Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Feb. 21

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:  The Winnipeg Jets went 2-2 on their 4-game homestand but probably needed to go 3-1 to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.  Every loss at home just makes the task a lot tougher but this team never does things the easy way. 

The Jets record is currently 22-19-8.  They are still 7 points out of the final wildcard spot and sit sixth in the Central Division.  

There is some good news though, the Jets have closed the gap on Nashville, LA, and Anaheim but they are still 7 points behind Dallas, the team they need to catch.

2. Team Canada Women: Sometimes the best team does win.  The Canadian women have been the best team in the world for quite some time during this Olympic cycle and they proved it with a 3-2 win late Wednesday night claiming the Gold Medal.  Their win was a real solid team effort from what I  think is their deepest team in years.  CONRATS TEAM CANADA WOMEN. 

3. Jets:  I find it interesting how there is no middle ground when it comes to Andrew Copp.  It seems most Jets fans like him but where he plays seems to be the tipping point.  Some see him as a top-6 forward and some see him as a bottom-6 forward that can be a short-term replacement in the top-6.  I don’t think he is top-6 material but that’s me but I like him on the third line with longtime running mate Adam Lowry.  Unfortunately this debate is probably a moot point because Copp has priced himself out of Winnipeg.  

4. NHL:  I’m going to give Vegas the benefit of the doubt that they’re not pulling a Tampa Bay/Nikita Kucherov and Mark Stone (placed on LTIR) is actually injured allowing Jack Eichel to play now that he is ready.  If Stone magically appears for the playoffs the NHL needs to revist the salary cap rules to include the playoffs.

5. Jets I don’t understand why fans and some media members automatically correlate trading expiring assets like Andrew Copp and/or Paul Stastny as giving up on the season.  If trades do happen it would be an oppurtunity for younger players like David Gustafsson and Evgeny Svechnikov.  I’d trade Andrew Copp now while his value is at it’s highest.  Making the playoffs is still a longshot and Andrew Copp is not going to tip the scales either way on whether this team makes the playoffs or not.         

6. NHL:  My weekly bitch-fest about NHL officiating.

Do you think this missed call was important in a one goal game?  Once again there were four sets of eyes that didn’t make this call.  The worst part is a play like this can’t be challenged.  If any play needed a video review, it was this one.

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7. Jets:  Winnipeger Adam Brooks was claimed off the waiver wire on Friday by the home team.  Brooks put up huge numbers in the WHL with the Regina Pats but really hasn’t found a home in the NHL.  He gets a chance to raise his stock by playing with Pierre-Luc Dubois and Kyle Connor in today’s game in Calgary. 

8. IIHF:  On Thursday, IIHF president Luc Tardif announced that the 2022 World Junior Hockey Championship, which was canceled in December in the middle of the round robin due to COVID-19, will be played in mid-August in Alberta.     

9. Jets:  Kristian Reichel seems to be making himself a case for fulltime employment with the big club.  He is playing pretty well and showing a lot more confidence at the NHL level.  Not too bad for an undrafted free agent. 

10. Team Canada Women:  They say bigtime players show up in bigtime games and whoever first coined that phrase must have been talking about Marie-Philip Poulin.  Poulin scored 2 goals and and added an assist in the Gold Medal game including the game winner.  What else is new?  She is Team Canada’s captain and their leader and probably the most humble athlete I’ve ever seen.  With Poulin it is never about her and she always gives credit for her success to her teammates.  Marie-Philip Poulin is a national treasure.

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Fun fact:  Marie-Philip Poulin is the only hockey player (male or female) to score in four Olympic Gold Medal games.

11. Jets:  95 point update:  I figured the Jets needed approx 52 points in their final 40 games to have a shot at a wildcard spot.  As of today they need 44 points in their last 33 games.  The good guys let an opportunity stip away by only winning 2 of their 4 home games last week.  They currently sit at 4-2-1 and have 9 of the minimum 13 points required in their first 10-game segment                 

12. Ice:  The Winnipeg ICE split the first two games of their 7-game road trip last week but the marquee match is today (Monday afternoon) in Edmonton against the second best team in the WHL.  The ICE record sits at 32-7-2-1 on the season.  If the ICE lose today in Edmonton there is a good chance they could lose their #1 CHL ranking.  

