Random Thoughts From Motown Mitch: June 25

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.  I’ve been toying with this idea for quite some time and after a little nudge from some friends (see #24) I have decided to branch out and include my thoughts, random or otherwise on all sports.  The Winnipeg Jets will always be the top-dog in town but as much as I think about hockey I do watch the CFL, PGA and LPGA, MLB, NBA, Curling, ATP and WTA, EPL, MLS, NASCAR and F1, Boxing, MMA, etc, etc, and I have thoughts and opinions on all of them.  As always, the Motown Curmudgeon will continue to share them here every Monday.  I also have opinions on the World Poker Tour and competitive BBQ but I’ll draw the line there (maybe).  Read at your own risk. 

For those of you that are new here and don’t know me, I can tell you I’m probably one of the biggest HOMERS on the planet and I make no apologies for this.  I am also not adverse to calling a spade a spade (to speak plainly – to describe something as it really is).  Nobody gets a free pass on my watch.

2.  Jets:  I didn’t mind the Winnipeg Jets first selection (second round) at this year’s NHL Entry Draft.  They selected a 6’2″ center from Sweden named David Gustafsson with the 60th overall pick.  He looks like a safe pick.  I wonder if Gustafsson will finally be the second-rounder that actually plays for the Jets?  I’m not holding out much hope though.  Only 12% of second-round picks actually play 250 games in the NHL.  To be fair, the Jets didn’t have second-round picks in 2011, 2014, and 2016 so will he be the one to break the Jets second-round curse or does he follow in the footsteps of Lukas Sutter, Nik Petan, Eric Comrie, Jansen Harkins, or Dylan Samberg?  To be fair Samberg and Harkins were just recently drafted so the jury is still out on them.

Winnipeg Jets second-round selection David Gustafsson

 3.  Blue Bombers:  I have to do a little back-peddling here so please excuse me.  I know this is older news but I was pleasantly surprised by Blue Bomber QB Chris Streveler’s play in week one.  The 23-year-old rookie gave the Blue Bombers more than a chance to win their season opener but in the end their defence, that actually played fairly well all game, couldn’t get it done in crunch-time and folded like a cheap suit.  Final: Edm 33 – Wpg 30.      

4.  NHL:  I didn’t like very much about the NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas last week but the tribute to the Humboldt Broncos was very well done.  The presentation of the newly minted “Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award” started out a little shaky and disjointed but once it was presented, it was pretty special.  Christina Haugan and surviving members of the Humboldt Broncos accepted the award for her late husband Darcy Haugan who coached the Broncos.  He was killed along with 15 others in the April 6 bus crash that stunned the hockey world. 

5.  Blue Bombers:  Winnipeg Blue Bombers 56 – Montreal Alouettes 10.  WOW!  The Blue Bombers beatdown in Montreal was fun to watch and especially after that frustrating marathon in week 1 versus Edmonton.  I’ve never been one for liking close games when my teams are playing, whether it’s hockey or football.  I enjoy close, competitive games when other teams are playing BUT I like my teams to dominate and the good guys did.        

6.  NHL:  Taylor Hall wins the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP and the Adam Larsson trade just gets a little more gasoline thrown on it.  Ouch. 

7.  Blue Bombers:  I’m not going to call for Richie Hall’s head quite yet but let’s just say I have the guillotine out for sharpening!  This was after week 1.  I’m not sure week 2 gets the defence off the hook because Montreal doesn’t have much of an offence … but … I will give credit where credit is due.  The Blue Bomber defence was very good on Friday night.  (see #2)

8.  Blue Jays:  After a brutal start and an injury, Randal Grichuk finally looks like the player Ross Atkins envisioned when he traded for him in January of this year.  The former Angels first-rounder (2009) has been very good for the Blue Jays since coming off the DL in early June.      

9.  FIFA:  I’m actually enjoying the World Cup.  I usually do.  Even if I’m not watching it, I still have it on the big screen (70 inches).  It makes me feel like I’m in a sports bar.  Now if only my wife would let me get the Caesars flowing before noon.  I tried telling her the WC only comes around every four years but she’s not biting.  

