Random Thoughts From Motown Mitch: July 9

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:  Allan Walsh is parading his prize UFA Jan Kovar around like he’s John Tavares and telling every fanbase that he hasn’t ruled them out.  He (Kovar) would be making his decision by Sunday.  Sunday has come and gone but nothing from LeBron er I mean Jan.  The 28-year-old forward has had four pretty good years in the KHL with Magnitogorsk Metallurg but I am a little concerned about the HUGE drop-off in his fifth year.  He probably won’t come cheap and I don’t see him in the Jets top six so I’ll pass. 


Hallelujah … Lebron is taking his talents to Brooklyn or wherever they play now.  Jan Kovar has signed a one-year deal with the New York Islanders.  

2.  Jets:  There has been some banter lately about Jacob Trouba getting a new contract done and what his agent Kurt Overhardt would be asking for.  Most pundits point to the John Carlson contract as a potential comparable.  It’s not really a comparable in my opinion but there is nothing wrong with the Trouba camp using the Carlson contract as a starting point.  Go ahead and shoot for the moon, I say!  We’ve all heard the saying “it’s not where you start but it’s where you finish”.  There is no doubt Jake is a top-four defenceman but Carlson money is usually reserved for guys that put up points.  Now we know why Kurt Overhardt was citing “usage” as an issue in their last negotiations. 

 3.  CFL:  Winnipeg Blue Bombers 41 – BC Lions 19 … The return of Bomber QB Matt Nichols was a rousing success.  The best part was how they still managed to keep Chris Streveler involved in the offence.  Adam Bighill had a big game and showed why he was considered to be one of the best free agent pickups in the CFL this off-season.  I love watching the good guys dominate. 

4.  NHL:  Although players in the NHL get paid in U.S. dollars, $6,500,000 in Winnipeg and $6,500,000 Las Vegas are not the same things.  Just another reason to hate Count Chocula’s new toy.  Now, every July 1, the Vegas Golden Knights can flaunt the fact that if UFAs sign with them they don’t have to worry about pay “State Income Tax”.  That’s a real level playing field, isn’t it?  There are actually a couple of States that don’t have State Income Tax but I’m focusing on Vegas right now because I just don’t like them.         

5.  General:  For me, the Players Tribune has lost most of its lustre because I thought the players actually wrote those heartfelt pieces, not just an interview put in print.  

6.  World Cup:  Insert name here ?? _____ should stop overreacting, faking an injury, and acting.  It’s pathetic and embarrassing.  Just fill in the blank, its somebody different every year.  This year its Brazil’s Neymar.  

7.  Jets:  Last weeks poll question results didn’t really surprise me.  The question was WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE AS CONNOR HELLEBUYCK’S BACKUP” and 79% of our voters responded they weren’t comfortable with either (Brossoit or Comrie) … 13% voted for Laurent Brossoit … 7% voted for Eric Comrie.

8.  Blue Jays: I like the player the Blue Jays got from Boston in the Steve Pearce trade.  His name is Santiago Espinal, a 23-year-old shortstop who’s slash line is .314 AVG/.364 OBP/.478 SLG in 64 games with high-A Salem.  My concern is he is actually a little old for A ball.  Maybe he will be a late bloomer. 

9.  Blue Bombers:  There is no doubt in my mind that Adam Bighill could have played both ways in the old days and he would have probably been a fullback on offence.   

10.  Jets:  I was going to list all the Winnipeg Jets players that filed for arbitration but it is such a non-issue I figured I wouldn’t waste both of our times.  Contract talks rarely ever get there.  Neither side wants to go to arbitration.  It’s just a tool for RFAs.

Okay, okay, okay.  Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, defenceman Jacob Trouba and forwards Adam Lowry, Brandon Tanev and Marko Dano filed for arbitration.  Tucker Poolman opted out because really, what does he have to complain about? 


11.  Blue Bombers:  I heard the Bombers signed Adarius Bowman.   

12.  Wimbledon:  Another win for Milos.  Milos Raonic is the lone Canadian to make it to the second week of Wimbledon.  He will face American Mackenzie McDonald in the round of sixteen today and is probably on the court as I post this. 


Milos Raonic has defeated Mackenzie McDonald in four sets and moves on to the quarter-finals.on the first two sets.

