Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Feb. 22

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 had a real good week going 3-1-0 on their four-game road trip, splitting their two-game set with Edmonton and sweeping their two games versus Vancouver.  Their record is 11-6-1 overall for the season.

2. Jets:  Pierre-Luc Dubois finally got back into the lineup Sunday night and was a major impact with 2 goals and a helper including the OT winner.  Sunday night PLD officially became a Winnipeg Jets fan fave.  I’m happy for the Jets fans that didn’t know much about him.  This performance might help take the sting out of trading Patrik Laine.      

3. JetsI think most Jets fans would agree Neal Pionk really struggled in the bubble this past summer but he actually had a pretty good first season with the Winnipeg Jets and to this point his second season looks to be even better.  I’m still puzzled why Paul Maurice doesn’t have him quarterbacking the first unit powerplay though.  I think he is the better option over Josh Morrissey.  (see the poll question at #13)

4. Moose:  The Manitoba Moose finished their first week of play with a 2-2-0 record after splitting their four-game homestand with the Toronto Marlies.  It was good seeing prospects Cole Perfetti, Dylan Samberg, and Ville Heinola finally playing.  I had not seen Samberg play in over a year and I forgot what an underrated puck mover he is.    

5. Jets:  Like I mentioned last week, Nathan Beaulieu has officially become the fanbase’s new whipping boy but Nate Thompson is right behind him and he hasn’t really done anything wrong outside of the fact he is in the lineup over some fans favourites.  FYI, it’s not his fault.  

6. Jets:  I don’t think he has done this before but on Sunday night Paul Maurice did something I have wondered about for a few years.  Why don’t coaches start three forwards in overtime a lot more often?  He started Pierre-Luc Dubois, Mark Scheifele, and Blake Wheeler in OT vs Vancouver and Dubois popped the game winner 27 seconds later.  I don’t think this will be a regular thing but I liked it.      

7. Jets:  I am getting a little tired of hearing how bad the Winnipeg Jets analytics are because their underwhelming Corsi and Fenwick numbers can be very misleading.  The Jets aren’t a high volume shots and attempts team because they pass up shooting situations looking for a better play unlike other teams that are considered “possession teams” that fire the puck on net from all angles every chance they get.   A lot of these shots look good in the shot metrics but how many are actually good scoring chances?  For me shot volume is not possession, possessing the puck is possession.  Players like Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, KyleConnor, Nick Ehlers, Paul Stastny seldom ever think shot first.  They will carry the puck, cycle the puck, look for teammates, curl when crossing the blueline while players on other teams shoot on net (Evander Kane) as soon as they cross the blueline.  Watch the Jets on their zone entries and keep this in mind when they show the shot metrics in-between periods.  The metrics don’t always tell the true story and especially with this Jets team.  Take this from an old WHA Jets fan that watched that team score 5-6 goals a night they didn’t shoot a lot.  Their possession was actually possession, not shot volume, although on a lot of nights they had that too.     

8. Jets:  It’s time for Logan Stanley to get back into the lineup.  Tucker Poolman and Nathan Beaulieu aren’t good enough to be playing regularly over Stanley. 

9. Jets:  After looking a little sluggish early in the season, Blake Wheeler seems to have found his giddy-up once again.  It is quite obvious now that Wheeler was playing through something but the past couple of games he looks more like himself.  The criticism he is/was receiving was very unfair and especially when we don’t know the whole story.        

10. NHL: A huge congratulations to Winnipegger, Travis Zajac on his 1000th NHL game on Sunday afternoon, all with the New Jersey Devils.  Travis is one of my favourite Winnipeg hockey players going all the way back to his AAA Bantam days with the Winnipeg Hawks.  He was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in 2004 in the first round, 20th overall and has put up pretty solid numbers over his NHL career with 197 goal and 337 assists totaling 534 points in the regular season and in 57 playoff games he has 11 goals and 17 assists for 28 points. 

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11. NHL:  PLEASE fix your officials.  In the Jets game last week versus Ottawa the two referees sucked on their whistles the whole game ignoring obvious infractions and in the Jets next game against Edmonton they were whistle happy and calling phantom penalties.  There is no consistency from game to game which really frustrates players and fans alike.  

