Random Thoughts From Motown Mitch: July 2

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

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.

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

1.  NHL:  FYI:  This doesn’t happen very often so it might be a surprise to some hockey fans.  Quite often we hear about the mega-stars in the NHL signing contract extensions by their current teams for eight years before they become UFAs on July 1.  Free agent rules allow you to sign your own UFAs for a max of eight years and players from other teams for seven years.  Teams can offer their own players extensions in the final year of their contracts.  

There were two notable eight-year contracts signed his past week.  The LA Kings signed Drew Doughty to an eight-year contract with an AAV of $11,000,000 per season and the San Jose Sharks signed Logan Couture to an eight-year deal with an AAV of $8,000,000 per season.

This year’s prized free agent is John Tavares and since he did not sign with the Islanders before midnight on July 1 he is just like all of the rest of the expiring UFAs.   JT can now only sign a contract with a maximum term of seven years.  Like I said, it doesn’t happen very often.  I believe the last big name to NOT resign with his current club was Scott Niedermayer in 2005.

As it turns out John Tavares signed a seven-year deal with Toronto.         

2.  Jets:  Sometimes addition by subtraction is a necessary evil in the salary cap world and not a bad thing.  Because of Connor Hellebuyck’s breakout season, the Winnipeg Jets were in a position of not needing or wanting Steve Mason’s contract on the books.  Steve Mason ended up being an expensive and costly insurance policy.  They enticed Montreal into taking Mason and his $4,100,000 contract by throwing in Joel Armia (RFA) and a couple of picks (7th in 2019 and a 4th in 2020) for AHL defenceman Simon Bourque.  The Jets dump Mason’s salary and don’t have to worry about a new contract for Joel Armia.   This allows the Jets to replace Armia with an entry-level contract, probably Jack Roslovic, and put some money towards some of their other prized RFAs.  I was never a big Joel Armia fan so for me, it’s no harm, no foul.  He could dangle but he only had one speed.  The Winnipeg Jets have now eliminated their two slowest skaters in Joel Armia and Matt Hendricks (signed with Minnesota).  I’m good.   

 3.  CFL:  Hamilton Tiger-Cats 31 – Winnipeg Blue Bombers 17 … In a game that was still in doubt at half-time, Hamilton QB  Jeremiah Masoli and his offence got the ball first in the second half and went through the Bomber defence like a hot knife through butter and did it again until the score was 31-10 and that was basically game, set, and match.  The Bombers did threaten a little bit late in the fourth quarter but it was too little, too late.   

4.  NHL:  I like James van Riemsdyk but not at $35,000,000 over five years.  That’s July 1st for ya.     

5.  Blue Bombers:  I was extremely irritated by this headline in Saturday’s Winnipeg Free Press …. “Ticats’ Masoli schools Streveler”.  REALLY?  I realize the Bomber offence had six consecutive two-and-outs BUT didn’t Masoli actually take Richie Hall’s defence to school? 

6.  World Cup:  Saturday was a rough day for losing star power at the World Cup with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo both being eliminated in the round of sixteen.  Weren’t Argentina and Portugal two of the big favourites to win this international bootfest?

7.  Jets:  I thought Paul Stastny re-signing with the Winnipeg Jets was a slam dunk and especially after Chevy cleared up some cap space with the Mason/Armia trade.  I must admit I’m extremely disappointed and especially when Brian Burke went public with Chevy’s contract offers.  I’m still shocked! 

8.  Blue Jays:  After splitting their four-game series in Anaheim, the Jays had a chance to win their series versus Houston and come home with a respectable 4-3 road trip but reliever Ryan Tepera puked up the lead in the bottom of the ninth in the third game of the series.  Alex Bregman hit a two-run walk-off homer and that was the ball game.  What bugged me though was Bregman had been scorching the Blue Jays the whole series and it looked like they had no game plan for him.  I guess John Gibbons and Pete Walker have never heard of the “seven P’s (actually 8) of planning” … prior, proper, planning, and preparation, prevents, piss-poor, performance.  Put that in your pppppppipe and smoke it Gibby.

9.  Blue Bombers:  Once again, I was not impressed with Richie Halls “bend and DO break” defence on Friday night versus Hamilton.  Like I said last week, the guillotine was out for sharpening and I’ve got an itchy finger!  (see #3)  

10.  Jets:  The Winnipeg Jets agreed to terms with goaltender Laurent Brossoit to a one-year contract with an AAV of $650,000.  This looks to me as an AHL acquisition and now I can’t help but wonder if the Jets think Eric Comrie is ready to be the back-up?  If this is the case, I’m very concerned.  I don’t think Comrie is anywhere close to being ready.  I’m not even convinced he is an NHL goalie.  I would have preferred Michael Hutchinson.  Hutch (UFA) was one of the AHL’s top goalies last season and has been a top goalie in the AHL for quite some time but he has signed a one-year deal with the Florida Panthers.  I hope the Jets don’t think Brossoit is their NHL backup.  GULP!  I don’t like it.  That’s not enough in the backup position for my liking. 

 

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Manitoba Moose goaltender Eric Comrie

11.  Blue Bombers:  I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.  During Friday nights Bomber game the coaches and quarterbacks were mic’d up and the Ti-Cats had the ball at midfield with a minute left in the first half and Mike O’Shea brilliantly proclaimed that “they are going to try to score here!”  No shit Sherlock.  Was this the type of inciteful dialogue TSN was expecting on mic’d up night?   

