Random Thoughts From Motown Mitch: Dec. 17

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

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

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 Blue Bombers, Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals, Toronto Blue Jays, Arizona Diamondbacks, Winnipeg Goldeyes, Toronto Raptors, all curlers from Manitoba, and all Canadian athletes competing on the international stage. 

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:  This past week the Winnipeg Jets took care of business and beat the leagues best team and stretched their winning streak to five games and nine of their last ten.  The Jets are now in first place in the Central and tied for first in the Western Conference with Calgary.  It was an extremely entertaining week with three overtime wins.  The good guys now have a record of 22-9-2.  

2.  Moose:  The Manitoba Moose played the Toronto Marlies twice this past weekend and got it handed to them by scores of 7-2 and 5-1.  With the two loses the Moose have a record of .444 (11-14-2-0) and are falling out of playoff contention.  The good news is there is still over half a season left and things in the AHL can change in a hurry.   

3.  Jets:  A lot of Jets fans, myself included have been a little concerned about the Jets coughing up big leads but in today’s NHL it isn’t as rare as in the past.  Teams seem to be playing pretty loose and wide open hockey looking to increase their big leads but it hasn’t always worked.  They do say the best defence is a good offence but I believe heading into the second half of the season teams will starting tightening up defensively and really ramp it up come playoff time.      

4.  Jets:  Regular visitors here know I’m a big Josh Morrissey guy and I have said he might be the Jets best defenceman but it’s not a debate between him and his partner Jacob Trouba but between him and big Buff.  Dustin Byfuglien is playing some of the best hockey in his career.  In saying that the Winnipeg Jets have a pretty nice top three don’t they?

5.  JetsThe “we need a second line center” talk has sure dissipated and I don’t mind gloating at the fact that I said Bryan Little will be fine and everybody should relax.  Bryan Little is healthy and playing good hockey.  Chalk one up for the curmudgeon.        

6.  NHL:  Enough already with the Chicago Blackhawks in the New Years Day Outdoor Classic.  This will their sixth appearance.  Does Count Chocula realize he has 30 other teams to choose from?  Ratings, ratings, ratings.  Yuck!        

7.  NHLThere seems to be a little more gripping about the divisional playoff format and it is now coming from the east.  Now that Toronto, Boston, and Tampa Bay are in the same situation as Nashville and Winnipeg last season the talk for a conference 1 vs 8, 2 vs 7, 3 vs 6, and 4 vs 5 format is gaining support.  For the record, I hate the way it is now.        

8.  NHL:  In case you missed it, with Seattle now joining the NHL the Arizona Coyotes will be moving to the Central Division.  This should spark a little more of the animosity between the two fanbases and on a personal level, it means more visits to the valley for the Winnipeg Jets and a couple more chances for Mr. and Mrs. Curmudgeon to see them.          

9.  Jets:  I have to admit I was pretty stoked when Chevy dipped his toes into the free agent pool a couple of years ago when he signed Chris Mason and Dmitry Kulikov but it really didn’t work out very well.  In fairness, Mason did push Helle into becoming the starter but he turned into a salary dump that cost the Jets Joel Armia.  Kulikov has actually been ok when healthy but he makes too much money for a part-time, third pairing defenceman.  July 1 is a hopeful day for teams and fans but more often than not these signings just don’t pan out.  Brian Burke always said that more mistakes are made on July 1 than any other day.  Lesson learned I guess 

10.  Jets:  This graphic came up during a recent Jets broadcast and I must admit I was quite surprised.  Everyone knows the Jets have a young team but even with veterans like Blake Wheeler, Bryan Little, and Dustin Byfuglien the Winnipeg Jets are the youngest team in the NHL.


11.  Jets Poll:  I’ve had some debate with friends and fans about Patrik Laine so I figured I would take it to the people.


Are you ok with Patrik Laine's weak defensive game as long as he's scoring 40-50 goals per season?

View Results

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12.  Jets:  I’m not a big Andrew Copp fan but I can’t wait until he returns to his regular spot on the Adam Lowry line thus freeing up Mathieu Perreault to play with Jack Roslovic and Mason Appleton.  (see #15) 

13.  Jets:  I seem to be losing the confidence I had for Laurent Brossoit earlier in the season.  I wonder if it is just me?   

14.  Raptors:  The Toronto Raptors finally slew the dragon and beat Golden State in their home arena and they did it with a decisive 20-point margin AND without Kawhi.  The Raptors had their best 30-game start in franchise history going 23-7.  The Raps are starting to open some eyes south of the border.  “We the North” baby!

15. Jets:  Question for Kevin Cheveldayoff:  What does Brendan Lemieux have on you and PoMo?  He is not better than Marko Dano or Nic Petan but yet there he is every night dragging down the fourth line.  I know picking on #48  is like a two-foot putt but C’MON MAN!

16.  Vikings:  After a pathetic offensive effort versus the Seattle Seahawks the Vikings fired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo and replaced him with quarterback coach Kevin Stefanski.  Man, they don’t mess around in the NFL.  It just goes to show you that pro sports and especially the NFL, it’s a harsh business and it is all about winning.  

17.  WHT Podcast:  FYI:  Podcast 079 has been postponed until this Thursday. 

If you have any questions for Darryl or myself (Mitch) please give us a shout.  You can use the comment section or use the #ASKWHTPOD hashtag on Twitter.   

18. Goaltending:

  • Conner Hellebuyck:  15-8-1 … 2.89 GAA … .908 SV%             
  • Laurent Brossoit:  7-1-1 … 2.35 GAA … .930 SV% 

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

  • PP:  2nd at 29.80% up from 3rd at 28.70% last week.    
  • PK:  9th at 82.30% up from 10th at 82.20% last week.   

20:  Key dates:

  • Jan. 1 – Jets can start negotiations with RFA defenceman Jacob Trouba.  

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

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We are looking for writers to cover the Winnipeg Jets, Manitoba Moose, 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 


  1. Wayne Knutson says

    Hi Mitch. Merry Christmas to you and yours.
    #7. The format should never have changed. 1 vs. 8 etc. is the best way to go. Playoff Round 1 games are awesome.
    #11. Laine is getting better every week with his 200′ game. I wouldn’t be too hard on the young man. If he stops growing or regresses, then he might need a bit of curmudgeon to wake him up.
    #13. LB is doing fine. might be the best 2nd we have had here.
    Thanks for doing this Mitch!!

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      Thanks for reading Wayne … I agree Laine’s 200 ft game is improving but it still has a long way to go. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  2. Does Byfuglien have to remain glued to the blue line on the powerplay? If he moved a few feet toward the slot wouldn’t that enable quicker puck movement? It seems when Wheeler passes it back to Buff, it’s like hitting “reset” on the powerplay rather than part of a continuous effort to create a scoring chance. I think the Capitals use the same “umbrella” configuration as the Jets and I believe John Carlson will move down from the blue line. I might sound like a curmudgeon complaining about the league’s 2nd best pp, but I think there’s room for improvement!
    Ryan recently posted…Random Thoughts From Motown Mitch: Dec. 17My Profile

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      Hey Ryan …. you are not wrong …. the PP is very good but it has to be adaptable as well. I also think Wheeler needs to shoot a little more to keep the opposing PK honest.

      Merry Christmas to you.

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