Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Nov.21

Mitch Kasprick is now the “Westdale Curmudgeon” 

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. [Read more…]

Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Nov. 7

Mitch Kasprick is now the “Westdale Curmudgeon” 

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. [Read more…]

Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Oct. 17

Mitch Kasprick is now the “Westdale Curmudgeon” 

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.

1. Jets:  The Winnipeg Jets only played one game last week and it was a surprising 4-1 win over the NYR.  The good guys have a tough week ahead of them with road games in Dallas, Colorado, and Vegas before returning home to play Toronto on Saturday night.  It will be interesting to see how they stack up against three teams that should make the playoffs this season. 

2. Jets After watching the Jets game on Friday night the narrative that the Jets didn’t make any changes and just brought back the same team that missed the playoffs didn’t quite ring true for me.  First off there was a wholesale change behind the bench.  The Jets have a new first line.  Adam Lowry has two wingers that he didn’t have at this time last year.  There is a completely brand-new fourth line and a new backup goaltender.  This certainly is a different team.            

3. Jets:  I thought everybody hated Blake Wheeler but isn’t it funny that he received the loudest cheers during the player introductions on Friday night?  I guess those that scream and shout the loudest on social media get heard the most BUT generally speaking are in the minority.

4. Jets:  Rick Bowness won’t be on the Jets 4-game trip as he continues to recover from COVID-19.  

5. Jets:  Are the Jets a better team with or without Blake Wheeler?

Would the Winnipeg Jets be a better team with or without their former captain?

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6. Jets: The first period versus the Rangers on Friday night was the most stylistically different hockey I’ve seen the Jets play in the past 5-6 years.  The defencemen were up and part of the rush and supported or over-lapped on the weak side causing all kinds of pressure on the Rangers’ defence.  It was very impressive, let’s hope they can keep it up.    

7. Jets: The Jets finally have a 4th line that isn’t a bunch of plugs.

8. ICE:  The Canadian Hockey League announced their Week 1 edition of the Kia CHL Top-10 Rankings for the 2022-23 season.  The Winnipeg ICE are still ranked #1 in the CHL with a 7-1-0 record.  Not bad considering they haven’t played a home game yet.

Kia CHL Top-10 Rankings – Week 2

as of Oct. 12 

1. Winnipeg ICE
2. Sherbrooke Phoenix
3. Quebec Remparts
4. Seattle Thunderbirds
5. Kamloops Blazers
6. Gatineau Olympiques
7. Portland Winterhawks
8. Halifax Mooseheads
9. Mississauga Steelheads
10. Ottawa 67’s

9. Jets:  It made me very happy NOT to see PoMo’s hybrid man-on-man defensive system from the past few seasons in the Jets’ season opener.  For the most part, they played the traditional zone defence with the center down low.  It wasn’t perfect but it sure beats watching players chasing their check around the defensive zone with their back to the play.  I really only saw that one time when Logan Stanley followed his man to the top of the defensive zone.  Old habits die hard I guess.

10. Jets: Morgan Barron isn’t the greatest skater but he’s like a dog on a bone and he uses his size very well.  He’s a nice fit with Adam Lowry and Mason Appleton.

Embed from Getty Images

11. Jets:  What do you think of Chevy’s work this offseason?  

Are you happy with Chevy's work so far this off-season?

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12. Jets:  Important Dates:  

October 17:  First regular season road game at Dallas. 

October 22:  Jets host the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

13. Jets:  HELLE being HELLE is a beautiful thing.  Connor Hellebuyck was excellent in his first game of the season and just like most teams in the NHL, they will go as far as their goaltending takes them.  We are lucky to have one of the good ones.

14. Jets: 

How many games will backup goalie David Rittch start?

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15. Jets:  My weekly question for Rick Bowness, Kevin Cheveldayoff, or Mark Chipman.

This is for Mark Chipman.  We can speculate on a lot of reasons why but how concerned are you that the Jets’ home opener wasn’t a sellout?

