Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: May 24

Mitch Kasprick is the “Motown Curmudgeon” aka “Motown Mitch”

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. 

 

SWEEP

1. Jets:  After the Winnipeg Jets big comeback on Sunday night they now lead the Edmonton Oilers 3 games to none.  Even the most diehard Jets fan couldn’t have imagined that.  Based on the poll question so far it looks like Jets fans think the Oilers win in a short series or the Jets win in a long series. 

UPDATE:   

IT IS OVER

The WINNIPEG JETS did the unthinkable and swept the Edmonton Oilers in four games after a triple OT win on a brilliant snipe from Kyle Connor.

For me and all the other older fans that were victims of so many losses to the hated Edmonton Oilers this win is special and the sweep makes it even sweeter.

THANK-YOU WINNIPEG JETS. 

Who wins the Jets vs Oilers series?

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2. Jets:  Although he didn’t score in game 2 versus the Oilers I thought this was the most engaged I’ve seen Kyle Connor in some time.  He was the Jets best forward in my opinion and the overall play of the top line was the best 200 ft effort I’ve seen them play in years.  Game 3 was a different story.  KC was awful defensively and Mark Scheifele was a little late on the back-check on Zack Kassian’s goal although I believe Kassian might have been KC’s man.  I’m not a fan of matching the Scheifele line versus the McDavid line but their play in the playoffs has been much better than it was during the regular season.

UPDATE:  

The line of Mark Scheifele, Kyle Connor, and Blake Wheeler were the best line on the ice and lead their team to victory.  They combined for 3 goals and 3 assists and were dangerous all night.  KC scored the OT winner and had a beauty setup on Scheif’s tying goal in the 3rd period.  The big line earned some much needed redemption. 

3. Jets:  Pierre-Luc Dubois returned for game 2 and I thought he played well with Andrew Copp and Paul Stastny but I thought he was much better playing with Paul Stastny and Nikolaj Ehlers in game 3 (2 assists).    

4. Jets:  Nikolaj “don’t call me Nik” Ehlers didn’t dress for game 1 or 2 but was ready for game 3 and boy did the “Great Dane” deliver.  Ehlers sniped a beauty on the Jets PP in the second period to get them back into the game at that time but saved his best for last.  After a miracle comeback in the back half on the 3rd period (tribute to Dennis Beyak) Ehlers converted a masterful face off win by Paul Stastny by sniping the OT winner past Mike Smith.  The Winnipeg Jets are a different team with #27 in the lineup.  He is their best winger and he proved it again.     

5. Jets:  Poll Question:  Should Chevy cut a deal with Seattle GM Ron Francis so the Jets don’t lose a player off their roster in the expansion draft?  In the 2017 Vegas expansion draft the Jets and Vegas cut a deal where the Golden Knights would select Chris Thorburn’s expiring contract.  In the deal they flip-flopped 1st rounders with Winnipeg acquiring the 24th pick (from Vegas, from Columbus) in the 2017 NHL Draft in exchange for the 13th pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, and the Jets third-round selection in 2019.  

Will Chevy or should Chevy cut a deal with Seattle GM Ron Francis so the Jets don't lose a player in the expansion draft?

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6. NHL:  It is quite obvious that the NHL has reverted back to it’s old ways and playoff hockey will be officiated differently than regular season hockey.  Now the trick is for GMs to find that balance and build their teams accordingly.  I really like the way this Jets team is constructed right now.  They can play the game any way you want.  Also, it doesn’t hurt that they get Vezina Trophy caliber goaltending. 

7. Jets:  I said this last week and so far the officials are letting them play for the most part.

UPDATE: 

Game 4 had plenty of powerplays for both sides but the officials let the teams decide it in overtime.  There was a couple of calls but the were too obvious to ignore.  One was a “puck over glass”. 

Special teams are huge come playoff time.  The Jets PK looks to be solid but defending against the Oilers PP is a tall order and the best defence against this is to stay out of the penalty box.  I have to admit I’m concerned about the Jets PP and the way it has stagnated down the stretch.  Hopefully the officials don’t turn this into a special teams battle and we see lots of 5 on 5 hockey.   

8. Jets:  I’m glad to see Andrew Copp back on his regular line with Adam Lowry and Mason Appleton although I’m okay with him moving up the lineup in a pinch.  I thought he was excellent in game 2 versus the Oilers.  He was very creative and dangerous offensively with nothing to show for it in regulation time but he made a great zone entry and set up Paul Stastny’s OT winner.  I also thought he created some good chances in game 3 but his best play was a back check on Leon Draisaitl in overtime.

UPDATE:

The line of Adam Lowry, Andrew Copp, and Mason Appleton drew the assignment of going head to head with the McDavid line for most of the night and they did an excellent job of slowing them down.  It is impossible to stop them but they made life hard on the Oiler’s top line and even scored against them.        

