Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Jan. 6

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 1-1-1 last week and now have an overall record of  22-16-4 record.  They are barely clinging to a wild-card position and I think this is the week they fall below the line.  Before I finished these thoughts they were on the outside looking in after Calgary beat Minny.  With road games in Montreal, Toronto, and Boston, I don’t see many points in our future.  The Jets finish off the week with a home game vs Nashville.  This could be the week that forces Chevy to get off his ass and help this team.  Ya-ya I’m sure he’s trying but I have a funny feeling the Jets are trying to ride this out while waiting for Dustin Byfuglien and Dylan Samberg later in the season.  The problem is it could be too late by then. 

UPDATE:

After last night’s WIN in Montreal, the Jets are back in a wild-card position.

2. WJC It was another classic Canada vs Russia hockey game at the World Juniors on Sunday with a Gold Medal on the line.  Canada was down 3-1 at one point in the third period (11:13) but rallied with three goals and won it 4-3.  Like most IIHF games this game didn’t lack the usual crazy officiating and controversy that goes along with it but this time it worked out in our favour.  It is never dull when these two teams meet and always fun when Canada wins.

3. Jets:  I thought Winnipeg Jets prospect Ville Heinola had a pretty good showing at the WJC.  Heinola seems to have a high hockey IQ and makes good decisions.  It will be interesting to see how he makes out next training camp considering he was one of the Jets better defencemen early this season.   

4. Jets:  Forgive me Winnipeg Jets fans if I’m not as high on David Gustafsson as everyone else.  All I see is an average skater with no offensive upside that will be lucky to play on the fourth line.  We already have enough of those.    

5. NHL:  The officials – Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse I was subjected to Dan O’Halloran’s and TJ Luxmore’s brand of handing or not handing out NHL justice on Saturday versus Minnesota.  They missed an obvious high-stick to Nikolaj “don’t call me Nik” Ehlers’ face, Josh Morrissey getting hit from behind, and made a very suspect call on Blake Wheeler in overtime.  Then there was the possible goalie interference on the winning goal in OT.  The actual penalties they call don’t bother me as much as the one the let go or miss.  The Winnipeg Jets were not playing on a level playing field in this game.  

6. Jets:  To nobodies surprise, Mark Scheifele and Connor Hellebuyck have been named to represent the Winnipeg Jets on the Central Division team at the NHL All-Star Game on Jan. 25 in St. Louis.  Congrats boys.

UPDATE:

The NHL announced that Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Scheifele has been named the NHL’s Second Star of the Week for the week ending Jan. 5, 2020.  Scheifele was tied for the NHL lead with eight points (3G, 5A) this week.

7. Jets:  The Winnipeg Jets need to start winning more home games.  With a record of 10-9-2, the friendly confines of Bell MTS Place don’t seem to be very friendly for the home team. It seems to be a little too friendly and comfortable for visiting teams though.  The visitors have won eleven games in our barn.  Not acceptable. 

8. Jets:  The Dustin Byfuglien watch:  No “BUFFARAZZI” updates, but I read or heard somewhere that Chevy was asked if Dustin Byfuglien would be welcome back inside the Winnipeg Jets dressing room?  I don’t know how Chevy responded but I would guess every player in that room would give up part of their salary to pay for Buff’s if they had to.  Buff is like the big brother that protects them from the boogie-man.  Every player on the Jets plays a foot taller when Buff is in the lineup.

DOES BUFF PLAY THIS SEASON?

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9. Jets:  Wow have times changed.  You know things are bad when Winnipeg Jets fans are joyfully awaiting the return of Dimitry Kulokov’s return from the IR.     

10. Pet Peeve:  How the All-Star label is so loosely thrown around.  I don’t think playing in the All-Star Game automatically makes you an All-Star.  It makes you a participant in the All-Star game and that’s it.  When the league legislates that every team must be represented and injured players are replaced by “non-All-Stars” it kind of cheapens the term in my opinion.  I’m okay with naming a 1st, 2nd, and even a 3rd team or naming a 1st and 2nd conference team.  I would like the NHL to name the top 12 players in each conference with no team restrictions and never play an All-Star Game again.        

11. Jets:  My projected line-up for next week.  This is not what PoMo will do but what I hope he will do. 

Connor – Scheifele – Laine

Ehlers – Wheeler – Perreault

Copp – Lowry – Roslovic

Harkins – Shore – Appleton 

Morrissey – Poolman

Niku – Pionk

Kulikov – Sbisa

Hellebuyck- Brossoit

12. Jets:  I’ve been very complimentary and impressed with Tucker Poolman’s play this season but the strain of punching out of his weight-class is starting to show.

13. WHL:  Congrats to Winnipegger Joel Hofer (Portland WinterHawks) who back-stopped Team Canada in goal, winning all five games he started including the Gold Medal Game vs Russia.       

14. Jets: We’ve heard a lot lately about TNSE improving the gameday experience at Winnipeg Jets games and I agree.  Nothing improves the game day experience more than winning hockey games.  Instead of looking at some marketing or entertainment gurus maybe Mark Chipman should talk to his GM first about improving the one-ice product or does Chevy need another contract extension first?  (see #7)      

15. This week:

  • Manitoba Moose – Jan. 8, 10, 11
  • Winnipeg Jets – Jan. 6, 8, 9, 12
  • Winnipeg Ice – Jan. 8, 11

16. Goaltending:

  • Conner Hellebuyck: 18-12-4 … 2.71 GAA … .919 SV% … 3 shutouts.  
  • Laurent Brossoit: 4-4-0 … 3.50 GAA … .889 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 20.50% up from 18th at 18.50%
  • PK: 31st at 71.60% down from 30th at 72.30%
  • FO: 12th at 50.50% down from 10th at 50.50%

18. Jets:  Said using my best Forrest Gump voice.  “The Winnipeg Jets are like a box of chocolates, you just never know what your gonna get”.   The funny thing about this team is just when you think you have them figured out, good or bad, they surprise you.

19. Jets:  NHL Entry Draft 2010:  Atlanta Thrashers – Alexander Burmistrov, 8th overall.  St. Louis Blues – Vladimir Tarasenko, 16th overall.  Just saying.

20. Jets:  Every game the Winnipeg Jets lose the villagers are out with their torches ready to run Paul Maurice out of town.  I get it, the haters are haters and that is the life of a head coach in the NHL but what boggles my mind is how Kevin Cheveldayoff slides under the radar with hardly any criticism.  “Teflon Chevy” is the architect of this team and seems to have found more immunity idols than “Boston Rob”.        

In memory of my friend Darryl Manchulenko.

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Thanks, Mitch

Comments

  1. Everett Shade says

    I agree that Heinola had a good showing at the WJC. It was my first chance to see him play a lot and I think they have an NHLer in him.

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      he is small and might struggle in front of the net but he seems to have that sixth sense that smaller dmen have.

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