12.  Moose:  Although the Winnipeg Jets sent out the press release that they have acquired forward Nicolas Kerdiles from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for winger Chase De Leo, this is strictly a minor-league trade.  I liked Chase DeLeo but I never considered him an NHLer and Kerdiles has a whopping two games in the show.

13.  NHL:  Once again, NHL GMs make a mockery of the CBA.  John Tavares’ contract is all bonuses and basically lockout-proof.  This contract is complete BS!  It will be hilarious during the next CBA negotiations when the owners complain about loopholes that see players being paid millions while being locked out.  

14.  Jets:  Question for Kevin Cheveldayoff:  Is it true you actually offered Paul Stastny a one-year deal and after he laughed you upped it to two years and his camped laughed at that too?  Offering Stastny a one-year deal was insulting in my opinion.      

15.  NHL:  I liked a couple of signings this past weekend by the Arizona Coyotes.  They signed Niklas Hjalmarsson for an additional two years.  His two-year deal has an AAV of  $5,000,000 per season.  This contract kicks in for the 2019-20 season.  They also signed Michael Grabner to a three-year deal with an AAV of $3,350,000 per season.    

16.  Pet Peeve:  I realize it’s not Tiger Woods fault but Sunday morning on ALL of the major sports networks their highlight packages basically showed wall-to-wall coverage of Eldrick’s third round in the Quicken Loans National.  I must preface this by saying I had no idea who was in contention or what the leaderboard looked like.  As it turns out, Tiger shot a respectable 68 BUT was in 10th place, six shots behind the leaders.  Abraham Ancer shot a course record 62 for a tournament-leading -13.  Francesco Molinari shot a solid 65 to also finish at -13 after three rounds.  Abraham Ancer got a token mention at the end of the highlight package and Molinari got nothing.  UNBELIEVABLE.

Francesco Molinari tied the course record (62) on Sunday and won the tourney going away (-21).  Tiger shot 68 and finished in fourth place, ten shots behind Molinari.  I didn’t watch the highlights this morning (Monday) but I bet I know how they went.

17.  Jets:  It looks like the Winnipeg Jets will probably be younger again this season.  I have no doubt the younger players coming in (eg. Roslovic, Vesalainen) will be solid contributors but probably not right away.  How many more 80-90 point seasons from Blake Wheeler can the Jets waste while developing more kids?  The NHL is becoming a younger league but the Jets youth was really exposed in the playoffs.  I’m worried.      

18.  Jets:  I think Kevin Cheveldayoff’s biggest fault in signing players is he gives them too much term so I can understand him not wanting to give Paul Stastny a multi-year contract BUT how is giving a 32-year-old Stastny a three-year deal worse than signing a 30-year-old Bryan Little’s six-year contract with an AVV of $5,291,666 last year?    

19.  LPGA:  It was tough watching the usually tough as nails Brooke Henderson struggle on Sunday at the Women’s PGA.  Henderson started the final round in second place but after a two over 74, she finished T6.  Brooke Henderson might be one of my favourite Canadian athletes.   

20:   Blue Jays:  The Jays are 10-2 in their last dozen home games and even though their attendance is down this season they are still fifth overall in the AL with an average of 28,200 ducats sold per game.  Not bad for a team that is in fourth place in the AL East and hasn’t started its optimum lineup all year. 

21.  PGA:  Back to Tiger Woods.  I must admit I was never much of a Tiger fan.  I admired his game but I found myself cheering against him more often than not.  I’ve always liked the underdog when it comes to golf.  Now that Tiger is 42-years-old I find myself leaning the other way.  It wouldn’t break my heart if Eldrick gave young whipper-snappers like Jordan Speith, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, and Justin Thomas a spanking here and there on the back nine of his career.  In case you were wondering, my favourite golfer is Ricky Fowler.      

22.  Jets:  I’m not sure if I should be pissed off at Vegas or Paul Stastny or Chevy?  I’m leaning heavily in the direction of Chevy right now.  At times it looks like loyalty and a kumbaya environment is more important than winning.      

23.  MLB:  It was an absolute pleasure watching Houston’s Charlie Morton pitch versus the Blue Jays last week.  For me, it was a flashback to a time when pitchers could snap off a major league curveball along with their good fastball.  It seems like pitchers today are in love with their change-ups.  Changing speeds is good BUT I think pitchers today throw too many pitches on the same plane.   

24.  Jets:  In an unheralded move, Joe Morrow has re-upped with the Winnipeg Jets (1,000,000) for one more season.  Morrow is a decent depth d-man. 

25.  Key dates:

  • CFL Week 4:  Saturday, July 7:  Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1-2) vs B.C. Lions (1-1).
  • NHL Free Agency Period:  July 1 – Free agency is now officially open and should make for an interesting summer. 

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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 

Comments

  1. patti dawn swansson says

    Amen to No. 5.

  2. What was the offer Brian Burke reported can’t find it anywhere

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      during the Free Agent coverage on SportsNet, he said he knew Stastny wasn’t signing with the Jets … he said Chevy offered him a 1-year deal and they laughed and then he increased the offer to 2-year deal … Burke said although they would have loved to sign Stastny that they were in good shape without him … he went on to say their D & D was going great and really didn’t need to dip into the UFA market … I’m not sure if they talked $$$$ but it seemed like it was more about the term

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