Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Jan. 4

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.

Happy New Year 

1. NHL:  As of today all 31 teams will have officially opened training camp and it looks like there will really be NHL hockey starting on Jan. 13.  There will be no pre-season games and a short season of 56 games with the intent of getting the 2021-22 season back on track in its regular timeline.   

2. NHL:  The NHL and the provinces came to an agreement to let the Canadian-based teams play in their home rinks this season and now that the Covid-19 vaccine rollout has started I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some fans in Canadian rinks before the end of the season.  This hasn’t been discussed, this is just me speculating.

 3. Jets:  The three Winnipeg Jets prospects playing at the U20 WHC have looked pretty good in my opinion.  Ville Heinola is very poised and efficient at this level, and Cole Perfetti looks like he could be a second-line center in a couple of years.  Perfetti looks like he will be a good playmaker with a pass-first mentality.  Henri Nikkanen, the big left-winger has shown off his skating ability.  He was a projected first-rounder but injuries saw his stock plummet all the way down to the fourth round.  The prevailing opinion after the draft was the Winnipeg Jets got away with highway robbery getting him in the fourth round.  Time will tell.

4. Jets:  I think under-sized Ville Heinola has a very good chance to be a regular in the Winnipeg Jets lineup this season.  I love everything about his game but his size concerns me.  I think he needs a partner with some size to compliment his game much like the pairing of Dustin Byfuglien and Toby Enstrom.   

5. Jets:  Jack Roslovic has officially asked to be traded.  Roslovic thinks he is a top 6 forward there is nothing wrong with that, as long as he and his agent understand that Chevy won’t trade him unless he gets top 6 value in return and I would be shocked if that happened  

6. Jets:  I don’t why I continually set myself up for disappointment but I get sucked in every single time.  I’m talking about Chevy’s presser last week where he announced he will have a couple of players invited to training camp on PTOs.  I was hoping for a couple of local boys like Travis Hamonic and/or Madison Bowey might be on Chevy’s radar but when the training camp roster came out on Friday there was no such luck.  Two-time Stanley Cup winner Trevor Lewis was the most notable invite but the 33-year-old ex-LA King will be hard-pressed to make this team.   

7. NHL:  The rules for NHL rosters for the 2021 season are the same except for the addition of the taxi squad.  The NHL rosters will stay at a maximum of 23 players with all the normal implications of the salary cap.  One new thing will be each team is to have a taxi squad with a minimum of 4 players and a maximum of 6 players, that must include one goalie.  The taxi squad will be with the NHL team, practice with the NHL, and travel with the NHL team but they are not counted against the roster of the NHL team.

8. NHL:  The Dec. 24 and 27 deadlines for NHL players to opt-out of the upcoming season due to Covid concerns has come and gone with no opt-outs from any of last year’s players.

9. Jets:  For this season the number of games for an Entry Level Contract to be activated is now seven (pro-rated) instead of the usual ten games.  If a player plays in a seventh game his contract officially kicks in.  

Will Cole Perfetti play more than 6 games.

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10. Jets:  Many hockey people thought Jack Roslovic was drafted way too early and that he was not a first-rounder and maybe not even a second-rounder.  In fairness, it is always hard to evaluate the third player on a stacked line.  When Jacko was on the USNDT he was on a line with Auston Matthews and Matthew Tkachuk and they put up monster numbers but he was always considered the third-wheel.  This isn’t the first or the last time this will happen with super-lines.    

11. Jets:  Winnipeg Jets prospect Ville Heinola was named Finland’s “Player of the Game” in their quarter-final win over Sweden.  Heinola even drew comparisons to Jets legend Lars-Erik Sjoberg from Craig Button, which is pretty high praise. 

12. NHL:  Key dates.

  • Jan. 13 – Season opener
  • Feb. 1 – Teams may start requesting players waive their NMC for the expansion draft
  • Feb. 11 – Deadline to sign Group II RFAs (usually December 1)
  • Mar. 12 – Players on one-year deals can sign extensions (usually Jan. 1)
  • Apr. 12 – Trade Deadline
  • May 8 – End of the regular season
  • May 11 – 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. NHL:  Put this in the better late than never file but finally, finally, finally the NHL has come to their senses and modified the offside rule.  Rule 83.1 now reads that a player’s skate will no longer have to be in contact with the ice (blue-line) in order to be onside as long as his skate has yet to break the “plane” prior to the puck crossing the leading edge of the blue-line.  He is now deemed to be onside as long as he is straddling the blueline.  This should greatly cut down the amount of offside coaches challenge.

14. Jets:  If Trevor Lewis manages to get a contract with the Jets I hope some of his championship experience and work ethic rubs off on this team.  Most fans don’t realize it but the Winnipeg Jets are one of the younger teams in the NHL.  