16. Jets: Dylan DeMelo and Neal Pionk served up a couple of pretty big pizzas in the second period versus the Rangers but I didn’t hear the Logan Stanley haters jumping all over them.  I’m not trying to defend Stanley, he still needs a lot of work BUT I think all players should be held to the same standard, not just the ones you don’t like.

17. Hot Take: This hot take might not be the hottest take I’ll come up with this year but I like the New York Rangers to win the Eastern Conference.

18. JetsDraft and develop is a hockey term you hear quite often BUT there is a good chance every player you draft and/or develop might not play for you.  A case in point is Johnathon Kovacevic, he was put on waivers so he could be reassigned to the Manitoba Moose but Montreal claimed him.  Sometimes you can’t keep everybody you draft and develop but in saying this you don’t want to lose them on waivers either.  This is on Chevy, he mismanaged an asset and lost one for nothing but that is another story. 

The Jets were catching some heat from the usual haters because they are saying the Jets are drafting but not developing.  WRONG!  If a player is good enough to play for another team, wasn’t he developed?  It’s not that Kovacevic wasn’t a good defenceman, he just wasn’t good enough for the Jets.  He was behind Dylan Samberg, Ville Heinola,  Kyle Capobianco, and possibly Declan Chisholm/Leon Gawanke on the organisational depth chart.  You can’t keep them all.

19. JetsSome fans and I use this term loosely just can’t give credit where credit is due.  I read on Twitter that the Jets would never have beaten the Rangers if they didn’t play the night before in Minny.  C’mon man nobody is tired 3 games into the season.    

20. Jets:  The much-maligned Logan Stanley was on the ice for the lone Rangers goal but I thought he played okay and made good decisions for the most part.  He is still a work in progress and probably will be for the rest of his career.  You can’t teach size right?

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Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Oct. 10

Mitch Kasprick is now the “Westdale Curmudgeon” 

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.

1. Jets:  The pre-season games are over now and the good guys finished with a record of 4-1-1.  I’m not sure what you can take from this outside of the obvious that it’s better than being 1-4-1.  What I took from this pre-season was that the Winnipeg Jets finally had some legitimate competition in the bottom six forwards and in the final defence pairing and jobs weren’t gifted but earned. 

2. JetsDavid Rittich’s 5-0 shutout on Wednesday versus Calgary was a very positive sign for me and it wasn’t a cheezy pre-season game where the Flames mailed it in.  Rittich was tested early and often, earning his shutout.       

3. Jets:  HOT TAKE #1 – If Ville Heinola makes the opening night roster and I think he does, I would start looking at trading Neil Pionk for a big-body, stay-at-home defenceman that can kill penalties and be a force in front of Connor Hellebuyck.  

4. Jets:  I can’t say I’m surprised—another right-handed shooting dman leaving town.  

5. Jets:  Are the Jets a better team with or without Blake Wheeler?

Would the Winnipeg Jets be a better team with or without their former captain?

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6. Jets:  I haven’t been happy with how Chevy handled his overabundance of defencemen but I also thought that Chevy did a nice job signing some decent lower-end UFAs like Saku Maenalanen and Sam Gagne.  Gagne is a former 6th overall pick that still has a very good skill set and can play on the PP and up and down the lineup when needed.  This was a very nice, sneaky signing by Chevy. 

7. Jets:  The Jets have made their decision on Brad Lambert and they want to keep him close to home where they can watch him develop at close range while having the option to recall him if warranted.  


8. ICE:  The Canadian Hockey League announced their Week 1 edition of the Kia CHL Top-10 Rankings for the 2022-23 season.

