Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Nov. 28

Things about the Winnipeg Jets and the NHL that crossed my mind —

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

If you are a die-hard Winnipeg Jets fan, I suggest you look away.  This isn’t going to be pretty.  

1.  The Winnipeg Jets lost the final three games of their five-game road trip (going 0-5-0) but finished the week with a 3-0 win over Nashville.  They finished the week with 1-3-0 record and are 10-12-2 for the season.

It was nice that the Winnipeg Jets snapped their 5-game losing streak with a 3-0 win over Nashville but this game wasn’t much better than any of the five games on their last road trip.  They gave up far too many chances and were lucky that Connor Hellebuyck has a short memory.  He was excellent versus the Preds. Once again, the Jets were held to one goal and the power-play is a joke. Something needs to change.  If the power-play is Jamie Compon’s baby, then he better figure it out real quick before he ends up standing beside Pascal Vincent on the Moose bench.  The only constant left on this horrible Jets PP is Big Buff. Maybe it’s time to try running the PP through somebody else.

2.  I must admit I finally hit my breaking point during Friday night’s 5-1 loss versus the Nashville Predators.  I wasn’t thrilled with the Jets’ play in the second and third periods but it was a comment by TSN’s play-by-play voice Dennis Beyak that put me over the edge.  He commented on how the Jets must be fatigued.  I’m so sick of hearing about travel, fatigue, and injuries.  These are men playing a game.  Most of these players have gone through much tougher grinds in the minors or playing in junior.  It’s their job.  Fifteen to twenty minutes a night and you’re tired?  (except for Buff’s 28 mins).  I wish everybody would STOP making excuses for these guys.  I can think of a hundred jobs more tiring than being a professional hockey player.  The funny thing is you never hear the players complain.

3.  As much as it pains me to say this, Dustin Byfuglien is currently playing some of his worst hockey in the “Paul Maurice” era.  He looks like the out of control Buff under Claude Noel.  I’m sure this will pass.

4.  I don’t care how long his contract is, I don’t care how much money he makes, Mark Stuart’s days as a bottom end defenceman in the NHL are DONE!  I would rather see Melchiori or Kichton, anybody but Stuart AND NO … not Brian Strait.   

5.  The TSN announcers joyfully announce that Kyle Connor is back in the line-up versus Nashville and Alex Burmistrov is a healthy scratch.  First off, Connor is a healthy scratch even when he is dressed.  He has NO BUSINESS wearing an NHL jersey right now.  As for Alex Burmistrov?  He hasn’t been very good this season. It is a given that he’s never going to be the top six scoring forward that the Atlanta Thrashers thought he was going to be.  At best, he’s a fourth line center that can kill penalties and not be a defensive liability.  Even with all his warts, he is a helluva lot more useful in the Jets line-up than Kyle Connor and isn’t that a sad statement.  This probably won’t be true in the not too distant future but it is now.  Send Connor to the Manitoba Moose immediately and let him chase his tail there.  There are probably a couple of forwards playing on the Moose that would impact a game more than Kyle Connor right now.  Why are the Jets’ brain trust being so stubborn on this point?  Is their draft and develop mantra just a bunch of lip service when it makes a convenient soundbite?

6.  On a positive note, it looks like Bryan Little should be returning to the Jets lineup soon.  He’s not the league’s greatest face-off man but he is the Jets’ even though he’s just around the 50% mark for his career.          

7.  The Winnipeg Jets have been passing up way too many shots from quality areas and when they do shoot the puck they’re missing the net an awful lot.  The Jets shooting is atrocious.    

8.  Why is Chris Thorburn still on the Winnipeg Jets roster?  Nobody fights anymore, it’s all scrums and face washes.  It’s actually quite embarrassing.  As much as the younger crowd abhors fighting, I feel the same way about the face washes and grabbing guys around the neck from behind in those scrums.  It’s so gutless.  The best deterrent to stop this crap is the three famous words from the referee … “let em go”.  This will eliminate the pretenders.                 

9.  I think it’s safe to say that Connor Hellebuyck officially “stole” a game for the Winnipeg Jets yesterday.  That makes back-to-back home-ice shutouts for Helle. Well done Connor, well done!               

10.  I really love the way Josh Morrissey has played this year.  I’m starting to wonder who was insulating who?      


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11.  How STUpid is a hockey player when he gets THREE free shots at an opposing player but then the official has finally had enough and calls a penalty after the FOURTH shot?  THEN, that penalty results in the game-winning goal. Extremely STUpid!     

