Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Feb. 12

Odds and Ends on the Winnipeg Jets and the NHL –

Some random facts and a few thoughts about the Winnipeg Jets, the Manitoba Moose, the National Hockey League, and some information about the Men’s and Women’s Olympic Hockey Tournament.  

Current Local Time in PyeongChang, South Korea

PyeongChang local time is fifteen hours ahead of Manitoba local time.


1.  The Winnipeg Jets continued their 10-game homestand with a win and TWO losses last week.  The Jets lost back-to-back home games for the first time this season.  Their overall record is now 32-15-9 for the season and they are in a dogfight with Nashville for first place and St. Louis for second place in the Central Division.    

2.  The Manitoba Moose played four more games on the road last week and went 1-1-1-1.  This concluded their long 9-game road trip where they went 6-1-1-1.  Not bad considering half their team was called up by the Jets.  They now have an overall record of 32-11-4-3.  They are still in first place in the AHL’s Central Division and have the best record in the Western Conference.  

3.  Olympic Hockey Schedules: 

Men’s hockey  ? ? here   

Women’s hockey  ? ? here

The Canadian women won their opener vs Russia 5-0 on Sunday in preliminary round action.

4 Men’s Olympic Hockey Pools:

Group A:  Canada (roster) … Czech Republic … South Korea … Switzerland

Group B:  Russia … Slovakia … Slovenia … United States

Group C:  Finland … Germany … Norway … Sweden 

Format: 

The top four teams from the three pools will automatically qualify for the quarter-finals – the group winners and the second-ranked team with the best record.  The remaining eight teams play in four qualification playoff games with the winners joining the first four teams in the quarter-finals.  All games after this will be elimination games.    

5.  FYI:  Canada, Russia, Sweden, Finland, United States, Czech Republic, Switzerland, and Slovakia all qualified because they were the top eight teams in the IIHF World Ranking in 2015.  South Korea qualified as the host team.   Germany, Norway, and Slovenia qualified from pre-Olympic qualification tournaments.

6.  Women’s Olympic Hockey Pools:

Pool A:  USA (1) … Canada (roster) (2) … Finland (3) … Russia (4)

Pool B: Sweden (5) … Switzerland (6) … Japan (7) … Korea (8) 

How is it possible for Canada and the United States to be in the same pool in the preliminary round of the women’s Olympic hockey tournament you ask?  The four teams from Group A and the top two teams from Group B will advance to the final round with the top two teams of Group A set for the semi-finals.

7.  FYI:  Because of the lack of parity in the women’s game, the groups and the format is different from the men’s tournament.  The top five teams automatically qualify based on their 2016 IIHF Women’s World Ranking.  The top four go into Pool A and the fifth-ranked team goes into Pool B with two qualifiers from qualification tournaments along with the host team.  In this format, the bottom teams like Korea don’t play teams like Canada or the USA.  Could you imagine the carnage if Korea played the USA or Canada?    

8.  NHL Trade Deadline:

9.  Pet Peeve:  Fans that still hold on to this romantic attachment to ex-Manitoba Moose players like Alex Burrows.  Fans were actually phoning into the call-in shows wanting Chevy to trade for him at the NHL Trade Deadline.  I wanted to puke.  One of the reasons I could never get into the Moose was their affiliation with the Vancouver Canucks.  I don’t think Chevy would have ever considered trading for Burrows but his idiocy the other night should put a rest to the “trade for Burrows” phone calls.  The NHL finally got one right when they suspended Alex Burrows 10-games for kneeing Taylor Hall in the head.  What a putz!         

10.  Olympic Athletes From Russia?  OAR?  Really?  Does anybody remember or care about the sanctions, suspensions, etc, etc, etc revolving around the Soviet Union, Russia, the Unified Team, USSR, or whatever their name du jour is?  Shenanigans are expected from them.  It’s part of the mystique of the Olympics.  It wouldn’t be an Olympics if one of the Eastern Bloc countries weren’t trying to pull a fast one!  Let’s just call them what they are …. Russia! 

11.  For you youngins out there that have been spoiled by watching NHL players and pros from the best leagues in the world participating in the Olympic hockey, this year’s tournament might be a bit of a disappointment.  For us old-timers, it will still be better than the old tournaments where the USSR send professional teams under the guise of being amateurs to beat the crap out of the rest of the world.  At least now, Canada and the other countries were able to pick the best players that weren’t in the NHL!  That’s my silver-lining and I’m sticking to it.     

