this season and I just shake my head at the lack of consistency in officiating from game to game.  It is amazing what is a penalty in one game and what gets let go in another.  No wonder coaches lose their hair. 

12. Jets:  Brendan Dillon has dealt out some punishing hits early on this season and it’s nice to have some physicality on the back-end but he needs to pick his spots.  He went for a big hit in the SJ game and missed his man and it lead directly to a big goal for the Sharks.      

13. NHL:  Too many fans and some television media put too much emphasis on the greatness of players based on goals scored in 3 on 3 overtime or shootouts.  New Jersey Devil’s tv guys were ready to induct Jack Hughes into the hockey hall of fame after his overtime goal last week.  It was a beauty but relax guys it was scored in a skills competition.

14. Jets:  Cole Perfetti really hasn’t looked out of place in his first two NHL games and it would make more sense if he was playing with PLD and Nik Ehlers.  (see #8)

15. Jets:  Just in case you and a buddy/buddies want to have your own “FIRST GOAL” contest here are the rules we use.  You can tweak them any way you want but here is a starting template.

Rules:  The player you select must score the first, second, or third goal of the game.

Top 6 forwards:

PP and even-strength goals:

1st Goal – $5.00  2nd Goal – $3.00  3rd Goal – $1.00

Bottom 6 forwards and all defencemen:
1st Goal – $10.00  2nd Goal – $6.00  3rd Goal – $2.00

Shorthanded goals:

All players:

1st Goal – $10.00  2nd Goal – $6.00  3rd Goal – $2.00

Powerplay goals:

Bottom 6 forwards and all defencemen:
1st Goal – $10.00  2nd Goal – $6.00  3rd Goal – $2.00

Top 6 forwards:

1st Goal – $5.00  2nd Goal – $3.00  3rd Goal – $1.00  (nothing extra)

Alternate picking first each game.

Can’t take the same player in consecutive games.

16. Jets:  Every fanbase has their whipping boy and early on this season it looks like Blake Wheeler is the choice so far in Jetsville.  I’m not there but I will concede that the team might be better off with him on a different line and he could still run the #1 powerplay.  The captain may want to play with Scheif but the coach’s job is to do what’s best for the team and not what’s best for Blake Wheeler. 

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

  • Good:  The mobility of the Jets blueline this year.  Comparing this group to last year’s is like night and day and should lead to better breakouts and a better transition game.  
  • Bad:  Connor Hellebuyck had bad starts in both games and it was just enough to give two weaker teams momentum after being outplayed early in the game 
  • Ugly:  The special teams and especially the PK that gave up four goals in ten attempts.

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: 31st at 00.00% 
  • PK: 27th at 60.00%  
  • FO: 26th at 47.10%

19. Goaltending:

  • Conner Hellebuyck:  0-2-0 … 4.10 GAA … .849 SV% 
  • Eric Comrie:  0-0-0 … 0.00 GAA … .000 SV%

20. CFL:  The Winnipeg Blue Bombers improved their record to 9-1 after winning a hard-fought game in Edmonton on Friday night.  The Bombers escaped with a 10 point win in a game where they were not at their best.  Edmonton’s defence came to play and the Elks may have deserved a better fate.  They say that good teams find a way to win games ugly and this was certainly the case on this night.  Next up the Blue Bombers host BC on Saturday night.   

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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

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