Kia CHL Top-10 Rankings (Oct.5) – Week 1

1. Winnipeg ICE
2. Quebec Remparts
3. Seattle Thunderbirds
4. Sherbrooke Phoenix
5. Kamloops Blazers
6. Gatineau Olympiques
7. Guelph Storm
8. Owen Sound Attack
9. Flint Firebird
10. Portland Winterhawks

9. Jets:  Fans always get caught up in the hoopla of free agency hoping their team is in on the big names available but most of these players never live up to those contracts.  Can you imagine how ugly that $7,000,000, seven-year contract for 32-year-old Nazem Kadri will look in 2-3 years?  Don’t get me wrong, I like Kadri and I would love to see him on the Jets but not for seven years.  That’s the price of doing business in today’s NHL.  To make matters worse in his first four years he has a full no-movement clause and in the final three years, he has a thirteen-team no-trade list.     

10. MooseAs per the recommendation of the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program,  goaltender Mikhail Berdin, will not remain with the club for the 2022-23 National Hockey League season and the rights of the club and player will be treated like a suspended player.  Berdin will not be paid by the Jets club and his salary will not count against the salary cap.  Berdin will be permitted to sign a one-year contract to play outside of North America for the 2022-23 season.  I’m guessing with the turmoil going on in Russia he wanted to be closer to his family.  We wish the “Birdman” well.

11. Jets:  What do you think of Chevy’s work this offseason?  

Are you happy with Chevy's work so far this off-season?

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12. Jets:  Important Dates:  

October 14:  First regular season home game vs NYR.

October 17:  First regular season road game at Dallas.

13. ICE:  Hometown boy Carson Lambos has been named the Captain of the Winnipeg ICE.  The 19-year-old was selected by Minnesota in the first round, 26th overall in the 2021 NHL Draft.

14. Jets: 

How many games will backup goalie David Rittch start?

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15. Jets: 

 Mitch Kasprick Oct.3

I have been a supporter of Jansen Harkins for quite some time but my patience with him is wearing thin.  It is time to shit or get off the pot and do something.  I see a lot of competition for that 3rd-line LW position.  TICK-TOCK.    

16. Jets:  After reassigning Jansen Harkins, the Winnipeg Jets are left with 24 players in camp and need to cut one more by Tuesday.

FYI:  Hark cleared waiver and will report to the Manitoba Moose.

Projected lines:

Connor – Scheifele – Ehlers

Perfetti – Dubois – Wheeler

Barron*/Maenalanen* – Lowry – Appleton

Barron*/Maenalanen*/Toninato – Gustafsson – Gagne

Projected pairings:

Morrissey – DeMelo

Dillon – Pionk

Schmidt – Heinola*

Samberg* – Stanley

Capobianco

Goal:

Hellebuyck

Rittich

*Waiver exempt

UPDATE:  

Axel Jonsson-Fjällby was a fifth round pick of the Washinton Capitals in 2016.  He made his NHL debut last season after scoring 34 points in 44 games with the Hershey Bears.  Jets now have 25 players in camp.

UPDATE:  It looks like Ville Heinola is a victim of his waiver exempt status and has been sent to the Manitoba Moose. 

UPDATE:  The final move for now is Mason Appleton to the IR which gets the roster down to 23.

17. Jets:  I don’t know if they knew we were listening but kudos to the radio play-by-play voices of the Calgary Flames, Derek Wills and Peter Loubardias on their call of the Jets/Flames simulcast on the Jets website Friday night.  They were very objective, knowledgeable about the Jets, and at times very complimentary of our team.  Now that I think of it, they had to know we were listening.  Either way, it was a good call by them.  Big thumbs up.  

18. Jets:  I like the overall makeup of this Jets team as it stands right now but I am a little concerned about the lack of size on our back end.  There is lots of compete back there but not a lot of strength.  I don’t count Logan Stanley because I don’t think he will be a top-6 defenceman so we are very small on the blue line and easily get out-muscled in front of Helle.

19. Jets:  So far the early returns on Rick Bowness have been positive but now the real shootin’ starts and all bets are off.  In a results-driven business, it usually comes down to, “what have you done for me lately?”   

20. Jets: HOT TAKE #2 –  I think Barry Trotz likes this Jets roster and wanted a chance to work with this core group along with some of the upcoming prospects and that’s why Chevy didn’t make wholesale changes.  At some point, I think Barry Trotz is still going to be the coach of this team.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING everyone.