Kia CHL Top-10 Rankings – Week 16

as of Feb. 16

1. Winnipeg ICE
2. Charlottetown Islanders
3. Edmonton Oil Kings
4. Everett Silvertips
5. Portland Winterhawks
6. Kamloops Blazers
7. Hamilton Bulldogs
8. Kingston Frontenacs
9. Shawinigan Cataractes
10. Sherbrooke Phoenix

13. Moose:  It was a quiet week for the Manitoba Moose with only one game, a 4-3 OT win vs Milwaukee on Sunday.  They continue their 9-game homestand with four games this week and the good news is they will be playing in front of their fans.  Their record is now 26-14-2-1 with a .640 winning percentage and sit in 4th place in the AHL’s Western Conference.  

Special Teams:

  • PP:  18.50 up from 18.00 last week.
  • PK:  84.10% down from 84.40 last week.

14. JetsThe Winnipeg Jets have now reached the halfway point of the season and the big question is whether they are buyers or sellers? 

According to moneypuck.com the Winnipeg Jets chances of making the playoffs sits at 15% as of Sunday night.  Of course this number is very fluid and it changes with each win or loss by the Jets and the teams they are chasing.  It is fun to watch.

UPDATE:     

After last night’s 3-1 loss to the Flames the Jets playoff odds dropped to 11.5%.

FYI:  Monday, March 21 – Trade Deadline (3 p.m. ET)

Based on the Jets current position in the standings should they be buyers or sellers?

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15. Jets:  My weekly question for Kevin Cheveldayoff and/or Dave Lowry.

This is for the coach.  Don’t you think it’s time to talk to Wade Flaherty about Connor Hellebuyck the shit storm he creates seemingly every time he leaves his crease.  I joke about it on Twitter saying Helle needs a shock collar on but it’s beyond funny now.  His wandering in the Minny game on Wednesday night was HORRIFIC and that is being polite.  Helle needs to be reined in bigtime.      

16. Jets:  The Good, Better, Best this past week.

  • Good:  Eric Comrie’s ability to give his team a quality start after long layoffs.
  • Better:  Mark Scheifele is scoring again.  
  • Best:  Blake Wheelers is dishing the puck like the good old days.   

17. Jets:  The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly this past week.

  • Good:  Pierre-Luc Dubois is a beast and Kyle Connor keeps scoring.  
  • Bad:  Connor Hellebuyck’s puck handling in the Minnesota game. 
  • Ugly:  The Jets reluctance to shoot the puck during a 2-man advantage early in their game vs Edmonton.  

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

  • PP: 13th at 21.20% down  from 21.50 last week. 
  • PK: 27th at 75.20% up from 74.80 last week.
  • FO: 15th at 50.40% up from 50.10 last week.

19. Goaltending:

  • Conner Hellebuyck:  17-17-7 … 2.82 GAA … .913 SV% … Shutouts 3 
  • Eric Comrie:  5-2-1 … 2.41 GAA … .916 SV%

20. Team Canada Women:  Whoever approved the design of the uniforms the Canadian women wore in the Gold Medal game should be locked up and put away.  The black maple leaf was fugly and not having any white on those jesrseys was a huge fail.  Of course this is only my opinion but winning the Gold Medal helped ease my contempt for them.  

Comments

  1. Hellybuck is a great goalie that needs to have a different voice giving him direction. No disrespect to Wade but I think having a goalie coach that has experience in puck handling would benefit Conner! Maybe a coach like Marty Turco could inject new life into Hellybuck and create a backend threat stopping and moving the puck.

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      exactly …. Turco, Brodeur, Mason were good puck handlers …. we had STeve Mason, I bet he would be available.

  2. Wayne Gagnon says

    I’m not sure what it will take to make this happen as the Jets owner/management views loyalty to current GM and coaching staff to evolving into a force. Paul would still be coach if he didn’t resign! Complacency seems to be the motto of the ownership of the Jets!

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      Unfortunately Chipman doesn’t seem to have the stones to make the tough calls … somebody needs to remind him its the NHL and not the IHL.

  3. Wayne’s comment and Mitch’s reply are spot-on. Beginning with Kevin Cheveldayoff, Mark Chipman populated Jets management with people he’d become friendly with through minor hockey, and he’s been loathe to part with them. Considering the lengths he went to to shield Cheveldayoff from league discipline last year, you’d think he’s the most valuable and irreplaceable G-M in the NHL. This team will be stuck in the middle-of-the-pack until Chipman starts treating it more like a business and less like a hobby.

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      they are missing that executive between the owner and management to make the hockey decisions …. a PRESIDENT of HOCKEY OPERATIONS

  4. Mitch Kasprick says

    BTW … thanks for stopping by and chatting Wayne and Eric … much appreciated.

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