Random Thoughts From Motown Mitch: Sept. 10

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:  Alert the press!  The Winnipeg Jets have agreed to terms with Eric Comrie.  Comrie signed a one-year, two-way contract worth $650,000 in the NHL.  Not the news I’ve been waiting for.  With Jets training camp only days away (Friday), there still hasn’t been any news about a Josh Morrissey signing. 

2.  CFL:  Winnipeg Blue Bombers 27 – Saskatchewan Roughriders 32 … In a game where the Riders offence wasn’t much of a factor, the Blue Bombers and to be more specific, Matt Nichols, gift-wrapped 14 points for the visitors.  Two pick sixes with the Bombers deep in Saskatchewan territory cost Winnipeg this game.  The first one was a good play by Rider’s Willie Jefferson and those things happen BUT the second pick six was an absolutely BRUTAL play by Matt Nichols.  All he had to do was eat the ball instead of flinging it aimlessly into the waiting hands of linebacker Samuel Eguavoen who ran 103 yards to pay dirt.   Another ten or fourteen point swing and GAME OVER!

3.  Jets:  It was nice to watch some Winnipeg Jets hockey this past weekend from the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton, BC but the players that stood out the most (from both teams) were players that already have pro experience and I don’t think any off them are even on the radar for the big club. 

4.  Jets:  I don’t usually put too much stock into these rookie or prospect games but occasionally they do show us something.  In this case, it showed that Mikhail Berdin wasn’t in the USHL anymore.  He really struggled this weekend with the traffic in front of his net.  He had a hard time seeing the play and tracking the puck.  It will be interesting to see how he progresses.      

5.  Jets:  I was looking forward to watching Luke Green, a 3rd round pick in 2016, and he didn’t disappoint.  He is a smooth skater with very good puck skills and good offensive instincts.  On the negative side, he looked a little lost in his own end but he wasn’t alone there this weekend.  

6.  Jets:  I was impressed by the improved offensive play of 2016 first rounder, Logan Stanley but I’m not sure if his skating has improved or not.  He looks like he will be a tough player to play against IF he can develop decent NHL speed and agility.  He still has some work to do.  

7.  Blue Jays:  Billy McKinney has played 18 games for the Toronto Blue Jays and he has gotten on base in all 18 games.  I think the Jays have finally found their lead-off hitter.

8.  Jets:  Kristian Vesalainen looked okay this weekend in Penticton but you could see he needs to adjust to the smaller ice.  He had less time and space and it will only get worse as the competition gets stronger.      

9.  NHL:  The rumors that Max Pacioretty asked for a trade out of Montreal last season were confirmed today by Habs ownership and the Habs captain has been traded to the Vegas Golden Knights for forwards Tomas Tatar and Nick Suzuki and a second-round pick in 2019.  To be honest, I’m not crazy about the return.  I always think the team that got the best player wins a trade and Vegas got the best player.

10.  Jets:  I found it amusing listening to the debate and conversation about Blake Wheeler’s contract extension.  Was five years too long?  Maybe.  Was $8,250, 000 per season too much?  Based on his current play, NO.  Will it be too much in 3-4 years?  I don’t know.  I don’t have a crystal ball and neither does anybody else but based on history Wheeler will have a drop-off in production but that’s the price you pay in the NHL.  Could you imagine the haters screaming from the roof tops if Chevy let Wheeler walk after next season?  Sometimes you can’t win because no matter what you do the armchair GMs are always right but the fact of the matter is most of them are CLUELESS!    

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11.  Blue Bombers:  The Blue Bombers kick return game stunk in the Banjo Bowl.  They really missed Kevin Fogg.  He isn’t a very good DB but he is a very good punt returner. 

12  Blue Bombers:  The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time.  This team needs to hit the reset button and be ready for Montreal in two weeks.  It’s going to be a dog fight down the stretch with four teams fighting for that third spot or crossover spot in the east.   

13.  Jets:  To put the Blake Wheeler contract extension in perspective, the Toronto Maple Leafs signed a 37-year-old Patrick Marleau to a 3-year $6,250.000 contract.  (see #10) 

14.  Blue Bombers:  I think Mike O’Shea might have saved his job by sitting Matt Nichols in the second half and going with Chris Streveler.

15:  Blue Bombers:  Why did Paul LaPolice and the Winnipeg offence completely ignore Andrew Harris the whole game?

16.  US Open Tennis:  I love Serena Williams but I think she was barking up the wrong tree with her meltdown in the women’s final.  She was losing and looked like she was out of this match and made the chair umpire her scapegoat.  I will say the chair umpire could have handled the situation a little better.   

17.  Blue Jays:  Kendrys Morales has brought his batting average up to .257 as of the end of play on Sunday and that is a remarkable number considering where he was earlier in the season.  He now has 21 home runs and 57 RBI in 381 at bats.  Not a bad bounce back.      

18. Blue Jays:  Rookie Rowdy Telez had a very memorable first ten at bats in the majors.  He hit six doubles and tied Joe DiMaggio’s AL rookie record for doubles in their first three games.  

19.  MLB:  The MLBPA is pissed off with the Toronto Blue Jays because they sent their prize prospect, Vladimir Guerrero, to the Arizona Fall league instead of calling him up to the big club.  Why would the Jays burn a year of service for a handful of games in September?  This is just smart business and good roster management by Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins.  The MLBPA really irritated me here with their stance.  Maybe the MLBPA should keep their nose in their own business.   

20:  Key dates:

  • Sept. 14:  Winnipeg Jets training camp starts.
  • Sept. 17:  Minnesota Wild at Winnipeg Jets (pre-season)  
  • Sept. 21:  Saturday at 7:30 pm in Winnipeg – Winnipeg Blue Bombers (5-7) vs Montreal Alouettes (3-8).

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Thanks, Mitch 

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