Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Feb. 5

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.


Adam Lowry (day to day) and Brandon Tanev (week to week) have been placed on the IR.  Matt Hendricks (day to day) is also out and should be back before Lowry.  The Jets have called up Nic Petan and Brendan Lemieux to fill the vacant roster spots. 

1.  The Winnipeg Jets started their 10-game homestand with two wins and a controversial OT loss last week.  Their overall record is now 31-13-9 for the season and they are in a dogfight with Nashville for first place in the Central Division.     

2.  I wonder what got into Ben Chiarot last week?  Chiarot was actually active in the offensive zone and made a bunch of nice offensive moves that created some very good scoring chances.  He moved the puck well and looked very confident.  I was very impressed and pleasantly surprised.     

3.  The Manitoba Moose played two games on the road last week and won both.  It looks like they are getting used to life without Jack Roslovic.  They now have an overall record of 31-10-3-2.  They are still in first place in the AHL’s Central Division and have the best record in the Western Conference.    

4.  There was more controversy again last week as it pertained to “goaltender interference” and one instance hit close to home as Vegas Knights’ forward James Neal broke his stick across Connor Hellebuyck’s facemask seconds before a Knights goal.  To be honest, the NHL and the official’s review got it right except for the fact that they missed THE SLASH!  Obviously, the officials saw the slash during their video review BUT they can’t call a penalty after the fact.  I thought the purpose of the video challenge and the review was to get the call right.  The NHL has all the tools at their disposal but they insist on handcuffing their referees.  How is it possible to make the correct call BUT still get it wrong?  In my humble opinion, the whole video replay, the way it is used, and what the referees CAN and CAN’T call needs to be completely revamped.  

5.  This is not going to be a very popular thought and I know a lot of Winnipeg Jets fans will think it’s blasphemy but as much as I love the progression and growth of Kyle Connor and Jack Roslovic I do not think the Jets can or will go on any type of playoff run with them in a top six or even top nine role.  Every mistake is magnified ten times in the playoffs and these two still struggle quite a bit in their own end.  They are not alone either.  Nikolaj Ehlers and Patrik Laine will need to step up their game as will everybody else.  The Jets are playing well but regular season success means diddly squat come playoff time.  I hope I’m wrong but this is one of the reasons I think Kevin Cheveldayoff will be adding a couple of pieces at the NHL trade deadline.     

6.  The Manitoba Moose had a little hiccup a couple of weeks ago but seem to be back to their winning ways.  They had to adjust to losing Kyle Connor to the big club earlier in the season and then recently losing Jack Roslovic to the Jets but Nic Petan and Mason Appleton have risen to the challenge and have taken over the offensive responsibilities along with a pretty good supporting cast.  

7.  FYI:  The NHL trade deadline comes a little bit earlier this year.  The deadline is Monday, Feb. 26, at 2:00 pm Manitoba time.  I think the Jets  might be active participants.  I can hardly wait.

8.  I don’t think I have mentioned this for some time but how cool is it that Winnipeg has TWO pro hockey teams?  The day that Jets 1.0 left for the desert was one of the darkest days in Winnipeg’s long and glorious hockey history but look at us now!   

9.   Pet Peeve:  Fans that don’t like Dmitry Kulikov because of the way he played while he was in Buffalo.  WTF does that have to do with his play now?  Kulikov has been very good for the most part this season and has turned out to be a very good UFA signing.  There are a lot of idiots out there and especially on Twitter that need to bitch and complain about something.  Is knocking Dmitry Kulikov the best narrative you can come up with?      

10.  I find it very interesting that when Dustin Byfuglien makes a mistake or doesn’t play very well that everybody is quick to criticize him BUT when he plays well it’s just expected.  I guess this is a classic case of taking a player for granted and I can’t do that.  Big Buff has been excellent and as good as Jacob Trouba and Josh Morrissey have been, it still takes the whole group of defencemen to make it work.  In my opinion, Buff is still the “alpha dog” and as he goes, the Winnipeg Jets go.

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11.  Does anybody remember what all that pissing and moaning about Michael Hutchinson playing in the AHL All-Star Game was all about?  Such drama!  

12. Life after Scheif:  The Jets are 11-2-3 since Mark Scheifele’s injury (I counted the Oilers game).  Mark Scheifele returned to practice on Thursday with the yellow “non-contact’ jersey on and shockingly was a full-contact participant on Friday!  It looks like Scheif should be returning to action soon.  I’m guessing sometime next week.  

13.  I take a ton of shots at Gary Bettman and most of the time they are deserved (in my opinion).  I can’t help but wonder what goes through his head when he and his cronies get together and talk about player discipline?  These guys have a hard time suspending guys for major violations but have no problem suspending Jonathon Quick for not going to the NHL All-Star game.  REALY GARY REALLY???????  This is a league that has ZERO tolerance for “puck over glass” and the referees and linesman will often huddle up and confer to make sure they get the call right BUT BUT BUT YET four men in stripes will allow a player to break his stick across a goaltenders mask and nobody sees that.  Talk about misguided priorities.         

14.  Blake Wheeler has been a beast this season and he is actually getting a little love from the national media and even some MVP talk BUT for me, the MVP of this Winnipeg Jets team is Connor Hellebuyck.  He has been absolutely outstanding and I don’t want to hear this crazy talk that goaltenders have their own award.  An MVP is an MVP no matter what position they play and Helle is my MVP.      

15.  Question for Kevin Cheveldayoff:  Have you talked to the league about the James Neal slash to Connor Hellebuyck’s head?  I couldn’t help but notice that on Sunday the NHL suspended Nashville Predator’s forward Filip Forsberg THREE games for a ticky-tacky interference play that wasn’t called a penalty during that game.  I’m not saying a suspension but maybe a phone call.  Just let him know the league saw it and is aware.  James Neal gets away with a lot of crap and maybe he should be held accountable as well.  I’m a big believer in the squeaky wheel gets the grease.    

16.  The Vegas Golden Knights have been a wonderful story and they are playing well but would anybody be surprised if they completely fell off the map next season?  I wouldn’t.  

17.  Funny how a lot of guys (and gals) come down with the flu and phone in sick to their employers on NHL trade deadline day.  My solution is that I think that NHL trade deadline day should be a stat holiday in Canada.  (see #7)  

18.  I have no doubt that in the not too distant future Winnipeg Jets fans will be watching a line with Jack Roslovic and Kyle Connor on it.  I wonder who would be the third player on that line?        

19. Goaltending:

  • Conner Hellebuyck:  27-6-8 … 2.30 GAA … .925 SV% …. Helle was excellent versus Colorado on Saturday night and picked up his FIFTH shutout of the season.            
  • 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:  2nd at 24.60% … down from 24.70% last week.    
  • PK:  10th at 82.30% … up from 12th at 82.20% last week.  

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  1. Shawn Essery says

    #5. I personally have no issue with the kids learning what it takes in the playoffs. Would be worried a “big splash” would disrupt the culture in the room.
    #9. It’s awesome when the Jets can send 6 NHL caliber d-men out (when healthy). When Poolman develops more, that will be 7. Kuli has been better than expected by many, and very solid all year. More evidence that being slotted in the correct spot in the line-up helps everyone succeed.

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      the good thing is that the kids still have 30 games to work on being complete players … Rome wasn’t built in a day but I do believe that the vets on this team have done enough watching this team go through growing pains … Chevy owes it to these guys to put the best line-up on the ice possible AND if the brain trust thinks the kids are ready I’m sure most fans would be okay with that.

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