Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Jan. 16

Mitch Kasprick is now the “Westdale Curmudgeon” 

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:  After the Winnipeg Jets lost a wild game in Detroit I thought they might be in trouble this week but they won the next three games and finished the week 3-1 and sit in the rarified air of FIRST place in the Central Division and the Western Conference.  The Jets have won 8 of their last 9 games and have a record of 29-14-1.

2. Jets:  The Jets line of Pierre-Luc Dubois, Kyle Connor, and Nikolaj Ehlers might be the best line in the NHL that nobody knows about.  I can’t think of a better threesome.

3. Jets:  The Neil Pionk we saw Friday night in Pittsburg was the Neil Pionk we saw in his first 2 years with the Jets.  It was his best game of the year IMO. 

4. NHL:  The officiating we saw in Detroit last Tuesday was some of the worst we’ve seen all season and that’s saying a lot.  Ticky-tacky calls on the Jets and multiple missed calls on Detroit just left me wondering WTF these clowns were looking at.   

5. Jets:  It’s a good thing the jets have an abundance of bottom-six forwards because I’m done with Karson Kuhlman for a while.  He needs a timeout for a few games.

6. Jets:  PLD notched his 20th goal on Sunday night giving the Jets three 20-goal scorers.  Only two other teams have three 20-goal scorers, the Edmonton McDavids and the Toronto Maple Marners.  Not bad company.

7. Jets:  An example of Rick Bowness’s directive of getting the defencemen more actively involved in the offence would be Dylan DeMelo.  DeMelo is a stay-at-home defenceman that had 13 points in 76 games last season BUT under Bowness, he already has 14 points in 40 games.  Another example would be Brendan Dillon, he is on his way to his best offensive season so far at the midway point in the season.

8. ICE:  The Winnipeg ICE are back to #1 in the latest Kia CHL Top-10 Rankings for the 2022-23 season.  The WHL has FIVE teams ranked in the Top 10.  The good thing is 3 of the 5 are in the WHL’s Western Conference.  

Kia CHL Top-10 Rankings – Week 14  

as of Jan. 11

1. Winnipeg ICE (29-5-0-0)
2. Seattle Thunderbirds (28-5-1-1)
3. Quebec Remparts (30-6-1-1)
4. Ottawa 67’s (28-6-1-1)
5. Saskatoon Blades (26-6-2-1)
6. London Knights (26-9-1-0)
7. Portland Winterhawks (26-6-2-1)
8. Halifax Mooseheads (25-7-4-1)
9. North Bay Battalion (26-10-0-1)
10. Kamloops Blazers (22-8-4-2)

9. Jets:  Cole Perfetti is producing at a .65 – .70 points per game pace in his first year as a full-time player and it looks like he is on a progression to be a solid points producer capable of 80 plus points a season.  I can hardly wait for the next generation of players like Chaz Lucius, Brad Lambert, and Rutger McGroarty to join him.  The Jets are a fun team to watch now and might be even better going forward.    

10. JetsI can’t believe the transformation of Mark Scheifele.  He’s always been a very good offensive player with a good shot and sweet mitts but his work ethic and commitment to defensive play are like night and day.  He made a small play versus Arizona where he was chasing down a Coyotes’ forward and dove at the puck and knocked it away.  All these little plays add up in a low-scoring, close game and I noticed it.  The Jets seem to have bought into Rick Bowness’s message.  I guess it helps when the “proof is in the pudding” (for my pal Ben) and you’re 15 games over .500.   

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11. Jets:  The Pierre-Luc Dubois we are watching now is the PLD we all envisioned and hoped for after the big trade.  As much as we all loved watching Patrick Laine rip those one-timers on the powerplay there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that we got the better of that deal.   

12. Jets:  Poll question- 

To this point of the season who do you think is the Winnipeg Jets most improved defenceman? (you can pick more than one)

View Results

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13. Jets:  Just breathe this in for a minute.   The Jets are also #1 in the conference as well.  I’m not sure how long this will last with a tough 5-game road trip starting Tuesday but enjoy it today.  Nobody saw this coming and it feels pretty damn good.   

14. Jets:  My weekly question for Rick Bowness, Kevin Cheveldayoff, or Mark Chipman.

This is a question for Chevy.  Have you talked to Barry Trotz lately?    

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

  • PP: 10th at 24.20% up from 15th last week at 23.60% 
  • PK: 3rd at 83.90% up from 5th last week at 82.90%  
  • FO: 24th at 47.90% up from 25th last week at 47.40%

16. Jets:  Goaltending:

  • Conner Hellebuyck:  22-10-1 … 2.37 GAA … .926 SV% … 3 shutouts  
  • David Rittich:  7-4-0 … 2.59 GAA … .908 SV%

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

  • Good:  The Jets winning in Pittsburg, their house of horrors over the years and winning convincingly.  It was their best road game of the year.     
  • Bad:  The lack of “puck luck” they had in Detroit.  It was an ugly game but with a bounce here or there they could have won.  Every bounce, every call, and every goalpost was against them.  It was bizarre.        
  • Ugly:  The NHL’s scheduling is brutal and inhumane.     

18. Jets:  Dylan Samberg seems like he has been around forever but he is just a rookie.  He seems to have a little bumble or stumble every game but there is no doubt in my mind we have a good one in him. 

19. Jets:  David “the Gus Bus” Gustafsson is seemingly made of glass.  Too bad, he’s a good player.       

20. Jets:  In closing, all I have to say is Nikolaj “don’t call me Nik” Ehlers is a player.  The Jets look so much faster when he’s in the lineup and I can hardly wait until he, PLD, and KC really find their groove.  They are very good now but I just think we’re seeing the tip of the iceberg.  Scary isn’t it? 

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