15. Pet Peeve:  During the Sweden/Finland quarter-final on Saturday, Swedish forward Elmer Soderblom (6′ 8″) scored a beauty between the legs goal on the powerplay and during the post-game wrap-up one of the TSN analysts (not sure which one) said Soderblom showed nice hands for a big man.  Every time I hear something like this I bristle, big men can’t have soft hands?  Have you ever seen Mario or Buff or Beliveau play hockey?  Size isn’t an indicator of skill or lack of skill.   

16. Jets:  Schedule

In memory of my friend Darryl Manchulenko.

If you have any questions, please give me a shout. You can use the comment section or use the #ASKWHTPOD hashtag on Twitter.

If you like our new format, let us know in the comment section or hit me on Twitter at WpgSportsTalk or WpgHockTalk

If you are interested in writing for Winnipeg Sports Talk or if you know somebody interested, please contact us at:

[email protected]

We are looking for writers to cover the Winnipeg Jets, Manitoba Moose, The Winnipeg ICE, Manitoba Bisons, Winnipeg AAA, MJHL, MMJHL, KIJHL, and Winnipeg High School or any sports team in town.

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

 

Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Christmas Edition

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.

                           MERRY CHRISTMAS

1. NHL:  After a bit of posturing and negotiating from both sides the NHL and NHL Players’ Association reached an agreement to play a 56-game regular season starting Jan. 13, 2021, and ending May 8 giving hockey fans an early Christmas present.

2. NHL:  Key points in the NHL’s return to play

  • Formal training camps will begin on Jan. 3.  There will be no preseason games.  The seven teams that did not participate in the 2019-20 Return to Play will be permitted to open their camps as early as Dec. 31.
  • The Stanley Cup Playoffs will feature 16 teams in a best-of-7, four-round format and conclude around mid-July with the plan of returning to a normal hockey calendar for the 2021-22 season (regular season beginning in October).
  • The top four teams in each division will qualify for the playoffs. The first two rounds will be intradivisional, with the first-place team playing the fourth-place team and the second-place team facing the third-place team in the first round. The four teams that advance from the second round to the Semifinal Round will be seeded by their points total in the regular season (No. 1 vs. No. 4; No. 2 vs. No. 3). 

 3. NHL:  Due to the pandemic and travel restrictions the NHL will have new divisions for the upcoming season and the much talked about Canadian Division is now a reality.  I have a feeling some owners and a couple of Canadian sports networks won’t want to go back to the regular divisions.  Travel could be an issue but not a deal-breaker in my opinion but we all know it will never happen.

NOTE:  At this point (Dec.23), none of the provinces have approved play in the Canadian team’s home rinks.

UPDATE: Dec. 24  

UPDATE: Dec.24 

     

4. Jets:  The more I think about it, the more pissed off I get that Kevin Cheveldayoff signed Nathan Beaulieu and Luka Sbisa on the first day of free agency.  If I was going to bring back any defenceman from that train wreck of a blueline from last year it would have been Dmitry Kulikov and I wouldn’t have been in any hurry to do that.  Chevy’s penchant for bargain-basement depth players is getting tiresome.  It wouldn’t bother me as much if these players spent most of their time in the press box BUT Paul Maurice always feels obligated to play these guys ahead of the younger guys.  Chevy’s lustre wore off for me long ago, he is a marginal GM at best and in my opinion, he has overstayed his welcome.    

5. Jets:  The Winnipeg Jets are a cap team with one of the worst bluelines in the league, at least on paper. How is this even possible?  This could change if Dylan Samberg and/or Ville Heinola pan out and become top-four defencemen (as rookies) but this is a tremendous leap of faith made by the organisation. 

6. Jets:  I don’t know about you but the Patrik Laine trade rumours are getting a little old.  I know they say where there’s smoke there’s fire but he is still a Winnipeg Jets player last time I checked.  I have never for one moment thought he was going anywhere.  Chevy was probably getting calls on him every day and probably would have traded him if he got an offer he couldn’t refuse. 

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7. NHL:  For this season only the NHL will be allowing advertising on the player’s helmets.  Considering the lack of HRR (hockey-related revenue) floating around, this makes sense to me.    

8. NHL:  I wonder how many NHL players are anti-vaccine because I have no doubt when the time comes that vaccinations will be made mandatory in the league.  NHL players are a microcosm of society and there is always a percentage of people that are anti-something.    

9. Jets:  Every ounce of backbone this Winnipeg Jets team had left when Dustin Byfuglien retired with the exception of Adam Lowry.  I fear for this team in heavy games and there will be lots of those with this new division and the number of back-to-back games versus the same team. 

10. Jets:  I wonder what Patrik Laine’s agent Mike Liut thinks his market value is?  I think his agent is trying to overprice him and I’m not sure he will ever get the big money his agent thinks and especially now with a flat cap for probably 2-3 more seasons.  This is what I think is a fair offer for Laine.  How about an eight-year deal worth $70,000,000 with an AAV of $8,750,000. Two years at 8, two years at 8.5, two years at, 9 and two years at 9.5.  I think this is more than fair. 

