Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Dec. 12

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.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: Oct. 31

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 had a very successful week on the scoreboard going 3-0-1 and snagging 7 out of 8 points but were badly outplayed in Los Angeles and Vegas.  Connor Hellebuyck STOLE 3 out of 4 points in those two games. HE’S BACK! 

The Jets record after nine games is 5-3-1 and I’m pretty sure we all would have taken that after looking at their early season schedule.

2. Jets:  I really like Dan Robertson as the Jets’ new play-by-play voice.  We lucked out there.  That’s all, just an observation.

3. JetsI like Mason Appleton but he just seems a little out of his element in the top 6 right now. 

 

4. Jets: Right now, whatever offence Neil Pionk brings to the table does not outweigh his defensive deficiencies.  He is NOT a good defenceman and hasn’t been for quite some time.

5. Jets: 

Who would you rather have right now?

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6. Moose:  The Manitoba Moose are a tidy 5-1-1-0 to start the season and currently sit in second place in the AHL’s Western Conference.  Jansen Harkins is the leading scorer with 5 goals and 4 helpers in 6 games and Declan Chisholm leads the defencemen in scoring with 2 goals and 5 helpers in 7 games.  Oskari Salminen and Arvis Holm have both been solid in net and are making the most of their opportunity with Mikhail Berdin being out of the picture.  The Moose goaltending seems to be in good hands. 

7. Jets:  Having Mason Appleton and Adam Lowry on the ice for 2-3 shifts in overtime and Cole Perfetti not getting on the ice is not a recipe for success.  It’s Nikolaj Ehlers all over again. 

GET YOUR SKILL ON THE ICE GUYS.  IT’S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE.

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 an 11-1-0 record.  The ICE have one more road game left after having to play their first thirteen games on the road.  The ICE are off to a very impressive start to their season and are on a mission. 

Kia CHL Top-10 Rankings – Week 4

as of Oct. 26 

1. Winnipeg ICE
2. Quebec Remparts
3. Seattle Thunderbirds
4. Sherbrooke Phoenix
5. Ottawa 67’s
6. Red Deer Rebels
7. Portland Winterhawks
8. Windsor Spitfires
9. Saskatoon Blades
10. Halifax Mooseheads

9. Jets:  Axel Jonsson-Fjallby has a great set of wheels and is a nice addition to the 4th line.  It’s going to be interesting to see who draws the short straw when Nikolaj returns to the lineup.  

10. JetsDavid Gustafson has been exactly and even more than I thought he’d be.  He plays both ends of the ice and isn’t your typical 4th line plug. He is responsible and has a good offensive skill set.   He is the best 4th line center the Jets have had since coming into the league. 

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11. Jets:  It’s early and it is a small sample size but after 7 games Connor Hellebuyck is playing better than the year he won the Vezina Trophy

12. Jets: Currently, there are 7 Winnipeg Jets players with more goals than Kyle Connor.  I wonder how long it will take for KC to take his rightful place at the top of the goal-scoring list?  I predict by the end of November.   

13. Jets:  Dylan Samberg seems to be a little out of sorts right now BUT then again our whole blueline looked out of sorts for two games on that 3-game road trip.    

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

This one is for the coach even though he isn’t behind the bench right now but has probably watched every Jets game 4 or 5 times.  What are you going to do about Neil Pionk?  He is playing 22:31 minutes per night and is undoubtedly your worst defenceman.    

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

  • PP: 26th at 13.30% 
  • PK: 18th at 79.20% 
  • FO: 28th at 43.80%

16. Jets:  Goaltending:

  • Conner Hellebuyck:  4-2-1 … 2.41 GAA … .931 SV% … 1 shutout  
  • David Rittich:  1-1-0 … 3.07 GAA … .885 SV%

17. Jets:  The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly this past week.

  • Good:  This should say GREAT!  Connor Hellebuyck.   
  • Bad:  The soft play by Mark Scheifele on Jack Eichel’s winning goal in overtime.  For me, this is on the coaching staff.  Scheif played 22:58 last night and at least half the overtime.  He was gassed.  (for Sparky)     
  • Ugly:  Let’s not mince words here.  With the quality of players the Winnipeg Jets have at their disposal to have a powerplay running at 13% is an EMBARRASSMENT!  

