Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: May 21

Odds and Ends on the Winnipeg Jets and the NHL –

Some random facts and a few thoughts about the Winnipeg Jets, the Manitoba Moose, and the National Hockey League.  

1.  The playoff run is over and what an unexpected and glorious run it was.  Winnipeg Jets 2.0 took hockey fans to a place the Winnipeg Jets 1.0 never could.  Once the dust settles, the disappointment of losing a chance to get to the Stanley Cup Finals will become easier.  The Jets were beaten by a well-coached, rested team that got great goaltending.  It happens.  I can take solace in the fact that we took out the best team in the league and made it to the third round.  We ALL would have signed up for that ride before the season started and especially after the Jets lost their first two games of the season.  I’m a little disappointed but pretty happy too.  Well done boys.  Now for an interesting off-season!       

2.  Round Three – The Western Conference Finals:  The Winnipeg Jets had a tough week losing both games in Vegas.  They actually played well enough to win either or both games but they ultimately couldn’t overcome their slow starts, a couple major brain cramps in both games, and mediocre goaltending by Connor Hellebuyck.  I truly believed game 5 back at home would be a different story and it was for the most part but they still lost 2-1.  There is absolutely no way you could have convinced me the Winnipeg Jets could possibly lose game 5.  I was not ready for today’s post to be a post-mortem.    

3.  When I tweeted this out after the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 loss on Friday night I really believed this. 

Deep down I knew it was going to be a challenge but I figured they would at least make it back to Vegas for game 6. 

4 Central Division Champs:  Winnipeg Jets … it has a nice ring to it.        

5. Paul Maurice is getting tons of criticism after losing to the Vegas Golden Knights in five games and I’m not sure it is totally warranted.  He wants his team to play a certain way and he believes that if they do they will win way more than they will lose.  My biggest complaint about his coaching in this series was his reluctance to pay more attention to shutting down the Knights top line.  Thinking you can continually outscore your match-ups doesn’t always work.  In a seven-game series when you are being torched by the other team’s only line, I think that its time to stop being stubborn and try paying more attention to them. 

6.  As the clock was winding down in game 5, I was still hoping for that game-tieing second goal by the Jets but my level of angst and frustration was becoming less and less because I could see this team was gassed and they had nothing left in the tank.  The seven-game series versus Nashville must have taken its toll on them and they were done. 

7.  I think Josh Morrissey had more giveaways in the Vegas series than he had in the past two seasons.  It was a rough series for Josh and his partner Jacob Trouba.  It was a rough series for all of the Jets defencemen with the relentless Vegas forecheck.  The Golden Knights did a good job pressuring the Jets defence.                                                                               

8.  Priceless moment:  This could also be called an ironic moment but Winnipeger Ryan Reaves scoring the game-winning goal that knocks out his hometown team and sending him to the Stanley Cup Finals.  Ouch!                

9.  Marc-André Fleury definitely out-duelled Connor Hellebuyck in the conference final and he was the main reason the Golden Knights beat the Jets.  Helle wasn’t very good in games 2-4 but he didn’t have to be better than MAF, he just had to be Helle.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t. 

10.  I haven’t always felt this way and I didn’t really warm up to Dustin Byfuglien until last season but in my humble opinion with his play all season and especially during this playoff run he left absolutely no doubt whatsoever who the alpha-dog on the Winnipeg Jets blueline is.  Buff actually elevated his play during the Winnipeg Jets playoff run and he was excellent.  


11.  Every Winnipeg Jets player will benefit from the experience of this season’s playoff run but especially the youngins.  My biggest fear going into the post-season was the play of Jets young players and as each round went by their mistakes got magnified.  I knew there would be growing pains.  All we can hope for is that they learn from their mistakes.  That is not a given. 

12.  Pet Peeve:  NHL officiating … blah blah blah … you know the rest.  It’s been on full display the entire playoffs and in every series but because I only care about the Jets series I think the officiating in game 4 was borderline criminal.  Tyler Myers gets a chintzy interference call early in the game that led to the first goal and although I thought it was a soft call I was expecting the standard would be the same going both ways until I saw Brayden McNabb cross-check Mark Scheifele in the face.  

13.  I think some of the so-called experts should take a better look at Jacob Trouba’s play so far in this series.  It hasn’t been very good but yet he is put on a pedestal and seems to be immune to criticism.  There are rumours out there that Jake has told his agent Kurt Overhardt he has changed his mind and wants to sign an extension with the Winnipeg Jets.  That is the good news.  The bad news could be his asking price.  It will be very interesting to see what he and his agent ask for.  In my opinion, he is not in Dustin Byfuglien’s pay range.  Trouba does some things well but he isn’t as complete a player as I previously thought he was going to become.  Stay tuned.  (see #10)      

14.  For me, this playoff season will be remembered as the year of the cross-check.  I don’t know why I’m ever surprised at NHL officiating but the amount of cross-checking being let go is absolutely amazing.   

