Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Mar. 13

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 or is it the 8Ps?  You’ve been warned.

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1. Jets:  The Winnipeg Jets went 2-1-1 this past week after a surprising sweep in Florida.   Their record now sits at 38-26-3 and they currently sit in the 3rd in the Central Division.

2. Jets:  Last week Rittich vs San Jose and Helle vs Minnesota both gave up incredibly weak goals that were ultimately the difference in the two losses BUT the goaltending wasn’t the problem, it was the Jets’ offence/powerplay that let them down AGAIN.  The Jets’ offence created more than enough chances to offset those blunders but they failed to finish/execute and failed their goaltenders in a big way.  

3. Jets:  I’ve noticed lately that the Jets defencemen have been leaving their zone too early to join the play before we have control of the puck leading to grade “A” chances, penalties and goals against.

4. Jets:  I mentioned last week that Jets fans would be pleasantly surprised by Vladdy Namestnikov and he hasn’t disappointed.

5. NHL:  There is talk of NHL expansion and the cities being mentioned again are Houston, Atlanta, and Quebec City.  My first thought is WHY would Count Chocula even consider going back to Atlanta?  What, third time is a charm? SCREW ATLANTA … Quebec is a no-brainer.

6. Jets:  Is it possible to be underrated yet be overrated?  I believe it is and Kyle Connor is one of these players. He is a very skilled player and one of the Jets’ top players but he has been very underwhelming for a few weeks now and he seems to be immune from criticism.  I’m sure this happens in a lot of markets but I think KC has a couple of extra layers of Teflon on him.  

It’s hard to criticize a player that is the leading scorer on this Jets team BUT if you factor in that KC gets prime usage his numbers are weak.  KC is the leading scorer on the Jets but he’s not even close to being their best player.

As of Mar. 13 – 67 games (34 home and 33 away).

  • Goals:  27
  • Goals in 3 on 3 overtime:  2
  • Goals even strength vs weak Anaheim and Vancouver teams  (5 games):  5
  • Goals on the powerplay (home):  2
  • Goals on the powerplay (away):  5

If you eliminate the OT goals, the powerplay goals, and the cupcake games, KC’s splits look like this.

  • Goals in 31 home games 5 on 5:  6
  • Goals in 32 road games 5 on 5:  7

The bottom line is these 13 even-strength goals in 63 games are a problem.  The Jets need a lot more goal-scoring at even strength from their #1 winger.  There are a lot of things I like about KC’s game and a lot I hate and this is not a criticism of Kyle Connor but more of an observation of the Jets’ goal-scoring plight.  KC is not getting it done based on his usage.  I’m not pointing a finger or blaming only Kyle Connor, we have been getting little or nothing from the bottom six forwards for the past two months.  Ask yourself where would this Jets team be if KC had scored 5-10 more goals by now.  I don’t think we’d be talking about a scoring drought or fighting for a wildcard spot.

7. Jets:  You hear many Jets fans say it’s time to move away from the core and specifically mention Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele but never Kyle Connor.  If I was forced to choose I’d pick Mark Scheifele over KC.   I always pick a center over a winger.

8. ICE:  The Winnipeg ICE have clinched the East Division and, Eastern Conference’s top seed. 

The Winnipeg ICE have dropped to #3 in the latest Kia CHL Top-10 Rankings for the 2022-23 season.  I’ve mentioned before I don’t get how they come to these decisions.  The ICE finished a 10-game road trip with an 8-2 record and still have the best record in the WHL.  Their record currently sits at 52-9-1.

Kia CHL Top-10 Rankings – Week 22

as of Mar. 8

1. Seattle Thunderbirds (48-9-1-1)
2. Gatineau Olympiques (41-12-4-2)
3. Winnipeg ICE (49-9-1-0)
4. Sherbrooke Phœnix (42-12-3-2)
5. Halifax Mooseheads (43-9-4-3)
6. Quebec Remparts (45-11-1-2)
7. Ottawa 67’s (44-11-3-2)
8. Kamloops Blazers (40-11-4-2)
9. Sarnia Sting (34-17-5-3)
10. Saskatoon Blades (42-13-4-1)

9. Jets:  I think we should now call the perimeter highway Kyle Connor Blvd.  Thank-You Sparky.

10. JetsAndrew Ladd was still a very effective player in his final season with the Winnipeg Jets but after signing his big contract with the NYI he was never the same and it was amazing how quickly he fell off the map and became irrelevant.

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11. Jets:  It’s too bad Morgan Barron has Andrew Copp’s hands but on the bright side he is approximately 5 million cheaper per season.  

12. Jets:  I hate when fans say if it wasn’t for Helle we would have lost.  Last time I checked your goalie is part of the team.

13. Jets:  According to Money Puck, as of this morning, the Winnipeg Jets have an 85.3% chance of making the playoffs.   This number is very fluid and changes every day.  I will update this every week until they clinch a spot (being positive).  Last Monday the Jets were at 87.0%.

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

This question is for Rick Bowness:   Who is in charge of the powerplay and do you and the other coaches see it’s NOT working?  I wrote this after the Minnesota game but they finally tweaked the PP for the weekend games and scored 3 with the man advantage.

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 21.60% down from 22.70% 
  • PK: 7th at 82.70% down from 83.30%  
  • FO: 25th at 47.50% down from 48.50%

16. Jets:  Goaltending:

  • Conner Hellebuyck:  29-20-2 … 2.64 GAA … .919 SV% … 3 shutouts  
  • David Rittich:  9-6-1 … 2.57 GAA … .906 SV%

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

    • Good:  The Jets scored 2 PP goals vs Florida and another the next night vs Tampa.
    • Bad:  The Jets gave up 3 goals on the PK vs Florida
    • Ugly:  How Matthew Tkachuk owned the Jets defenceman in front of HELLE.
    • Embarrassing:  San Jose was 68.3 % to Winnipeg’s 31.27 % in the faceoff circle.

18. Jets:  My whipping boy, Neal Pionk is now going to be joined by somebody new.  I’m not going to pick on one of the low-hanging fruit but instead, I’m going to the top of the food chain and keeping my eyes on Kyle Conner.  Currently, KC looks lost in both ends of the ice 5 on 5.  

19. Jets In a gutsy effort the Jets beat Tampa 3-2 with great goaltending and pretty good team play but what I really liked was how they battled in front of Helle after being owned by Matthew Tkachuk the night before.

20. Jets:  I’m a bit sadistic because I love when Logan Stanley plays.  He pisses off so many people, especially on Twitter and it makes me laugh but I don’t like that it comes at Dylan Samberg’s expense.  Bones could easily sit out Nate Schmidt or Neal Pionk if he wants to have Stanley in the lineup.

You can listen to a more in-depth audio version here >>> Audio Version Podcast is now live


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