Random Thoughts From Motown Mitch: Sept. 30

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, 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: FINALLY … Patrik Laine signed a two-year bridge deal with an AAV of $6,750,000 that makes sense for him and the team.  The first year is at $6,000,000 and the important second-year at $7,500,000 will be a fair number for Laine’s qualifying offer to start negotiations on his next deal.  He is betting on himself and in two years there should be no doubt what the Jets have in the Finnish sniper.  For me, this was a no-brainer.  

2. Jets: Kyle Connor signed new 7-year deal on Saturday and now everybody is in place except for BIG BUFF.  His deal carries an AAV of $7.143 million per season.  This deal is definitely the Jets paying for Connor’s potential.  Personally, I think this deal is a little high BUT I do hope he proves me wrong. 

3. Jets: Takes after seven games. (3-3-1)

  • Helle looks more like Pavs than he looks like Helle if you know what I mean?
  • Kristian Vesalainen needs more time with the Moose although I thought after a slow start he was better in the last couple of games.  (he has been reassigned to the Moose since I wrote this)
  • Of all the Jets non-roster players I believe that Tucker Poolman is by far the most improved.
  • The Jets have a tough decision to make on rookie Ville Heinola.

4. Blue Bombers: Winnipeg 13 vs Hamilton 33 – The Blue Bombers were the second-best team on the field in every facet of the game.  I was hoping for a bounce-back effort after last weeks fiasco but the fact of the matter is Hamilton has a better team and they are a better coached team.

Going into Friday nights play the Bombers were in first place and at the conclusion of play on Saturday night they were in third place.  Ouch.

The Good:

  • The front-four tried their damndest but they can only mask a poor defence for so long.

The Bad:

  • After some early-season success, Lucky Whitehead has been invisible for most of the season on offence.

The Ugly:

  • The Blue Bomber secondary.  This might be the worst group I’ve ever seen in my years of watching this team.  Hamilton’s #2 QB had over 300 yards passing in the first half.  NUFF SAID. 

5. Jets: Anthony Bitetto is at the bottom of the defencemen depth chart as far as I’m concerned and being “good in the dressing room” isn’t enough to keep him around.  Signing him to a one-way deal is bordering on managerial malpractice. 

6.Blue Bombers: Football players are human and prone to make mistakes but the Blue Bomber secondary has more breakdowns and blown coverages than should be acceptable.  At what point does the responsibility fall on Richie Hall AND Mike O’Shea?  Ultimately they are the ones who pick the players and they are responsible for the schemes.

7. Jets: It never ceases to amaze me how Winnipeg Jets fans fall in love with certain prospects every pre-season.  I guess I’ve been doing this crap too long because I rarely raise an eyebrow at pre-season performances.  Going back to Jets 1.0 the only rookies that got my attention were Dale Hawerchuk, Teemu Selanne, and with Jets 2.0 it was Patrik Laine and now Ville Heinola. 

8. Pet Peeve: Just because Chevy signs a bunch of bargain-basement free-agents doesn’t mean that PoMo has to play them does it? 

9. Blue Bombers: It looks like the good guys are going to be hard-pressed to even get a home game in the playoffs.  I can’t say I saw that coming but nothing this team does surprises me.  Like I said last week, I’ve become numb to their failures.  (see #4)

10. Jets: The Dustin Byfuglien watch.  Laine and Connor have signed and now the last piece and maybe the most important piece is Buff.  What will he do?

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11. Blue Jays: It was a fairly successful developmental season for the Jays and now it is time to focus on winning more games next season.  Charlie Montoyo made a lot of questionable moves this past year but I don’t know if they were based on winning at all costs.  It is now his turn to develop IMO.  

12. Jets: David Gustafsson has drawn a lot of praise during this training camp and pre-season and rightly so. He is very poised and responsible for a 19-year-old BUT I don’t think he tops out any higher than a third-line center.

13. Blue Bombers: I wonder if Paul LaPolice has considered having both Andrew Harris and Johnny Augustine in the backfield at the same time? 

14. NFL:  It’s amazing how many NFL games on Sundays are duds.  It is a good thing there are so many to choose from because you’re bound to find a couple of good ones.  

15. Jets:  Quirky fact:  The Jets lost all five games they played against the Minnesota Wild last season AND if they would have won just ONCE they would have won the Central Division and not played the St. Louis Blues in the opening round.   

16. Important Dates:

Oct. 3: Winnipeg Jets regular-season opener at the New York Rangers. (TSN 3)

Oct. 5: Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Saskatchewan. (TSN 3)

Oct. 10: Winnipeg Jets regular-season home opener vs the Minnesota Wild. (TSN 3)

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

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