10.  Blue Bombers:  It looks like the Big Blue hit the mother lode with Chris Streveler and I am wondering if the PR and marketing machine is in high gear getting ready for Strevelermania.  I know it’s only been two weeks but it looks like the Blue Bombers have finally found a quarterback (on their own) that looks like he is actually suited to the CFL game.  Not only has the 23-year-old looked good on the field, the kid looks like a Norse God.  Talk about a marketing dream.  

 Image result for chris streveler

UPDATE: 

The Canadian Football League announced Tuesday that quarterback Chris Streveler has been named a Shaw CFL Top Performer for his work in last week’s win against Montreal.

Streveler completed 22 of 28 passes for 246 yards and three touchdowns while adding 10 rushes for 98 yards and another score in only his second professional start. Streveler now has six touchdowns in his first two games.

11.  Blue Jays:  Call me crazy.  For the most part, I actually like the makeup of the Toronto Blue Jays but for the past couple of seasons, I’ve been questioning what Pete Walker and Brook Jacoby are bringing to the table.  I’m seeing more and more players regress under their tutelage.  Going forward, I’m not sure I want Brook Jacoby anywhere near Teoscar Hernandez, Lourdes Gurriel Jr, Bo Bichette, and especially Vladdy Jr. 

12.  NHL:  I haven’t given the Vegas Golden Knights much credit or respect all season long and I’m not going to start now.  I think their whole season was a major fluke.  I think that Gerard Gallant was a miracle worker and he really deserved the Jack Adams Award as “Coach of the Year” but let’s see if he can follow it up next season.  I don’t think they make the playoffs.  Vegas isn’t going to ever see that Marc-Andre Fleury again.  Funny how everybody forgets how MAF stunk in Pittsburgh towards the end.  Ask any guy that had him in their fantasy pools.  Do we think William Karlsson scores 40 goals again next season?  I may have to eat my words but I doubt it.  I’m not from Missouri, I’m from Manitoba and the Knights are going to have to SHOW ME. 

13.  Jets:  The word on the street is that John Tavares is going to use the NHL “interview period” to meet with five teams.  JT is going to get paid but he is probably looking to go to a team that has a chance to win sooooooo I’m wondering if the Winnipeg Jets are one of the five teams?  It would seem to be a longshot but you never know.  We’ve all heard about this summer being about Chevy getting his RFAs under contract but with the cap increasing, I wouldn’t discount anything.  The Jets would have to move some salary.  Tyler Myers, Mathieu Perreault, or Steve Mason come to mind.  Let’s put it this way, if JT was interested in coming to Winnipeg, Chevy could make it happen.  Now in saying this, I believe that Paul Stastny is the Jets #1 priority and I think he resigns with the Jets.

          

14.  Jets:  Question for Kevin Cheveldayoff:  Dude!  Why so quiet at the draft?  I think most Winnipeg Jets fans were expecting some fireworks.

The Winnipeg Jets were spectators on Friday night but did select six players on Saturday.  After they selected David Gustafsson in the second round, they followed a familiar formula of drafting players out of Tier two ( I call the USHL and AJHL Tier Two) that are committed to college programs.  They did this with three of their last five picks.  It’s not a bad plan.  Park them in the NCAA for a couple of years and let them develop there.

3rd round – Nathan Smith (C) – Tampa, FL – Minnesota State

6th round – Jared Moe (G) – New Prague, MN – University of Minnesota  

7th round – Austin Wong (C) – Cochrane, AB – Harvard University 

The Jets threw their OHL scouts a bone by letting them select a couple of defencemen from the OHL.

5th round – Declan Chisholm (D) – Bowmanville ON – Peterborough Petes

5th round – Giovanni Vallati (D) – Ottawa, ON – Kitchener Rangers

UPDATE

The Winnipeg Jets have tendered qualifying offers to the following RFAs.

F – Joel Armia
G – Eric Comrie
F – Marko Dano
F – Chase De Leo
G – Connor Hellebuyck
F – JC Lipon
F – Adam Lowry
D – Josh Morrissey
F – Nic Petan
D – Tucker Poolman
F – Brandon Tanev
D – Jacob Trouba

The following players have not been tendered a qualifying offer

D – Jan Kostalek
F – Jimmy Lodge
D – Joe Morrow
G – Jamie Phillips

Not getting a qualifying offer doesn’t mean there won’t be a contract offer after July 1st.

