Random Thoughts From Motown Mitch: Mar. 11

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:  The Winnipeg Jets went 1-2 this week but finished off their 4-game road trip at 2-2.  All in all, not horrible considering the competition but it doesn’t get any easier in their upcoming 3-game homestand.  The Jets face San Jose, Boston, and Calgary.  The Jets still have a one-point lead on the Preds with two games in hand but there are no gimmees in those games in hand.  Their record is an impressive 40-24-4.  

2.  Moose:  The Manitoba Moose continued their home-ice dominance by winning two more home games this past week and are now legitimately back in the playoff race.  The Moose will continue to try to reel in the Texas Stars who are four points ahead of them in the standings AND they play the Stars in a two-game set this week at Bell MTS Place.  The Moose are still hanging around with a record of 29-26-3-2.  

3.  Jets:  Sami Niku has been left off the Manitoba Moose playoff roster so I guess he is staying with the big club BUT I hope he continues to dress when the Jets blueline brigade is healthy.  He has looked very solid lately.       

4.  JetsPatrik Laine has been very good since his bump up to the top line but can anyone remember the last time he shot a puck into the net at even strength?

5.  Jets:  Jacob Trouba should not be on any team’s first unit powerplay.  Even with Buff and Josh out with injuries, he is still behind Myers and Niku in my opinion.    

6.  NHL:  There is a real possibility that the Jets and Coyotes could meet in the first round of the playoffs.  The venom and animosity that will be spewed about owing the “WHITEOUT” will be interesting.  The Whiteout doesn’t belong to Jets 1.0/Coyotes or Jets 2.0.  It belongs to the fans on Winnipeg and don’t you forget it Bubba-Louie.  

7.  JetsI’m sick of Kyle Connor on the Jets first unit powerplay.  It is time for Kevin Hayes to be in that spot.   

8.  TSN, CBC, and SportsNet:  Whatever happened to the days when hockey broadcasts ended with showing the three stars of the game?  Why are the networks in such a big hurry to get to the sports desk and show us highlights of what we just saw?  This is a major pet peeve of mine and a HUGE FAIL by the Canadian networks IMO.  I actually enjoy watching Coyotes broadcasts on Fox Sports AZ more than Jets broadcasts.  They show the three stars of the game and have a dedicated regional post game show.  I wish we had that.             

9.  Jets:  I’m still baffled by the Chiarot hate I see on Twitter.  He is not the Jets biggest problem on the back-end.  Far from it.  

10.  Jets:  Before the NHL Trade Deadline I was dead set against the Jets giving up a 1st-rounder for Kevin Hayes.  After further consideration, I will retract that statement.  I really like Hayes’ game and I think he has been a great addition.  I would go as far as to say I would mind seeing Chevy offer him a contract extension.

 

11.  Jets:  I wonder if Kevin Hayes has ever had this much speed on his wings?   

12:  Raptors:  Norman Powell has been a very important yet underrated piece of the Toronto Raptors lineup. 

13:  Jets:  Question for Kevin Cheveldayoff:  Now that Kristian Vesalainen’s NHL season is over, what’s the plan?  Are you going to send him to the Manitoba Moose, have him join the big club, or shut him down for the balance of the season?  

14:  The Brier:  Mike McEwen, Reid Carruthers, Derek Samagalski, and Colin Hodgson went 6-5 at the Brier last week and really didn’t look very good at times.  It was a disappointing week overall and I’m not sure the McEwen/Carruthers tandem can work.  

15:  Brier:  With all due respect to Brad Gushue’s Newfoundland rinks and their record-setting 132 Brier wins, how many wins do you think skips like Kevin Martin or Jeff Stoughton would have if they got free passes in their Provincial Championships every year?        

16:  Raptors:  I’m not sure the Raps can become a championship contending team until they can consistently hit the three-ball.  In my opinion, it is their Achilles heel and just like clockwork, the moment I wrote this they went on to shoot a franchise record TWENTY-ONE three-pointers versus Miami on Sunday afternoon.  Eerie. 

17:  NHL:  The NHL lost two legends this past week with the passing of Ted Lindsay and Harry Howell.  Two old-time players that never took a night off.  Rest in Peace.         

18:  Goaltending:

  • Conner Hellebuyck:  28-19-2 … 2.97 GAA … .910 SV%             
  • Laurent Brossoit:  12-5-2 … 2.45 GAA … .925 SV%

In a stroke of bad luck and a definite flaw in the NHL’s goaltender stats, Laurent Brossoit was saddled with the loss in the Tampa game.  He had to come into the game when Connor Hellebuyck was cut by a shot during a Lightning powerplay.  He gave up a powerplay goal and returned to the bench after Helle was stitched up.  It was deemed he had given up the game-winning goal when the Jets scored a late, meaningless goal when the game wasn’t in doubt.  FAIL NHL FAIL!     

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

  • PP:  5th at 25.10% up from 6th at 24.90% last week.    
  • PK: 24th at 78.80% down from 22th at 78.80 last week.   

20:  Jets:  I thought in the Winnipeg Jets 8-1 win over Carolina on Friday night was their most dominant performance in the neutral zone all season.  Their gap control was excellent. 

   

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Thanks, Mitch 

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