11. Jets:  Winnipeg Jets fans will have three prospects to watch at this year’s U20 WHC.  Jets 2020 1st round pick Cole Perfetti (10th overall) will suit it up for Team Canada, and a pair of 2019 draft picks Ville Heinola (20th overall) and Henri Nikkanen (113th overall) should pique our interest for a couple of weeks.  I am especially looking forward to seeing fourth-rounder Henri Nikkanen.  The big left-winger was a projected first-rounder but injuries saw his stock plummet all the way down to the fourth round.  The prevailing opinion after the draft was the Winnipeg Jets got away with highway robbery getting him in the fourth round.  Time will tell.

12. NHL:  Revised dates.

  • Dec. 24 – Deadline for players that weren’t in the bubble (7 teams) to opt-out of the 2021 season
  • Dec. 27 – Deadline for players that played in the re-start (24 teams) to opt-out of the 2021 season
  • Dec. 28 – Waiver period begins
  • Dec. 30 – The 7 teams that didn’t play this summer can open training camp
  • Jan. 3 – Remaining 24 teams open training camp
  • Jan. 13 – Season opener
  • Feb. 1 – Teams may start requesting players waive their NMC for the expansion draft
  • Feb. 11 – Deadline to sign Group II RFAs (usually December 1)
  • Mar. 12 – Players on one-year deals can sign extensions (usually Jan. 1)
  • Apr. 12 – Trade Deadline
  • May 8 – End of the regular season
  • May 11 – 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

Dec. 24 and 27 are the deadlines for NHL players to opt-out of the season due to Covid concerns …. what happens if a player decides he wants to opt-out on Jan. 3?

 

13. Jets:  With every game being played within the division it is even more important to get off to a good start.  Every game is a 4-pointer AND it is basically like a playoff game every night.  This is going to be an interesting season.

14 Jets:  It has been reported that Henri Nikkanen was clocked skating at 39.31 km/hr.  I’m guessing that is pretty fast. (see #11)

15. Jets:  I really like the hiring of Dave Lowry as an assistant coach.  I always like hiring coaches that have played in the league and especially a player that was a very good defensive forward.  This is exactly what the doctor order for this current crop of Winnipeg Jets forwards who are one of the worst in the entire NHL in my opinion.

16. Jets:  Welcome back Marko Dano.  I’ve always like Dano, he is the type of player that can help you up and down the lineup.  A nice depth piece.

17. WHT:  I would like to wish all of our readers and all Winnipeg Jets hockey fans a safe and Merry Christmas.  Keep the faith, better days are on the horizon.  We now have a couple of approved vaccines (Phizer and Moderna) with a couple more on the way and they are starting to be administered and before you know it our normal way of life will be back.  Please, please stay vigilant and respect the protocols set in place to help flatten the curve and take the strain off of our health care workers.  As much as we love our hockey heroes these tireless workers have been the real heroes during this pandemic.  Even though the end is in sight, we still have several months of hard work to go.  THANK-YOU, THANK-YOU to our healthcare workers for your dedication and hard work.

18. WHT:  I would also like to thank all the people that help to make our lives as normal as possible.  The cashiers at our stores, the delivery drivers, the postal workers, the gas station attendants, the long-distance drivers that keep providing our stores with product etc etc.  THANK-YOU ALL.

Last and certainly not least I would like to thank these people and merchants in MORRIS.  Thank-you to Morris Bigway for picking and delivering our groceries when needed, Valley Pharmacy for dropping off our prescriptions when we couldn’t get there, the Morris Post Office, Integra Tire for picking up and dropping off our car after getting new tires, George’s Burgers for our weekly Fat Boy and poutine or fries, Subway, Tim Horton’s, Co-op Gas Station, and to our neighbours … Randy, Mary-Jane, and Vicky and our other neighbour, Andy.  During this pandemic, these people have been there in one form or another to make our lives better.  THANK-YOU, THANK-YOU, THANK-YOU.

And finally a huge thanks to our daughters, Maureen and Tara for looking after us when PK (Phyllis Kasprick) broke her ankle, we would have been lost without them … AND THANK-YOU TO PK WHO IS THE BEST. 

     Merry Christmas and GO JETS GO

 

In memory of my friend Darryl Manchulenko.

If you have any questions, please give me a shout. You can use the comment section or use the #ASKWHTPOD hashtag on Twitter.

If you like our new format, let us know in the comment section or hit me on Twitter at WpgSportsTalk or WpgHockTalk

If you are interested in writing for Winnipeg Sports Talk or if you know somebody interested, please contact us at:

[email protected]

We are looking for writers to cover the Winnipeg Jets, Manitoba Moose, The Winnipeg ICE, Manitoba Bisons, Winnipeg AAA, MJHL, MMJHL, KIJHL, and Winnipeg High School or any sports team in town.

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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