12. NHL:  Key dates.

  • Mar. 12 – Players on one-year deals can sign extensions (usually Jan. 1)
  • Apr. 12 – Trade Deadline
  • May 8 – End of the regular season
  • May 11 – Playoffs begin
  • July 15 – The latest the Stanley Cup can be awarded
  • July 17 – Expansion draft protection lists tentatively due
  • July 21 – Expansion draft
  • July 23-24 – 2021 NHL Entry Draft
  • July 28 – Free agency opens

13. Jets: Poll Question:

Who would you prefer running the Winnipeg Jets #1 powerplay?

View Results

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14. NHL:  I’m sure by now everyone has an opinion about the eight hour weather delay at the NHL’s outdoor game in Lake Tahoe.  On Saturday, after finishing the first period the game had to be delayed because the clear skies and sunshine turned the ice into slush.  The panel and the announcers on the NBC broadcast asked more than once “how could the NHL have planned for this?”.  REALLY?  It never occurred to Gary Bettman and the NHL that the sun might magically come out in the middle of the day?  Didn’t this actually happen in Winnipeg during the Heritage Classic?  Sometimes “Count Chocula” just makes it too easy to to crap on him.

On a positive note, it sure was a magnificent setting.  Who needs fans?


15. Jets:  Schedule

16. Jets:  I wish Jets fans would just pull for the players in the lineup instead of bitching about the players not in the lineup.  (see #5)   

17. Special Teams: Rule of thumb. Have the two red numbers (PK and PP) total at least 100% when added (as your minimum).  I also base the movement (up or down) on the % and not the NHL ranking.

These are the Winnipeg Jets rankings within the seven team Canadian Division.  Since all games played during the regular season are divisional the rest of the league’s numbers don’t really matter.

  • PP: 3rd at 22.80% up from 20.00% last week.
  • PK: 2nd at 80.40 down from 81.00% last week. 
  • FO: 5th at 48 .70 down from 49.20% last week.

18. Jets:  Jets fans are wondering who broke Josh Morrissey?  He has been good, bad, and indifferent all season.  He is definitely off. 

19. Goaltending:

  • Conner Hellebuyck:  8-5-1 … 2.64 GAA … .916 SV% 
  • Laurent Brossoit:  3-1-0 … 2.24 GAA … .935 SV%

20. NHL:  Why doesn’t the NHL include playoff games when talking about a player’s total games played?  (see #10)


In memory of my friend Darryl Manchulenko.

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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



  1. Its definitely a toss up for whipping boy. Beaulieu is leading but 44 is closing fast.

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      Josh is struggling but PLD saved his ass last night after the late penalty …. I think he is feeling the pressure of being a top dman … I don’t think it has anything to do with his partners as some like to say … also I don’t think he needs the pressure of running the #1 powerplay unit.

  2. Referring to #16, I think the main issue with the complaining about who is not in the lineup stems from the opinion of the coaching staff. The Jets have capable young legs in the minors that deserve an opportunity to show what they have! Until that happens there will always be the unknown of what they are capable of. I understand that there are organizations that have players still in their prime, but the Jets have D men that are doing their best without another gear to offer. I apologize if this is long winded!

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      Hey Wayne … never apologize for long comment … that is what the comment section is for ….. I agree with your response but we all know how Paul Maurice and this org handles players … I have no problem with dmen playing big minutes in the AHL … the AHL isn’t a punishment but in saying that I would like to see Heinola up with the big club sooner than later.

  3. Thanks for the response Mitch! How much does the expansion draft play in how the Jets want to expose their young players? Are teams around the league trying to stay under the radar in a time where everyone know everything.

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      The Seattle expansion draft has a little bit to do with it …. Nate Beaulieu needed some games to become eligible and they got those in … outside of that there aren’t any secrets …. Copp, Appleton, and Stanley are at risk …. Lowry will be a UFA so I’m guessing the Jets will wait to sign him after the draft … wink wink

  4. Any way you look at it there is more upside than doom and gloom for the Jets! Great chatting with you, take care!

  5. Dennis Tomlinson says

    Hey. Mitch, Re #8 Strongly disagree that Stanley should be in instead of Poolman. Poolman is looking good
    Stanley in for Beaulieu I could live with

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      I should have clarified that thought a bit better … I believe I mentioned last week I would like to see a little more rotation in the bottom pairing … Josh/DeMelo … Pionk/Forbort …… and then rotate Beaulieu, Poolman, Niku, and Stanley …. you would think at some point this season we are going to see Heinola and Samberg and then this will be a moot point.
      Josh … Heinola
      Samberg … Pionk
      Forbort … DeMelo
      Stanley … Poolman

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