13.  NHL:  Remember when “Fail for Nail” was a thing?  The Edmonton Oilers selected Nail Yakupov with the #1 overall selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.  After six seasons of trying but not being able to parlay his terrific junior career into a successful NHL career, he is heading to the KHL.  I’m guessing Winnipeg Jets fans are pretty happy with the guy we got that year?  I think Tampa and Nashville are pretty happy with the guys they ended up with too.  Take a look at the second round in 2012.  It’s hard to look at.     

14.  Jets:  Question for Kevin Cheveldayoff:  You don’t really think Laurent Brossoit is the answer as Connor Hellebuyck’s backup do you?  Are you just messing with us?  That is why you only signed him for peanuts on a one-year deal right? 

15.  NHL:  So Erik Karlsson has his nose out of joint because Drew Doughty signed an eight-year contract for $88,000,000 and Ottawa ONLY, I repeat ONLY offered an eight-year deal worth $80,000,000.  Who the %$&$#*#$ do you think you are?  You can’t imagine the expletives spewing from my face when I first heard this.  He was just looking for a reason to get traded and used the Senator’s contract offer as his out.  If you want out just say so.  Don’t give us a line of BS about how you love Ottawa and want to remain a Senator.  By the way Erik, the reason Doughty got $88,000,000 is that he’s a better player than you!    

16.  MLB: Pet Peeve:  Baseball players that are hitting .230 that persist in trying to beat the shift.  This tells me a lot about the player.  A.) He is stubborn.  B.) He is arrogant. C.) He is flat-out stupid.  D.) He is extremely selfish.  It’s a little different if your David Ortiz and your lifetime numbers are .286 AVG/.380 OBP/ .552 SLG with 541 home runs and 1768 RBI to boot.  If you’re not putting up numbers in that range, I think it’s time to get your ass to the batting cage and learn how to hit the ball the other way.       

17.  CFL:  The ref-cam schtick that TSN is trying needs a lot of work.  I thought the video was wobbly and grainy but I’m a curmudgeon so who knows?        

18.  Jets:  Lots of wishful thinking in Winnipeg that Jack Roslovic can be the second line center.  When did Bryan Little become a plug?  JR might be the Jets future #2 center but I think this season might be a little too soon.  I do want to see a lot more of Roslovic this season, maybe third line center?

19.  PGA: It looks like there is a little momentum building for a “made for tv” grudge match between new best buddies Tiger and Phil.  A TEN million dollar winner-take-all nonetheless.  Who in their right mind would put up $10,000,000 to make this happen?  I would prefer seeing these two put up their own money and maybe play a $1,000,000 Nassau.  Or make it interesting and play a $5,000,000 Nassau.  I’m pretty sure they can both afford it.  Now that would get my attention.

Nassau definition:  The Nassau is one of golf’s most popular wagers.  It is a bet that is basically three separate bets.  Money is wagered on the best match play score on the front nine (holes 1–9), back nine (holes 10–18), and total 18 holes.   

20:  Blue Jays:  I’m not actually a Pat Tabler hater but sometimes I wish he would take an inning off.

21.  PGA:  Kevin Na shot a final round -6 and won the Green Brier Classic going away on Sunday.  It was his first win in seven years and I have never been this bored watching a golf tournament in seven years.  WHEN IS THE BRITISH OPEN?   

22.  Jays:  I really thought Blue Jays reliever Joe Biagini was going to be a decent long-man because he was a starter but he seems to have found himself again as a one-inning pitcher.  Gibby just keeps trotting out a different pitcher every inning.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jays have the biggest bullpen in MLB.  I can’t keep track of the guys in there and I watch every game.     

23.  World Cup:  The final four are set with France facing Belgium and England playing Croatia.  France sure seems to show up quite often in the semi-finals for a country that’s not considered a soccer power.  I believe that’s three times in the last six World Cups.

24.  Blue Jays:  Young leftie Ryan Borucki looks like a keeper.  The twenty-four-year-old was selected by the Blue Jays in the 15th round of the 2012 Major League Baseball draft.  He was called up by the Blue Jays late in June and looks like a lock to stay in the starting rotation.  Borucki has hurled three straight quality starts for the Jays but has received absolutely no run support.  Keep an eye on this kid.  

25.  Key dates:

  • CFL Week 5:  Saturday, July 14:  The rematch … Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2-2) at B.C. Lions (1-2).
  • NHL Free Agency Period:  July 1 – Free agency is now officially open and should make for an interesting summer. 

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Thanks, Mitch 

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