Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Apr. 9

Odds and Ends on the Winnipeg Jets and the NHL –

Some random facts and a few thoughts about the Winnipeg Jets, the Manitoba Moose, and the National Hockey League.  

SAD SAD NEWS

On Friday night, the hockey world was rocked with the tragic news of the deaths of fifteen members of the Humboldt Broncos hockey club.  A horrific bus/semi-trailer accident just north of Tisdale, SK has claimed the lives of  Head Coach and GM Darcy Haugan (42), Assistant-Coach Mark Cross (27), Statistician Brody Hintz (18), Play by Play Announcer Tyler Bieber,  Broncos Captain Logan Schatz (20), Broncos players Jaxon Joseph (20), Adam Herold (16), Stephen Wack (21), Logan Hunter (18), Parker Tobin (18), Logan Boulet (21), Conner Lukan (21), Evan Thomas (18), Jacob Leicht (19), and team bus driver Glen Doerksen.  The names of the dead and injured have not been released by police, but the above names have been confirmed by family members and others. 

At a time when we should be celebrating our Winnipeg Jets making the playoffs and the many accomplishments of their players, I find it hard to find anything joyous to talk about today.  Horrible news like this puts things in perspective.  The hockey community is a tight-knit community and when it hurts, we all hurt.  

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families, friends, and players of the Humboldt Broncos as well as the town of Humboldt, the province of Saskatchewan and the SJHL. 

      

1.  The Winnipeg Jets played their final four regular-season games this past week going 4-0-0 and finished the season with a franchise record and Winnipeg Jets record of 52-20-10 for 114 points.  Their 114 points were the second-highest total in the entire NHL this season and would have been enough to get first place in the Central Division in any other year since realignment.  This is eerily similar to the old Smythe Division days.   

2.  The Manitoba Moose had a win and a loss last week and go into their final week of the schedule with a record of 40-25-4-4.  They are currently tied for second in the AHL’s Central Division with the Grand Rapids Griffins.  The Moose have their work cut out for them if they want to hold on to second place with their final three games on the road.

UPDATE:

The American Hockey League announced today that Manitoba Moose head coach Pascal Vincent is the winner of the Louis A.R. Pieri Award as the AHL’s outstanding coach for the 2017-18 season.  Congrats Pascal on a terrific season.

Read more  >>>> here

3 It’s official.  The Winnipeg Jets will host their closest geographical rival in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Wednesday, April 11 – 6:00 p.m. CT – Minnesota at Winnipeg
Friday, April 13 – 6:30 p.m. CT – Minnesota at Winnipeg
Sunday, April 15 – 6:00 p.m. CT – Winnipeg at Minnesota
Tuesday, April 17 – 7:00 p.m. CT – Winnipeg at Minnesota
*Friday, April 20 – TBD – Minnesota at Winnipeg
*Sunday, April 22 – TBD – Winnipeg at Minnesota
*Wednesday, April 25 – TBD – Minnesota at Winnipeg

4.  Forward Mason Appleton and defenceman Sami Niku have been named to the 2017-18 AHL First All-Star Team, and goaltender Michael Hutchinson has been named to the 2017-18 AHL Second All-Star Team.   Appleton and Niku were also named to the 2017-18 AHL All-Rookie Team.

5.  Connor Hellebuyck really established himself as an elite goaltender this season.  He set a record for most wins (44), most home wins (30), and most wins in a season by an American (Tom Barrasso) born goalie (44).  WOW!  What a terrific season.    

6.  I think it’s probably a foregone conclusion that NYI forward Mathew Barzal will win the Calder Memorial Trophy but I believe Winnipeg Jets rookie Kyle Connor has definitely earned a spot on the final ballot.  His 31 goals and 57 points have actually started turning some heads around the NHL.              

7.  Is it just me or does the “Rocket Richard Trophy” kind of lose its lustre if the winner doesn’t score 50 goals?     

8.  All I have to say about Blake Wheeler is this:

Games: 81   G: 23  A: 68  Pts: 91

Most players that are Blake Wheeler’s age (31) are starting to see a decline in their play but the Winnipeg Jets captain is just getting better with age.     

9.  Winnipeg Jets rookie defenceman Sami Niku, scored his first NHL goal in his first NHL game and on his first shot on goal!  I thought he looked fairly comfortable and didn’t look out-of-place.  He definitely has a future with the big club but I’m not sure it’s next season.  Another late-round steal. 

10.  I thought the Chicago Blackhawks and Winnipeg Jets did a nice job in a tough situation, in honouring the Humboldt Broncos in a brief pre-game ceremony.  This couldn’t have been easy.

   

11.  With all due respect to Matt Hendricks, I wonder if anybody remembers he was the fourth line center not that long ago?  You know what they say?  Out of sight, out of mind.      

12.  Pet Peeve:  Decades of one-sided/hometown officiating in Montreal.  What type of hold does this franchise have on NHL officiating?  It’s a joke and embarrassing and people wonder why so many hockey fans hate the HABS.         

13.  POLL QUESTION:

 

What are your minimum expectations for this to be a successful season for the Winnipeg Jets?

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14.  I find it very unsettling that Nikolaj “don’t call me Nik” Ehlers finished the season stuck on 29 goals.  If Nik had ANY meaningful powerplay time, he would easily be a 35-40-goal scorer.  It’s hard to criticize the leagues fifth best powerplay but I guess I just did.  I can’t help but wonder if the Winnipeg Jets would have the league’s #1 PP if they loaded up their first unit like the Pittsburgh Penguins?  Yes, I’m calling “usage”.          

15.  Question for Kevin Cheveldayoff:  Is Sami Niku auditioning for Toby Enstrom’s job next season?  Will his play have any bearing on whether or not Toby gets offered a contract for next season?       

16.  If I was going to do a “Random Thought” about another sport, I would wonder why fans at the Masters are called “patrons” but at every other tournament they are just “the gallery”?               

17.  In case you were wondering, the newest Manitoba Moose player C.J. Suess is Winnipeg Jets 2014 fifth-round draft choice C.J. Franklin. 

From CJ Suess: 

This is something I’ve been considering doing for a while and now seemed to be the right time.  My mom has always been there for me and has served as my primary caregiver from the time I was born. Changing my last name to hers is my way of paying tribute to a person who has played a significant role in who I am as a person today.

18.  I arrived in Arizona this past Saturday to spend a few weeks enjoying some warm weather and I realized that I don’t have to wait as long as you guys for Jets game times.  I get a two-hour reprieve from the anxiety and anticipation of game-night.  I love the two-hour time difference.  I just might be an evil genius!       

19. Goaltending:

  • Conner Hellebuyck:  44-11-9 … 2.36 GAA … .924 SV%             
  • Steve Mason:  5-6-1 … 3.18 GAA … .906 SV% 
  • Michael Hutchinson:  3-2-1 … 3.24 GAA … .906 SV%
  • Eric Comrie:  1-2-0 … 4.00 GAA … .872 SV%

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

  • PP:  5th at 23.40% … down from 4th but % the same as last week.    
  • PK:  9th at 81.80% … down from 8th at 82.00 last week.  

If you are interested in writing for Winnipeg Hockey Talk or if you know somebody interested, please contact us at:

[email protected]  

We are looking for writers to cover the Winnipeg Jets, Manitoba Moose, Manitoba Bisons, Winnipeg AAA, MJHL, MMJHL, KIJHL and Winnipeg High School.

If you have any thoughts on any of these comments or questions, please let me know.  We would love to hear your opinions.

Thanks, Mitch 

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