Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Aug. 17

Mitch Kasprick is the “Motown Curmudgeon” aka “Motown Mitch”

Odds and Ends, Thoughts and Questions, from this past week in hockey –

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, and all Team Canada Hockey teams.

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:  With all the hoopla around the draft lottery last Monday I forgot to mention the Winnipeg Jets will have the 10th overall pick.  That’s not too bad and they should get a pretty good player at number ten.  

2. Jets:  I have Jansen Harkins ahead of Mason Appleton on the Jets depth chart for the upcoming season.  Does Paul Maurice?    

3. Jets:  A lot of people are down on Kristian Vesalainen and I even heard the word “bust” last week.  I know it seems like he has been around forever, but in 2018-19 he only played 22 games in North America before being lent to Jokerit in the KHL.  This past season was his first full season with the Manitoba Moose where he put up 30 points in 60 games before the pandemic shut down the AHL season.  I think it is a little too early to write him off.  

4. Jets:  It’s like a broken record, but here we are again in “the summer of Chevy”.  I think I’m in the minority, but I’m not overly impressed with Kevin Cheveldayoff’s overall body of work.  Chevy’s scorecard has plenty of birdies on it, but he also has a more than his share of bogies.  Chevy has been the Winnipeg Jets GM since day one and all we have to show for it is three playoff appearances.  I don’t think Kevin Cheveldayoff’s job is in jeopardy yet, but I do think his window as the Jets GM is shrinking.  He needs to step it up this off-season.  Once again, it is a huge summer the Winnipeg Jets.  Where have we heard that before?

5. NHL:  Just an FYI, teams out of the playoffs are allowed to trade with each other right now.  

6. Jets:  I hope the Jets are proceeding with the notion that Bryan Little won’t be back next season and start looking hard for a legitimate second-line center.  That means no Cody Eakin, no Andrew Copp, and no Jack Roslovic.

7. Jets:  To be honest, I haven’t seen Logan Stanley play since last season, but he can’t be worse than Anthony Bitetto, or Luca Sbisa, or Carl Dahlstrom, or Nathan Beaulieu, can he?  Maybe it’s time to play him at the NHL level and see what you got.  Time to fish or cut bait. 

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8. Jets:  Here are the results from last week’s poll question: 

Has the ownership, management, and the coaches done enough to make the Jets winners?

1. No, you could see this team sliding 18-24 months ago. (80 Votes)

2. The owner needs to step back from hockey decisions and hire a President of hockey ops. (80 Votes)

3. It is time for a new GM and coach. (72 Votes)

4. Yes, let’s just call it a weird season. (45 Votes)

5. It is time for a new GM. (30 Votes)

6. Yes, let’s just call it a weird season. (14%, 45 Votes)

7. It is time for a new GM. (9%, 30 Votes)

8. It is time for a new coach. (6%, 21 Votes)

9. JetsBased on the responses to our poll question last week it looks like Winnipeg Jets fans think that owner Mark Chipman might have too much input in the hockey operations.  This isn’t the first time we’ve heard this.  I know that Mark Chipman, Kevin Cheveldayoff, and Paul Maurice are in constant communication and maybe that is the underlying problem?  It might be time for a new, objective voice in the room.

10. Jets:  I know I speak for a lot of Jets fans when I say I hope Chevy STOPS his UFA shopping at Value Village.  We don’t need anymore Bitettos, Letestus, or Bourques.  I’m sure they are all nice guys and good in the room, but we need good players on the ice and the problem is that Paul Maurice must feel an obligation to play these guys.  Please stop.    

11. NHL:  I’ve been known to rag on Gary “Count Chocula” Bettman from time to time (really???) but I have to give credit where credit is due.   Gary and his henchmen have done an incredible job on the restart of NHL hockey.  It looks like they have created a safe, positive environment inside “the bubble” for their players.  Well done.   

12. NHL:  It looks like summer hockey is quite a hit.  There were lots of people that were skeptical about how much interest there would be in the NHL playoffs, but people are tuning in with big numbers.  I guess it might be safe to say you can never underestimate the appetite for hockey at any time of year and especially in Canada.  

13. Jets:  I was perusing through the list of upcoming UFA centers and it is really slim pickings so it looks like if Chevy wants to acquire a 2C it will have to come via trade.  The best I could see was Erik Haula and Craig Smith.  Decent players, but not second-line centers IMO.  It might be time to package Jack Roslovic and their first-round pick and go after a big fish.  Now, in saying that I’m not sure who that big fish is and I’m not sure what Jacko and a first-rounder could net but I would start there.   

14. NHL:  FYI, just to clear up a popular misconception, NHL players aren’t playing for free in the playoffs.  Their regular-season salaries are paid bi-monthly from October to April and technically they don’t get paid extra for the playoffs BUT they are not playing for free, the NHL sets aside a playoff pool and it is distributed to the players based on far they advance.

15. NHL:  I really haven’t harped on the officiating much in the playoffs because we are all used to the playoff double-standard where a penalty is a penalty until it is overtime … unless it is “puck over glass”.  After all these years I still don’t get that logic where officials say they don’t want to decide the outcome of a game with a penalty call BUT aren’t they deciding the outcome by not making that call?

16. Jets:  During Kevin Cheveldayoff’s year-end presser he was asked what grade he would give the Jets coaching staff and he gave them a grade of “A”.  This didn’t sit well with the Paul Maurice’s haters.  I’m on the fence when it comes to the head coach, but you can’t blame the coach for the lack of talent the GM supplies although you can blame the coach for playing some of these players over others more deserving.  The debate continues.


In memory of my friend Darryl Manchulenko.

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Thanks, Mitch



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