15.  NHL:  I think Detroit were the big winners at the draft on Friday night getting Filip Zadina at #6 and Joseph Veleno at #30.

16.  NHL:  Pet Peeve:  The whole EA Sports cover (NHL 19) unveiling at the NHL Awards.  It was a colossal fail, a waste of time, and not even one iota funny.  Yes, I’m old and I was in full curmudgeon mode yelling at my tv … “GET THESE IDIOTS OFF THE STAGE!”

17.  Blue Jays:  Sometimes I just don’t understand how Gibby uses his bullpen.  Why does he use so many pitchers every night?  Four, five, and six pitchers for one or two innings each.  If Joe Biagini is supposed to be your long man then pitch him for four-six innings.  A perfect example was Thursday night in Anaheim versus the Angels.  Gibby takes out Biagini after two scoreless innings and puts in John Axford who serves up FOUR runs in two innings.  WHY GIBBY WHY?

18.  NHL:  This might be sour grapes but I’m not giving any award to a GM who thought trading Filip Forsberg for Martin Erat was a good idea.  There is NO statute of limitations on that type of stupidity!  (see #12)  

19.  NHL:  Here I go again with Vegas.  I’m growing tired of the whole Vegas thing.  Now that Las Vegas has an NHL team, I think it’s time to start moving the NHL Awards shows around. 

20.  Blue Jays:  Is Aaron Sanchez soft or just snakebitten?

21.  Blue Jays:  I’m so sick of watching Kevin Pillar swing for the fences.  YOU ARE NOT A HOME RUN HITTER!  This is actually a disease that runs rampant through quite a bit of the Blue Jays lineup and you don’t have to guess who I blame that on.  

22.  FIFA:  I wouldn’t quite call this a pet peeve but it does irritate me.  Can somebody explain to me the reason or significance why soccer players walk out to the pitch hand in hand with little kids before the game?  I don’t get it. 

23.  It’s been over two months since the horrific bus crash that took 16 lives in Saskatchewan and it still gets to me every time I think about it.  I can’t imagine losing teammates and a support staff like those kids did from the Humboldt Broncos.  It is very sad.   

24.  I want to say thanks to my old neighbour,  The River City Renegade, Patti Dawn Swansson and my podcast partner, Darryl Manchulenko who gave me a little nudge in the right direction and convinced me to expand my curmudgeoness beyond the hockey world.  Now I can share all my warped thoughts and pet peeves on every sport.  Free at last.  Thanks again to PDS and Manny!     

25.  Key dates:

  • NHL UFA Interview Period:  June 24 – Unrestricted free agents may meet and interview with potential new teams from the day after the NHL Entry Draft (but not later than June 25) until June 30.
  • CFL Week 3:  Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1-1) at Hamilton Tiger-Cats (1-1).
  • NHL Free Agency Period:  July 1 – Free agency begins on the first day of July.  UFA players are free to negotiate and sign a contract with any NHL team. 

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:

[email protected]

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 

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Comments

  1. patti dawn swansson says

    You’re welcome, Mitch. Have fun with it.

  2. The Bombers haven’t been relevant, well-run, or worth supporting since probably the 1980s. It’s a poor reflection on you that you waste time following/supporting them. 30 year Cup drought. Stadium already falling apart (and built in the worst location possible). -$200 million to the taxpayers (and they’ll never, ever pay it off). Lousy, old, obsolete “community ownership”. And a declining fanbase that merely attends games to get intoxicated on ridiculously overpriced beer. I could go on.

    There’s a difference between being a “die-hard fan” & an idiot/sheep.

    Support the Goldeyes instead. Much better-run sports franchise and value for your money.

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      The Goldeyes are on my list of teams I’m a fan of. I’ve loved minor league baseball since I was a kid. I actually attended the original Goldeyes games and the AAA Winnipeg Whips. Beat that LOL

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