Random Thoughts From Motown Mitch: Nov. 18

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 Ice, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 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.

WE’RE GOING TO THE GREY CUP

1. Jets:  The Winnipeg Jets managed to earn four of six points this past week and improved their record to 12-8-1 and third place in the Central Division.  After a 4-0 loss to Colorado, I was concerned about the tough four-game road trip BUT just when I underestimate this team they go and win both games in Florida versus the Panthers and the Lightning.

2. Moose:  The Manitoba Moose had a great week winning all FOUR home games.  After an awful start to the season, they have run their winning streak to SIX games and improved their record to 9-8-0-0 on the season.  The Moose now head out on a tough seven-game road trip.

3. Blue Bombers:  Winnipeg 20 – Saskatchewan 13 … After trailing 1-0 early on the Bombers took a 3-1 lead in the first quarter and never trailed again.  Zach Collaros and the offence managed to make enough big plays to win the field position battle.

The Good:

  • Zach Collaros was very good and kept the Saskatchewan defence off balance most of the night.
  • Justin Medlock was perfect going 4 for 4. 
  • The secondary got a little leaky in the second half but the defence was outstanding overall.
  • Excluding the final drive, the Riders were inside the Bombers 5-yard line three times and had to settle for a  field goal each time.

The Bad:

  • I think both offensive-coordinators have had better days.  I didn’t like LaPo’s play-calling for much of the game and I bet Saskatchewan OC, Stephen McAdoo is being eviscerated on Saskatchewan talk radio. 
  • When Marcus Sayles dropped that interception at the five-yard line I had a lump in my throat the size of a golf ball.  I thought, here we go again. 

The Ugly:

  • Not one but TWO blown video reviews by the CFL command center, especially the one where Cody Fajardo was CLEARLY across the line of scrimmage when he threw the ball.

4. Moose:  Mikhail Berdin is ALL-WORLD  right now.  He stops pucks, he got an assist, and he fights. 

UPDATE: 

The American Hockey League announced that Manitoba Moose goaltender Mikhail Berdin is the CCM/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Nov. 17, 2019.

Berdin, 21, led the Moose to four wins this past week with a 4-0-0 record, supported by a 1.24 goals-against average and a .967 save percentage. He recorded a league-high 148 saves on 153 shots during the week.

Berdin started out by making 32 saves on 33 shots as the Moose earned a 4-1 win over the Texas Stars on Monday. He followed that performance by turning aside 36 of 37 Texas offerings, including 12 in a scoreless third period, as the Moose held on for a 2-1 win in Wednesday’s rematch. The Ufa, Russia native then turned his attention to stymying the San Antonio Rampage. On Friday, Berdin made a career-high 45 saves, including 20 in the first period, to backstop Manitoba to a 2-1 overtime victory. The Moose goaltender wrapped up the week with a 35-save win on Sunday as the club picked up a 5-2 victory against San Antonio. Berdin recorded his first AHL assist in the win.

Berdin, a sixth round pick of the Winnipeg Jets in 2016, hasn’t allowed more than two goals in his past six games. He has stopped 215 of 220 shots during a six-game winning streak. Berdin started 15 of Manitoba’s first 17 games this season while posting a 9-6-0 record with a 2.46 goals-against average, a .927 save percentage and two shutouts. Berdin leads the AHL in wins and sits second in minutes played (877), shots faced (490) and saves (454).

5. NHL:  The NHL officials seem to have forgotten what interference is lately and it is starting to creep back into the game.   

6. Jets:  I know I am tough on Kyle Connor and now that he is a seven million dollar man I’m sure I’ll be even tougher.  I love his offensive game but unless he is going to put up 80 points or more he better figure out how to be at least AVERAGE in the defensive zone.  He is worse than Patrik Laine was last season.   

7. NHL:  I have waited for the dust to settle before I commented on the Don Cherry situation.  I have probably called him an idiot 50 times over the years but he probably put a tear in my eye 50 times as well with his love of first responders and our military so I will not rip on him. 

Don Cherry is undoubtedly the most politically incorrect person on earth that was allowed a platform this big.  I’ve been saying for years that he was on borrowed time and I’m surprised he lasted this long. 

Shame on Rogers/CBC for firing him on Remembrance Day though.  What kind of IDIOT does that?  Huge FAIL and lack of common sense.  November 11 should have been about our veterans and NOT Don Cherry.