12.  When the team is losing, little things really annoy me and right now Paul Maurice is grating on my last nerve.  He’s a smart guy and he’s real smooth in his press conferences but being media savvy doesn’t make him a great coach.  What coach in his right mind would have Chris Thorburn and the fourth line on the ice with TWO minutes left in the third period and down 2-1 on the scoreboard? There is no answer and there is nothing that Mr. Smooth Talker could possibly say to justify this act of terrorism.  It was beyond STUPID!           

13.  ALL teams get injuries so I don’t buy into that as an excuse for losing.  It’s an opportunity for someone else (eg. Nic Petan) to shine.  It’s up to the coaching staff to adjust their game plan based on their current line-up and put players in a position to succeed.  It’s true that not all players can score but it doesn’t take any special skill to play defence and work hard.  At times, I think the Winnipeg Jets coaching staff falls short in this department.         

14.  Question for Kevin Cheveldayoff:  Is playing Kyle Connor 3-4 minutes on the fourth line the definition of “draft and develop”?  I mean it worked so well for Nic Petan last year, right?     

15.  I wonder if the Jets’ brass have the stones to try Nikolaj “don’t call me Nik” Ehlers as the point-man on the power-play.  He is their most creative player and he’s not afraid to carry the puck into the offensive zone.  After six years, TRY SOMETHING!  I think a left-handed shot could really set-up Patrik Laine’s one-timer.

16.  As underwhelming as the Jets goaltending has been at times this season, I’m starting to wonder if it really matters who they have in goal?  At times, I don’t think Carey Price or the reincarnation of Georges Vezina could help this team. The defensive lapses, breakdowns, and poor team defence the Jets exhibit would impact even the greatest goaltenders.   

17.  BTW, thanks for calling up Chase De Leo and NOT dressing him.  What was the point?    

18.  The numbers:

Connor Hellebuyck:  GAA – 2.57 … SV% – .915 … 2 shutouts

Michael Hutchinson:  GAA – 3.26 … SV% – .896 … 1 shutout 

19.  The Jets scored 6 goals on their 5 game road trip AND they gave up 20! When things are going their way and they’re scoring a few goals, they are a pretty exciting team but when they aren’t scoring you get a 0-5-0 road trip.  It must be tough on a young goaltender when he knows he has to be almost perfect every night for his team to win.  A perfect example was yesterday’s game versus Nashville.              

20.  Special Teams:

PP:  22nd at 14.6% …. down from 21st at 14.7% last week.  It’s a good thing the Winnipeg Jets brought in Jamie Compon to fix their ailing power-play.  How many assistant coaches have to take the blame for this fiasco?  Is it the personnel or is it the game plan? 

PK:  25th at 75.9% …. down from 19th at 81.3% last week.  That’s a big drop in one week.  A lot of this is because the Jets don’t win very many faceoffs and are under pressure almost immediately when killing penalties.  I just gave the PK an excuse and it works the same for the PP.  A few faceoff wins here and there can make a difference.

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Thanks, Mitch 

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  1. patti dawn swansson says

    Georges Vezina…not George.
    So far, the only people I’ve heard repeatedly bellyache about the Jets schedule are news scavengers and Paul Maurice, who seems to have the local media hoodwinked into believing he’s something other than a .500 coach.
    Kyle Connor might turn out to be the Jets scouts’ first major mistake. I say might, because Mark Scheifele didn’t look much better in his first whirl.

  2. Mitch Kasprick says

    I think Connor will be fine … BUT I can’t for the life of me understand why he was fast-tracked to the NHL especially with “hat-trick Laine’s” or as you would call him “Puck Finn’s” arrival to take the pressure off of him?

    • patti dawn swansson says

      I hope he’ll be okay. At some point the Jets scouts will make a first-round pick, though. It happens to all teams. As it is, I agree with your “fast tracked” assessment. They sent Scheifele and Ehlers back to junior for growth, why not Connor to the A for growth?

      • Mitch Kasprick says

        good question and especially when Scheifele and Ehlers were thought to be better prospects. Connor had a few goals during the pre-season but it wasn’t like he was “lights out” … not like Hannu Jarvenpaa LOL … the purveyors of d & d overstepped on this one big time.

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