9. Jets:  This …. so far, so good. 

I believe this Winnipeg team is better equipped to beat the McDavid Oilers than Jets 1.0 were to beat the Gretzky Oilers.  Those Gretzky teams were definitely better than our Jets BUT in spite of Winnipeg’s record against them this season I don’t think this Oilers team is better than our Jets.  Of course the Jets will need to be at their best and the coaches will need to implement a winning game plan but I think we can win this series.  

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED 

Hockey is, always has been, and always be a team game. 

10. Jets:  Logan Stanley does so many little things well but the thing that stands out for me is how he uses his size and makes simple plays because of his strength and reach that smaller defencemen like Josh Morrissey struggle with.  Morrissey is playing very well but it seems he has to work twice as hard to accomplish some of the same basic plays.  Scouts always say “you can’t teach size”.

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11. JetsI’ve been very hard on Tucker Poolman but since he has been moved to the third pairing with Logan Stanley he has played very well and they look comfortable playing together.  Poolman and Stanley have been more than solid in the first three games of this series. 

12. NHL:  Key dates.

  • May 15 – Playoffs begin
  • July 15 – The latest the Stanley Cup can be awarded
  • July 17 – Expansion draft protection lists tentatively due
  • July 21 – Expansion draft
  • July 23-24 – 2021 NHL Entry Draft
  • July 28 – Free agency opens

13. Jets:  Is Paul Maurice’s or Kevin Cheveldayoff’s job in jeopardy?

UPDATE:

I think the answer to the poll question is moot now.  Nobody is going anywhere.

After being swept in the second round by Montreal should heads roll?

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14. Jets:  Lost in the euphoria of the Jets amazing comeback win in game 3 was Connor Hellebuyck shutting the door after Edmonton’s 4th goal.  Helle gave his team 26:04 of shutout hockey to get the job done. 

UPDATE:

Connor Hellebuyck was once again brilliant in game 4 and was key in leading his team to the 4-game sweep.   

15. Jets:  Playoff Schedule

1. Wednesday May 19 at Edmonton 8:00 PM (W 4-1)

2. Friday  May 21 at Edmonton 8:00 PM (W 1-0 OT)

3. Sunday May 23  vs Edmonton 6:30 PM (W 5-4 OT)

4. Monday May 24 vs Edmonton 8:45 PM (W 4-3 3OT)

5. Wednesday May 26 at Edmonton TBD  (if necessary)

6. Friday May 28 vs Edmonton TBD  (if necessary)

7. Sunday May 30 at Edmonton TBD  (if necessary)

16. Jets:  Derek Forbort is an enigma wrapped in a riddle for me.  I’ve never seen a defenceman do so many good things in a game and also make so many turnovers and mistakes in a game.  Right now he might be the Jets weakest link on the blueline.  I’m not sure I agree but I can understand why Paul Maurice keeps running him out there.  He battles and he competes but I think he is a victim of too much ice-time.  He is probably better suited in the 3rd pairing but the problem is the Winnipeg Jets have an over-abundance of middle to bottom pair defenceman.  This is more of an observation than a criticism because this group is doing it’s best and on most nights gives this team a chance to win.  Better times are coming with Ville Heinola and Dylan Samberg waiting in the wings.    

17. Jets:  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.

Playoff rankings:  Canadian Division

  • PP: 1st at 30.00% 
  • PK: 3rd at 81.80  
  • FO: 1st at 54.60

18. Jets:  Overall there is no direct correlation in faceoff wins dictating winning or losing a hockey game but in a series or an individual game it can be huge.  Call me crazy but I would prefer to start the play with the puck and a perfect example was overtime in game 3 when Paul Stastny won the draw clean and Nik Ehlers sniped the game-winner.        

19. Goaltending:

Playoff stats:

  • Conner Hellebuyck:  4-0-0 … 1.60 GAA … .950 SV% 
  • Laurent Brossoit:  0-0-0 … 0.00 GAA … .000 SV%

20. NHL:  Sportsnet’s Cassie Campbell’s blatant homerism when it comes to the Edmonton Oilers is embarrassing and disgraceful.  GET HER OFF NATIONAL BROADCASTS IMMEDIATLY. 

UPDATE:

I thought Cassie did a pretty good job of holding back the tears.  On a positive note it was nice to see Jennifer Botterill with that coy smile on her face.

21. Jets:  I guess there is a magic switch after all and Paul Maurice flipped it.   

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In memory of my friend Darryl Manchulenko.

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Thanks, Mitch
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Comments

  1. Ron Lyman says

    Your analysis of Forbort is very kind. His deficiencies outweigh the attributes by far. He is slow and a pylon on the left side when put out against the likes of McDavid. Mc D exploited him big time. I don’t understand why the coach kept going to that matchup. He can’t pass to save his soul and is a turnover machine. He needs the pressbox. Use Benn or Heinola in his place.

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      I agree … I’ve been saying that for months … even before everyone else finally caught on …. I just know it won’t change and I understand why ….. he is very slow and gets exposed against top speed but he is still better than Bitetto LOL

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