Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Jan. 1

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.  I would like to wish all of our loyal WHT readers and all Winnipeg Jets’ fans a very HAPPY NEW YEAR!  I would also like to thank the Winnipeg Jets for exiting 2017 in style by humbling the Edmonton Oilers in their barn with a 5-0 win.  This win gives the home team a 3-0 season series sweep and is extra special to us “old guys” that watched the Edmonton Oilers dominate the NHL Winnipeg Jets 1.0.  It’s a small victory but we’ll take it.      

2.  The Winnipeg Jets played three games last week and went 3-0-0 and have improved their record to a solid 23-11-6 for the season.  Pretty impressive considering they have been without Toby and Buff for an extended period and this week they have lost Mark Scheifele and Brandon Tanev to injury for a few weeks.  The organisation’s depth will be tested but it looks like so far, so good. 

3 The 2018 WJC is well underway and the elimination games start tomorrow.  Team Canada has looked solid but unspectacular.  Now in saying this, I think they have as good a chance at winning the Gold Medal as anyone.  Canada plays Switzerland on Tuesday in the quarter-finals.  Let the games begin.

4.  The Manitoba Moose had their impressive sixteen game points streak ended on Saturday afternoon with a 3-2 loss to the San Jose Barracuda.  The Moose rebounded on Sunday by defeating the Barracuda 5-2.  Ironically, the Barracuda were the last team to defeat the Moose in regulation time, a 4-1 loss on Nov. 12 in San Jose.  The Manitoba Moose are now sporting an overall record of 24-6-1-2 for the season and still have the best record in the AHL.  

5.  I don’t care that it’s not best-on-best but I love the Spengler Cup and I love it even better when CANADA WINS!  Congrats to Team Canada on their 3-0 win in the final versus Switzerland on Sunday.  It was their third Spengler Cup championship in a row and their fifteenth overall.

6.  Is it just me or does Connor Hellebuyck look very quiet in the net and I don’t mean quiet vocally but quiet in his demeanour and his movement? 

UPDATE:

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck has been named the NHL’s “First Star of the Week” for the week ending Dec. 31/17.

7.  Unless you live under a rock, I’m sure by now you’ve heard that Mark Scheifele will be out of the Jets lineup for 6-8 weeks with a UBI.  I guess the silver lining (extremely small silver lining) is there will be some CBA negotiated time off (five-day bye week) plus the “All-Star” break so he won’t quite miss as many games as he would in a regular 6-8 week period.  I told you it was a small silver lining.      

8.  Pet peeve:  So-called hockey experts that crap all over Tyler Myers and/or Dmitry Kulikov.  Please go away.

9.  Buff watch:  It looks like Dustin Byfuglien is getting closer to rejoining the Winnipeg Jets lineup (now listed day-to-day).  We can expect to see him end his goal drought and score his first goal of the season soon after … right? 

10.  This image is priceless.  The penalty box at the Spengler Cup has airline seats and a flight attendant offering the offenders a beverage and a towel AND check out the backdrop.  Only in Switzerland.  I love it. 

  

11.  After two and one-half games, Blake Wheeler looks quite comfortable playing at center.  The way he dishes the puck and creates, he plays more like a center than a winger anyway.

12. Life after Scheif:  Shawn Matthias gets into the lineup for the first time in weeks and promptly opens the scoring against the Islanders on Friday night.  In this same game, Jets forward Brandon Tanev gets injured and looks to be out for a while.  Next game, Marko Dano is inserted into the lineup after being in the “popcorn brigade” for thirty games and opens the scoring versus Edmonton on Sunday night.  Injuries aside, the Jets seem to be leading a charmed life right now and I’m not going to try to analyse it.  I prefer to just sit back and enjoy it.           

13.  The Jets are scary to watch when they have their forechecking game in high gear.  The pressure is relentless and causes multiple turnovers.  Just ask the Edmonton Oilers defencemen after Sunday nights game. 

14.  Winnipeg Jets 2017 first round draft pick, Kristian Vesalainen has looked okay so far in the 2018 WJC.  So far, he has a goal and a couple of helpers in four games.  He played very well versus Team Canada and was named “Player of the Game” although he never hit the score sheet.     

15.  Question for Kevin Cheveldayoff:  Since Mark Scheifele will be out for 6-8 weeks, are you looking to acquire a centerman via trade or are you content to stay within the organisation?

Note:  The Jets have called up Jack Roslovic from the Manitoba Moose but that doesn’t mean we will see him play.  Tucker Poolman was up with the big club forever but didn’t get into the lineup until Toby Enstrom and Dustin Byfuglien got injured.  Ben Chiarot was pencilled in first then Tucker Poolman.     

16.  Sometimes I’m not enamoured with Paul Maurice’s coaching and decision-making, yadda yadda yadda BUT on Sunday night versus the Edmonton Oilers, I think that was one of the best games I’ve seen the Winnipeg Jets play this season.  They looked like an extremely well-coached team and I must give credit where credit is due.  PoMo had his troops ready.  

17.  Watching Mathieu Perreault playing with Bryan Little and Nik Ehlers makes me wonder what the hell he was doing on the fourth line?  He is too good to be playing fourth line minutes and with injuries etc, I knew it wasn’t going to last forever but it still is a head-shaker for me.  (see #17)        

18.  Not all shots are created equal:  The Winnipeg Jets outshot the Edmonton Oilers 38-35 on Sunday night but did anybody feel uncomfortable watching that game based on the scoring chances by the Oilers?  Helle had a lot to do with that but the Jets kept most of the shots to the outside and did a terrific job in front of their net.  The shots on goal made the game look close but it wasn’t really close at all.  The Winnipeg Jets made the Oilers look slow. 

19. Goaltending:

  • Conner Hellebuyck:  21-4-5 … 2.37 GAA … .923 SV%  … Helle got his third shutout of the season by blanking the Oilers on Sunday.  It was a solid workmanlike effort.        
  • Steve Mason:  2-6-1 … 3.47 GAA … .899 SV%

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

  • PP:  4th at 24.10% … down from 25.10% last week.    
  • PK:  19th at 80.70% … up from 20th at 79.70% last week.  

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 

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