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Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Oct. 3

Mitch Kasprick is now the “Westdale Curmudgeon” 

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.

1. Jets:  First off, kudos to TNSE and Mark Chipman on the whole Dale Hawerchuk ceremony and statue unveiling.  It was first-class and very well done. 

Image result for dale hawerchuk statue

2. JetsSome Jets fans love to criticize Logan Stanley’s skating and agility but if you watch Jonathon Kovacevic, he isn’t exactly Kurt Browning on the ice.   

3. Jets:  The Winnipeg Jets have now played 4 pre-season games and I must say I’ve been impressed with a couple of under-the-radar free agent signings by Chevy this summer.  Saku Maenalanen (29)and Kevin Stenlund (26) are a couple of 6’4 wingers with NHL experience that use their size well.  I like Maenalanen very much and I would take him over Dominic Toretto in a heartbeat.  OKAY, OKAY it’s Toninato.  It’s quite obvious who my whipping boy is this season.  He’s not fast and he’s not furious and he bugs me because he does nothing to move the needle on this team and I hope Maenalanen bumps him down to the Moose where he belongs     

4. Jets:  For me, Mason Appleton is like that comfy t-shirt you wear, I like the way he plays and I like him and Adam Lowry together.  

5. Jets:  Are the Jets a better team with or without Blake Wheeler?

Would the Winnipeg Jets be a better team with or without their former captain?

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6. Jets:  I have been a supporter of Jansen Harkins for quite some time but my patience with him is wearing thin.  It is time to shit or get off the pot and do something.  I see a lot of competition for that 3rd-line LW position.  TICK-TOCK.    

7. Jets:  The Jets have an interesting decision to make with Brad Lambert.  I don’t know if Chevy has made a commitment to the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds to park him there for a year or if they are thinking about sending him to the Manitoba Moose. The upside of sending him to the Moose is if he is playing well in the AHL they can call him up whenever they want.  I’ve changed my mind and now leaning towards the AHL.

Mitch Kasprick Sept. 26

There now seems to be a question of whether 2022 1st round, 30th overall forward Brad Lambert is better off being with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose or the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds.  For me, it’s a no-brainer.  It is his first year playing in North America and he’s better off getting lots of icetime and PP time in junior.  I don’t see what the rush is.

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8. Jets:  My weekly question for Kevin Cheveldayoff, Mark Chipman, or Rick Bowness.

Are players going to make this team based on merit or the fact that they aren’t waiver-exempt?

9. Jets: You can say whatever you want about Mark Chipman and TNSE but they have done one helluva job preserving and honouring the hockey history in Winnipeg with the WHA and NHL 1.0 Winnipeg Jets.  Remember that Winnipeg Jets 2.0’s history started in Atlanta but the only lineage they acknowledge there are their team records.

10. Jets I can hardly wait to see what Brad Lambert looks like in two years with another 10-15 lbs added and with 2 years of hockey in North America (WHL or AHL) under his belt.  I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself but Lambert could be the steal of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.  Thank you, Andrew Copp.  Thank you, New York Rangers.

11. Jets:  What do you think of Chevy’s work this offseason?  

Are you happy with Chevy's work so far this off-season?

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12. Jets:  Important Dates:  

October 5:  Home preseason game #3 vs Calgary

October 14:  Regular season home opener vs NYR.

13. Jets:  Although Eric Comrie proved me wrong and exceeded mine and most fans’ expectations I feel more confident in David Rittich as Helle’s backup this season.  I know this doesn’t make much sense so it must be the fact that he is an NHL veteran.  For some reason, I never really embraced Comrie.

14. Jets: 

How many games will backup goalie David Rittch start?

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15. Jets:  Cole Perfetti is looking more and more comfortable playing on the wing with PLD and Blake Wheeler and I think if he plays the whole season on that line and gets some PP time whether it is 1st or 2nd unit he should be capable of 50-55 points.  

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