Something that has bothered me about the way this was handled is WHY did they air Coaches Corner in the intermission of the late game?      

8. Random:  It was another great weekend for the curmudgeon  The Jets won two games in Florida, the Bombers beat the Riders and are going to the Grey Cup, the Vikings won after being down 20-0 at half-time, the Irish beat Army, and the Moose swept San Antonio.

9. Blue Bombers:  I was surprised how ineffective Chris Streveler was versus the Riders.  They did a good job preparing for him although he was unstoppable on third downs.   

10. Jets:  The Dustin Byfuglien watch.  Buff was spotted in Virden, MB on a hunting trip wearing a walking boot.  I love Buff paparazzi.  I think from now on we should call it “BUFFARAZZI”.

Photo courtesy of Brinna Yough

DOES BUFF PLAY THIS SEASON?

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11. NFL:  The NFL has a definite officiating problem and especially their video review.  I thought the CFL was bad but officiating seems to be a problem in all sports.  I wonder why? 

12. Jets:  I have to admit Luca Sbisa is playing better than I thought he would.  Right now he is better than Kulikov or Bitetto, not like that is a ringing endorsement but you know what I mean.

13. Pet Peeve:  The NHL needs to keep players out of the goalie’s crease.  There is no way a player should be in the crease before the puck arrives.      

14. Jets:  The Jets fourth-line is not good. 

15. Raptors:  I was very impressed with the Raptors west coast trip last week and especially the win in Portland.  This team is scrappy and has learned how to play defence.  Even without Ibaka, OG, and Lowry, they managed a 3-2 west coast road trip that is tough even when you are at full strength. 

16. This week:

  • Manitoba Moose – Nov. 20, 23, 24
  • Winnipeg Jets – Nov. 19, 21, 23
  • Winnipeg Ice – Nov. 19, 22, 23
  • Winnipeg Blue Bombers – Nov. 24:  GREY CUP BABY

17. Goaltending:

  • Conner Hellebuyck:  9-6-1 … 2.44 GAA … .927 SV%             
  • Laurent Brossoit:  3-2-0 … 3.92 GAA … .871 SV%

18. Special Teams:  Rule of thumb.  Have the two red numbers (PK and PP) total at least 100% when added.  (as your minimum)   I also base the movement (up or down) on the % and not the NHL ranking.

  • PP:  20th at 17.20% up from 21st at 17.20%     
  • PK: 28th at 73.30% up from 28th at 73.00% 
  • FO: 8th at 51.40% no change from 8h at 51.40%

   

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.

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Thanks, Mitch

Comments

  1. Kent Robinson says

    Well done Mitch. First time follower and reader. Fantastic overview

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      Hey Kent … how are you doing? Are you still working at MTS? You must be a VP by now LOL

  2. Don Cleveland says

    Berdin is the first goalie in the last few years with the Moose that I’ve liked.
    Ehlers, don’t call me Nik, has gone to another level, especially with his shot, which was his Achilles heel last year.
    The jets defensive play is much better, other than your 7 mil man and Morrissey. Maybe I’m looking too hard at Josh, but he seems to be caught in the same position when goals are scored. With a a guy at his backside, looking at the net.
    Laine’s defensive play and responsibilities in our zone are 10 fold over last year. He just needs to now work on start speed.
    Bucky has seemed to get his jojo back and goalie Bro is playing a relatively solid backup role, though his numbers dont show it.
    Kuli is a 3rd paring at best. I was hoping he would be better, and still hope he will be by playoff time.
    Roslovic is showing he’s a top6 forward and deserves to be there.
    I look at it that we have a real scoring problem. Our pp is in transition, which is good and needs more than one or two set ups. Wait until it gets better and it opens up Laine. The last few games, the team has looked a lot more like the high flying Jets that we expect. It’s the only way we will score 5 on 5.
    We will.make the playoffs even after a disappointing start.
    One more thing. Sportsnet can go suck an egg, not just because of my thoughts on the whole Don Cherry thing, but I watched it today and it was over an hour of the Buds with a sprinkling of the bombers, an out 20 seconds with a horrible segue back to the Leafs. Babcock is not as good a coach as everyone thinks

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      I agree with most but ……… Roslovic has top 6 offensive upside but he is poor in his own end aslo … once the young guys learn to play without the puck the better they will be … it is a work in progress.

      Berdin is a beauty.

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