Random Thoughts From Motown Mitch: Oct. 15

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 2-1 last week and now have an overall record of 3-2-0.  The highlight of the week or the lowlight of the week was a 3-0 loss to the Nashville Predators.  In spite of their parade to the penalty box, it was only 1-0 for the Preds after two periods and the Jets were still in this game thanks to Connor Hellebuyck and their PK unit.       

2.  CFL:  Winnipeg Blue Bombers 31 – Saskatchewan Roughriders 0.  The Blue Bombers (9-7) have won four in a row and are right in the middle of the battle for two playoff positions.  This was a complete football game from start to finish.  This is the most dominant game I can remember from the “Big Blue” in years.     

3.  Moose:  The Manitoba Moose split a pair of games this week with the Belleville Senators and now have a record of 1-3-0-0.     

4.  Jets: The Winnipeg Jets have placed Marko Dano on waivers and if he’s not claimed by 11 am he will report to the Manitoba Moose.  I’m sure Kevin Cheveldayoff tried to trade him but it looks like 30 NHL teams weren’t even willing to give up a 7th round pick for him.  It will be interesting to see if an NHL team takes him for nadda.


Marko Dano has been claimed by the Colorado Avalanche. 

5.  Blue BombersBig news today from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.  After trying his luck in the NFL with Cleveland, New York, and Green Bay, former Manitoba Bison, and Winnipegger, Geoff Gray has signed today with his hometown team.  Gray (6’6 and 310 lbs) is an offensive lineman and was the Blue Bombers’ eighth choice overall in the 2017 draft.  He was named the 2017 Canada West Outstanding Down Lineman of the Year.  The Bombers have added some more depth to an already good o-line and they have added another homegrown player.  The “Big-Blue” might lead the CFL in local talent. 

From Geoff Gray

 “It’s rare to be able to play professional football where you grew up, and in the same stadium with many fond memories from university football.”   

6.  JetsAfter their 3-1 victory over Carolina last night, the Winnipeg Jets are 3-2 and that’s not bad but right now they don’t look anything like a Stanley Cup contender.  They are extremely careless with the puck and the turnovers are coming from everybody.  I would expect some growing pains from the youngsters but last night it was the veterans that coughed it up the worst.  When a team isn’t scoring a lot, the turnovers get magnified and there were a few big ones last night.  Thank goodness for Laurent Brossoit.       

7.  MLB:  I have to admit I felt kind of dirty pulling for the Yankees in the bottom of the ninth in game 4 versus the Red Sox last week.  I guess that old saying has some truth to it … the enemy of my enemy is my friend.  

8.  Blue BombersIt took Taylor Loffler all year to show up but man did he show up in a big way Saturday afternoon!  That was the best game I’ve seen him play in two years and the timing couldn’t have been better.  He made a couple of great reads and picked off a couple Zach Collaros passes.           

9.  Jets:  Kristian Vesalainen will hit the nine-game mark during this home-stand and the Jets brass will need to make a decision on him and in my humble opinion I would convince him to go to the AHL with the Manitoba Moose and not use his opt-out to go play in the KHL.  I would prefer him playing on the smaller North American ice.  I don’t see a lot of upside playing in the KHL but it’s still not the worst option either IF he gets a lot of icetime.      

10.  Jets:  Laurent Brossoit was excellent in the Winnipeg Jets 3-1 victory over Carolina on Sunday but I’m not ready to anoint him back-up of the year quite yet.  I think he looked pretty solid in the pre-season and he does have some NHL experience but I would like to see a larger sample size.  So far, so good though.    

Embed from Getty Images

11.  NHL:  It looks like NHL expansion to Seattle is all but a done deal.  I don’t see the NHL Board of Governors turning their noses up at a $650, 000,000 expansion fee.  Do you?     

12.  Blue Bombers:  Adam Bighill was a beast on defence again for the Bombers this weekend and the pressure defense employed by Richie Hall has worked pretty well but I can’t help but wonder how it will work against a veteran like Bo-Levi Mitchell. 

13.  NFL:  With all the controversy in the NFL about what is and what isn’t roughing the passer maybe they should just put flags around the quarterback’s waist.  I don’t think you can expect defensive players to make split-second decisions in the heat of the battle when doing what they have been trained to do all of their lives.  I wonder what Jack Lambert would say today?  He said this back in 1979.

14.  Blue Bombers:  I have to give Mike O’Shea big props for a change.  With the game well in hand on Saturday afternoon, he sat Matt Nichols, Darvin Adams, Weston Dressler, and Andrew Harris for the entire fourth quarter.  That was the right move.  Why risk an injury right?      

15: Jets:  Question for Kevin Cheveldayoff:  Just thinking out loud here Chevy but wouldn’t it make more sense to send down a waiver exempt player like Brendan Lemieux to the Manitoba Moose instead of risking losing Marko Dano to a waiver claim? It’s not like you have even dressed Lemieux for any games.    

16.  Jets:  I like the Jets top three defencemen but the rest of the crew can scare the bejesus out of me at times.  Tyler Myers, Ben Chiarot, Dmitry Kulikov, and Joe Morrow are okay in small doses but too much of any of them is not a good thing.  They all have their moments but in a game where one of the top three defencemen are out (like last night with Buff), it really exposes their weaknesses.  The Jets need a solid #4 and I don’t think he is in that group.  And before you say Tucker Poolman just stop right there.  He’s not ready yet either.  Please let it be Sami Niku sooner than later.    

17.  NHL:  The Ottawa Senators owe the Colorado Avalanche a first-round draft pick from the Matt Duchene trade and had the option of giving them the 2018 or 2019 pick.  Based on what I’ve seen early on this season, I have no doubt the Ottawa Senators did the right thing in selecting Brady Tkachuk with the 2018 pick instead of deferring that pick to Colorado.  The Avalanche will now use that pick in the 2019 draft.  There is no guarantee the Sens are going to finish last and/or win the draft lottery to select the consensus #1 pick, Jack Hughes.  Drafting a sure thing in Brady Tkachuk wasn’t a bad decision at all.  There is no mystery.  They know who they got.    

18. Jets:  To the Brandon Tanev haters; he is the least of the Jets problems right now and I still don’t get the hate for him.  He is what he is and that is okay in my opinion.        

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

  • PP:  14th at 25.00% up from 16th at 20.00% last week.    
  • PK:  7th at 86.40% up from 28th at 66.70% last week.   

20:  Key dates:  

  • Oct. 26:  Winnipeg Blue Bombers (9-7) vs Calgary Stampeders (12-3). 
  • Nov. 1 &2:  NHL Global Series in Finland – Winnipeg Jets versus Florida Panthers.

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Thanks, Mitch 


  1. I read a comment from a Free Press article that Collaros is the highest paid quarterback in the CFL…this can’t be true, can it?

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      I know he was set to make $500,000 in 2018 with a $200,000 signing bonus but that was restructured and I’m not sure what the final number is BUT I bet it is still pretty high.

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