Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Jan. 13

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, 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 warn

1. Jets:  The Winnipeg Jets went  2-2-0 last week which isn’t awful but two of those wins were earlier in the week so the two losses are what stick in recent memory and especially after their sixth straight loss at home.  The Jets are now below the playoff line with a record of 24-18-4 which is only two games over .500. 

2. Jets:  With the injury to Tucker Poolman on Sunday versus the Preds, Sami Niku found himself playing pretty big minutes (21:50) and I thought he looked very good.  Like the rest of the Jets smallish defencemen, he struggles in the corners and in front of the net BUT when he has the puck he makes quick and smart plays to exit the defensive zone. 

3. Jets:  I am so sick of watching the Jets lose at home.  I can’t imagine going to the games and leaving the building with losses in 12 out of 21 games.    

4. Jets: As I mentioned earlier, both of the Jets wins last week were earlier in the week but I can’t think of two teams I hate losing to more than Montreal or Toronto so beating them was the silver lining but the loss to Boston could have been avoided and losing 1-0 at home to Nashville is inexcusable.      

5. NHL:  The officials – Outside of the Boston game I didn’t have any major issues with the stripes in Jets games last week.  I think the Jets could have had a couple more powerplays but it’s hard drawing penalties when you skate around the perimeter and don’t go into the dirty areas. 

There has been lots of talk today about the Matt Tkachuk/Zach Kassian dust-up so I figured I would add my two cents.  Matt Tkachuk lit up Zach Kassian with two hits on the same shift and after the second hit, Kassian went after Tkachuk and rag-dolled him.  The officials missed the headshot on the first hit and the rest is history.  Both hits were deemed clean although the first one wasn’t IMHO.  Both hits were on the predatory side and although young Matthew doesn’t have to fight in that situation it was not a good look on him for not answering the bell when his main intent was to target (hurt) Kassian.  I have a feeling this isn’t over yet.  Stay tuned as the Flames and Oilers play two games later this month.

6. Jets:  I’m getting more and more frustrated with Jack Roslovic every game.  He teases me every once in a while but continually leaves me wanting more.  I’ve seen too many players like him over the years and I’m starting to wonder if he will ever be a top-six forward?  Right now Jack is stalled.      

7. Jets:  Mason Appleton has looked better lately just as I was starting to wonder about him.  Coming back from an injury and getting fourth-line minutes has stalled his development.  Is he better off playing big minutes with the Manitoba Moose?  Being sent to the AHL isn’t a punishment and is probably better for long-term development.  

8. Jets:  The Dustin Byfuglien watch:  No “BUFFARAZZI” updates.

DOES BUFF PLAY THIS SEASON?

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9. Jets: Some might say that Nikolaj “don’t call me Nik” Ehlers might be the Winnipeg Jets most consistent forward this season and I can’t say I disagree.  Nikolaj has eighteen goals and nineteen assists in fourty-six games with bupkiss time on the powerplay.  Ehlers is one of the best forwards in the entire NHL at zone entry but yet gets very little PP time and hardly ever gets on the ice in OT.  If any player has the right to complain about usage it could be Nik.       

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10. Pet Peeve:  I don’t usually get upset by “eastern bias” but it is starting to grate on me lately.   I can only handle so much Sheldon Keefe and Auston Matthews talk.  

11. Jets:  I’ve been hearing a narrative that Josh Morrissey’s off and on struggles, this season is because Jacob Trouba carried him in past seasons.  All I have to say about that is go and watch a couple of Ranger games.  Jake sure as shit is no $8,000,000 per year defenceman.  I think it would be fair to say they miss each other but I still maintain that Josh is the better defenceman.  

12. Jets:  Laurent Brossoit was a very good back-up goalie for the Jets last season but he hasn’t been very good this season so I wonder what the plan is for next year?  Mikhail Berdin probably isn’t ready, Eric Comrie isn’t an NHL goalie so do the Jets look for another veteran back-up or roll the dice with Brossoit for one more year?   

13. Jets:  The NHL trade deadline is only a few weeks away (Feb. 24) and I wonder if Chevy has a plan to help this team or will that depend on where they are in the standings?  How much depends on the Buff situation?  Even if Dustin Byfuglien does return and/or Dylan Samberg joins the team I still think this team needs to make a trade for a top-four defenceman and a top-nine forward. 

Will Chevy make any moves to improve the Jets before the trade deadline?

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14. Jets:  Back to Nik Ehlers, he might also be one of the grittiest and feistiest forwards on the Winnipeg Jets.  (see #9)  

15. This week:

  • Manitoba Moose – Jan. 13, 15, 18, 19
  • Winnipeg Jets – Jan. 14, 17, 19
  • Winnipeg Ice – Jan. 14, 18,  19

16. Goaltending:

  • Conner Hellebuyck: 20-13-4 … 2.64 GAA … .920 SV% … 3 shutouts.  
  • Laurent Brossoit: 4-5-0 … 3.65 GAA … .886 SV%

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.

  • PP: 12th at 20.90% up from 12th at 20.50%
  • PK: 30th at 73.30% up from 31st at 71.60%
  • FO: 13th at 50.40% down from 12th at 50.50%

18. Jets:  It’s tough when your goalie only gives up one goal and you lose.  Connor Hellebuyck showed up ready to play on Sunday afternoon but his teammates didn’t start until about an hour later.  The Jets had eleven turnovers in the first eleven minutes of their game on Sunday.  The turnovers are becoming commonplace with this team.         

19. Jets: Patrik Laine is making a concentrated effort to be a better defensive player this season and he has been much better than last yeat BUT where is his goal scoring?  Fifteen goals in forty-four games don’t exactly scream sniper and especially when both his linemates have twenty-two goals.  

20. RIP Neil Peart       

In memory of my friend Darryl Manchulenko.

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Thanks, Mitch

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