15.  With Joel Armia and Matt Hendricks not dressed for game 4 in Vegas, the Winnipeg Jets iced their fastest lineup and once they all got skating it was very impressive to watch.

16.  The Good:

  • Mark  Scheifele was excellent the entire playoffs.
  • Connor Hellebuyck looked like a Vezina Trophy Finalist in the first two rounds.
  • Dustin Byfuglien was a beast in every aspect of the game in all three rounds.
  • Paul Stastny was a nice addition and really solidified the second line.
  • Eliminating the Nashville Predators.
  • The Whiteout.                              

17.  The Bad:  

  • Mark Scheifele in the faceoff circle.
  • Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine along the boards in their own end.
  • Secondary scoring in the third round.
  • The Jets PP in game 5.  It could/should have been a difference maker. 
  • ZERO goals in the playoffs from Nikolaj “don’t call me Nik” Ehlers. 
  • The Jets collapsing, shooting gallery style of penalty killing. (could have been in the ugly)

18.  The Ugly: 

  • Connor Hellebuyck’s puck handling.
  • The amount of “grade A” scoring chances the Jets gave up because of not getting the puck in deep on line changes.  
  • NHL officiating. 
  • The Jets second unit PP.
  • Giveaways …. the Jets have been sloppy with the puck all season but were able to outscore their mistakes for the most part but the turnovers were magnified much more in the playoffs and every giveaway seemed to end up in the back of their net.       

19. Goaltending:

  • Conner Hellebuyck:  9-8 … 2.36 GAA … .922 SV%             
  • Steve Mason:  0-0 … 0.00 GAA … 1.000 SV% 

20.  Special Teams after three games:  Rule of thumb.  Have the two red numbers total at least 100% when added.  (as your minimum) 

  • PP:  5th at 24.50% … down from 4th at 27.80%    
  • PK:  9th at 76.20% … up from 12th at 72.70%  

If you are interested in writing for Winnipeg Hockey Talk or if you know somebody interested, please contact us at:

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We are looking for writers to cover the Winnipeg Jets, Manitoba Moose, Manitoba Bisons, Winnipeg AAA, MJHL, MMJHL, KIJHL and Winnipeg High School.

If you have any thoughts on any of these comments or questions, please let me know.  We would love to hear your opinions.

Thanks, Mitch 

Use the “Comment Section” below.






  1. Everett Shade says

    Quick note. Ryan Reaves was not in the Stanley Cup Final last year. He played for the Blues.

  2. Claude Saindon says

    Great analysis and write-up, Mitch. Now, my own bits and pieces…

    5. I was asking myself the same question. I wondered why CoachMo didn’t assign someone to blanket Marchessault ie: doing Claude Provost job on him. Provost had shadowed and shut down Bobby Hull in the playoffs, sticking to him like glue. I would have nominated Copp for the job.

    8. Reaves. I thought his treatment of Scott Oake in a between periods interview rubbing his thin head hair was totally disrespectful. Clown acts we don’t need.

    9. Fleury. I think you’re right. Fleury was the better goalie but to me that wasn’t the deciding factor. Just as important was the Jets’ inability to handle Vegas’ speed. They cut down time and space causing costly turnovers and goals. And they used their speed in the DZone to just get in the way enough to neutralize the best scoring opportunities.

    13. Trouba. He had a horrible time against the VGK forechecking. It’ll be an interesting negotiation session in the off-season. He doesn’t have the offensive instincts for 1D money and this series exposed DZone vulnerability.

    16. Stastny. Good, yes. Re-sign? Probably not enough money for the term he’ll want what with the young ones they need to lock up. Stay the course and keep bringing up the talent in the pipeline.

    Winnipeg Jets Guy aka @amatoudi

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      thanks for checking in … Trouba wasn’t alone … Buff seemed to handle things best. Stastny? You never know … I don’t know why some GMs are in such a big hurry to sign players coming off their ELCs to long-term deals. Bridging is a useful tool … teams control RFA years.

  3. Jetsfan CH34 says

    5. I really have no idea how much coaching affects players who are professional grown men, but I still don’t understand what Maurice did to deserve an extension, and now that we found some success I can’t help but wonder if we could have gone farther with another coach(ing staff).
    10. Buff made me a fan(of his) this season
    17. Felt like Laine was hurt, looked like he was skating in quicksand. Were his moves all so slow and deliberate in the regular season and I just never noticed because they ended up with pucks in the back of the net?

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      Laine just looked slower because the intensity of the playoffs ramped up and the competition got better … he’ll learn

      • Claude Saindon says

        Any team that comes at you like a pack of angry hornets like VGK did will do that to you, especially a guy whose first step isn’t great.

  4. Bradley Edwards says


    You are spot on…

    Always enjoy your honest take on our Jets…

    If the Sun was smart they would hire you…

    Winnipeg not free press can die off already….

    Have a great summer…

    Go Jets Go

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      thanks for reading … I think the summer might be almost as interesting as the regular season. Lots of contracts to get done and probably a trade or two on draft day.

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