12. Life after Scheif:  The Mark Scheifele watch is finally over.  Scheif returned to the lineup on Friday night versus the St. Louis Blues and they promptly lost and then they lost again on Sunday afternoon against the Rangers.  I know, I know, it makes no sense.  

13.  It seems like every time I give a Jets player some props on Twitter or in my “Random Thoughts”, they go out the next game and crap the bed.  Buff’s done it, Toby’s done it, Myer’s has done it, and my latest was Helle.  On Tuesday, versus the Coyotes he let in a couple of stinkers but he did redeem himself with a couple of good saves late in the third preserving a sloppy 4-3 victory.  

14.  I wonder if Joel Armia needs to shower after games.  I’m sure he does but I’m not seeing him work up much of a sweat.  His work ethic and his compete-level have been lacking lately.  He has slick hands but seems to have only one gear.  There are lots to like about his game BUT there is also a lot to be concerned about.  I think Armia is ok but very overrated, but that’s me.  He’s not good enough and doesn’t contribute enough on the scoreboard to coast around the ice.  He needs to start hustling again.  Right now, I’m not a fan of his game.  He’s not alone either.  As the games are getting heavier I’m seeing more disappearing acts.      

15.  Question for Kevin Cheveldayoff:  Do you think you have enough depth at center to go on a long playoff run?  The Jets bottom six looks like crap with Lowry out.  Copp is better on the wing than he is at a center and is only a stop-gap measure in my opinion.          

16.  My Top Trade Targets:        

  • Niklas Hjalmarsson … UFA in 2019-20 … $4,100,000 AAV … can play anywhere in the top 6 …  Modified NTC (10-team no-trade list)
  • Mike Hoffman … UFA in 2020-21 … $5,187,500 AAV … top six winger
  • Oliver Ekman-Larsson … UFA in 2019-20 … $5,500,000 AAV … top 4 … needs a change of scenery as well
  • Derek Brassard … UFA in 2019-20 … $5,000,000 AAV … 3rd line center … Modified NTC (8-team no-trade list)

I’m not particularly concerned about players with term and salary cap implications because that’s Chevy’s problem.  Besides, that’s what the off-season is for.  Players like OEL, Hjalmarsson or Hoffman would be coveted by quite a few NHL teams and would not be hard to move.  It sure would be nice to have a Hjalmarsson or OEL in the queue if Jacob Trouba decides he wants out.  Chevy might not have to demand a comparable defenceman back in trade talks then.  BTW, Niklas Hjalmarsson has asked the Coyotes to be traded.   

17.  Good luck to Manitoba hockey players Jocelyne Larocque (St. Anne), Brigette Lacquette (Mallard), Bailey Bram (St. Anne), Chay Genoway (Morden), and Quinton Howden (Oakbank) in their quest for GOLD in South Korea!

18.  I don’t like the way some Jets forwards and even some of their defencemen are jumping the zone on breakouts before their teammates have control of the puck and especially the way this team turns the puck over inches inside our blueline.  Tyler Myers and Bryan Little did it on Nik Ehlers turnover on the Rangers first goal and Andrew Copp did it on the Rangers winning goal.  Gotta clean that up and sooner than later!        

19. Goaltending:

  • Conner Hellebuyck:  28-8-8 … 2.35 GAA … .923 SV%             
  • Steve Mason:  3-6-1 … 3.52 GAA … .897 SV% … (currently on IR)

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

  • PP:  4th at 23.60% … down from 2nd at 24.60% last week.    
  • PK:  7th at 82.70% … up from 10th at 82.30% last week.  

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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 

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Comments

  1. Don. The mayor says

    #10. When we boycotted Russia, a couple my friends lost their careers. Well at least they ended. Nice way to finish, eh?
    #13. Don’t say or give props…… ever!
    #16. Paying big price for a player is not Chevy. We have players in the system , that are our future. I know the window is short to win,but to get any of those guys, all the teams are wanting too much. I can’t see them taking a draft pick or two and some 3rd liners.

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      I agree but what you we consider a big price? Petan, Comrie, Armia, etc???? We can’t keep them all … each NHL team can have 50 players under contract and we have to sign Vesalainen, Stanley, and a couple more young guys yet.

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