Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Jan. 9

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: The Winnipeg Jets had a very good week.  They went 3-0, had 4 key injured players return to the lineup, and won their 5th game in a row for the first time in 4 years.  The good guys now have an impressive record of 26-13-1 through their first 40 games.

2. Jets:  Nothing shows who a coach trusts more than who he puts on the ice in the last minute of a close game.  I would say Kevin Stenlund has earned Rick Bowness’s trust.

3. Jets:  When Ville Heinola got the assist on Sam Gagne’s game-winner against Calgary on Tuesday night it felt like that was his “now I’m part of the team” moment.  He was so fired up to contribute to a big play.

4. NHL:  If lacrosse players aren’t allowed in the goal crease why are hockey players allowed to?

5. U20:  Canada beat Czechia in overtime to win back-to-back GOLD Medals in a terrific hockey game this past week.  Actually, the games from the elimination rounds through the semis and then the final of the U20 WHC were some of the best hockey I’ve seen played in years.  Every game was entertaining, close, and competitive.

6. Jets:  Speaking of the WJHC, the Winnipeg Jets’ prospects showed pretty well, especially Chaz Lucius and Rutger McGroarty. 

Rutger McGroarty: 7 GM: 1-7-8
Chaz Lucius: 7 GM: 5-2-7 … assigned to Portland (WHL)
Fabian Wagner: 7 GM: 2-4-6
Brad Lambert: 5 GM: 1-0-1 … assigned to Seattle (WHL)

7. Moose:  The Manitoba Moose lost 2 out of 3 last week but with the big club getting their injured players back the Moose will be getting back the players they lost to call-ups except for Mikey Eyssimont who was claimed off waivers by the San Jose Sharks.  The Moose now have a record of 17-11-2-1 (.597) and are clinging to 4th place* in the AHL’S Central Division. 

* The top four teams in the division qualify for the post-season based on winning percentage. 

8. ICE:  The Winnipeg ICE is ranked #2 in the Kia CHL Top-10 Rankings for the 2022-23 season.  The WHL has SIX teams ranked in the Top 10.  Let that marinate.  

Kia CHL Top-10 Rankings – Week 13  

as of Jan. 4

1. Seattle Thunderbirds (27-4-1-1)
2. Winnipeg ICE (28-5-0-0)
3. Quebec Remparts (28-6-0-1)
4. Portland Winterhawks (26-4-2-1)
5. Saskatoon Blades (25-6-1-0)
6. Ottawa 67’s (26-6-0-1)
7. London Knights (23-8-1-0)
8. Halifax Mooseheads (23-7-4-1)
9. Red Deer Rebels (26-6-1-3)
10. Kamloops Blazers (21-7-3-2)

9. Jets:  Remember that slow start that Kyle Connor had scoring goals?  Well, KC now has 20 goals in 40 games.  

10. Jets Congrats to Josh. 

11. Jets:  With Nate Schmidt returning from his injury, Ville Heinola drew the short straw and is now back up in the press box with the rest of the popcorn brigade.  Neil Pionk has been by far the Jets’ worst defenceman in the first half of this season and I can’t help but think the reason he is in the lineup every night is based on his salary or worse yet because he is a right-handed shot.

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:  I never thought I’d be this guy but “Free Heinola”.       

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

This is a question for all of the above.  Has the whole Jets organization gone nose-blind to how bad Neil Pionk stinks?  

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: 15th at 23.60% down from 11th last week at 23.90% 
  • PK: 5th at 82.90% up from 6th last week at 82.40%  
  • FO: 25th at 47.40% down from 24th last week at 47.60%

16. Jets:  Goaltending:

  • Conner Hellebuyck:  20-9-1 … 2.30 GAA … .928 SV% … 3 shutouts  
  • David Rittich:  6-4-0 … 2.75 GAA … .905 SV%

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

  • Good:  The Jets getting healthy and 5 wins in a row.     
  • Bad:  Ville Heinola sitting out after finally getting some playing time and playing very well.            
  • Ugly:  I’m going to pass on the ugly this week.  Hard to argue with 5 in a row.

18. Jets:  Pierre-Luc Dubois is having a monster season and I hope we sign him long-term ASAP but the cynical part of me can’t help but wonder how much of his great play is the old “contract year bump”?  

19. Jets:  The Winnipeg Jets lost Mikey Eyssimont to the San Jose Sharks after the team put him on waivers so they could return him to the Manitoba Moose.  This is a terrific turn of events for Eyssimont.  He will now be making his NHL salary for the rest of the season since the Sharks have to keep him on their NHL roster or return him to the Jets.  His hard work paid off, someone is always watching. (see #7)        

20. JetsI’ve often wondered why the Jets don’t televise their skills competition on TSN3 or live stream it through their website.  Somebody get on this.  

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