18. Jets:  I’m going to say it again.  The Jets defencemen that play the most minutes can’t handle the physical play in the corners and in front of Connor Hellebuyck.  They lose 80% of 50/50 puck battles.  Brendan Dylan is the only consistent physical force on our backend.  I know they don’t grow on trees but this team needs a couple of big, strong, physical players that can skate and move the puck.  I don’t see a solution outside of trading for them but I would sell the farm to get them because I don’t think you can win without them.  Didn’t we have a couple of those?  

19. Jets:  No word on whether Nikolaj “don’t call me Nik” Ehlers will be back in the lineup this week or not.  I really want to see the team get back to their optimum lineup with Rick Bowness behind the bench and see what this team can do.  Right now being 5-3-1 without their head coach and being a work in progress is better than I thought they’d be.  The Jets still have a ton of work to do but they have had some spurts of playing the way Bowness wants them to, they just need to work on their consistency.

 20. Jets:  Logan Stanley watch:  Big Stan only played in one game last week, a 4-0 win versus St. Louis.  He played 13:43 and was a plus 2.  No complaints here.     

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN

Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: Sept. 5

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.

It is with a very heavy heart that I write this but I would like to send out my condolences to the family and friends of Scott Campbell.  Scott was a Winnipeg Jets 1.0 fan favourite and Twitter legend.  Scott always took time to chat with his many followers and really made their days.  It’s not often an NHL player interacts with a fan base like Scott did.  Scott was a Winnipeg Jet until the day he passed away and he loved the Jets and their fans.  I got to know Scott on a personal basis and he was a very modest, fun guy.  Scott spent some time writing here at WHT and had quite a following.  It seems the good ones leave us too soon and Scott was definitely one of the good ones, he will be missed.  I will always be proud to say you were my friend.  RIP big guy. 

 

 

1. Jets:  Well it’s September so it’s back to work.  If Chevy can take August off why can’t I?  If it’s good enough for Chevy it’s good enough for me.  

2. Jets:   The only major announcement I really missed was the Jets and Mason Appleton avoiding arbitration and agreeing on a contract extension.  Appleton’s contract is a three-year deal with an average annual value of $2,166,667.  Wrapping up Appleton for 3 more years was a solid move, he complements Adam Lowry nicely on the 3rd line.

3. WJC:  While I was away Team Canada won the World Junior Championship in an exciting Gold Medal game but for me, it was a hollow victory with Russia not there and some of the best juniors in the world not available.  Also, the WJHC being played in the summer completely lacked the allure of the tournament over the Christmas holidays.  That being said, a win is a win and I’m not going to complain.

4. Jets:  Last week the Jets made their first semi-meaningful free agent signing of the off-season inking Sam Gagner to a one-year deal.  I don’t mind this signing, at least he’s not the usual unskilled plug Chevy likes signing.  Gagne has a skill set that can be used up and down the lineup and even though this isn’t a blockbuster signing it does move the needle slightly in the right direction.

5. Jets:  Fans are wondering who will be in the Jets’ top 6 forwards.  I think Mark Scheifele and Nikolaj “don’t call me Nik” Ehlers play together and Pierre-Luc Dubois and Kyle Connor play together with Blake Wheeler and Cole Perfetti on the wings.  Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the new head coach, Rick Bowness get the blender out with all six of these forwards. 

6. Jets: Speaking of the 3rd line, I wonder who gets the LW job playing alongside Adam Lowry and Mason Appleton?  Will it be Jansen Harkins finally claiming a regular spot?  Could it be Morgan Barron who had a decent finish with the jets last season or could it be the newly acquired Sam Gagner?  We will know soon enough.  

7. IIHF:  Speaking of summer hockey tournaments, the Women’s World Hockey Championships concluded this past weekend with a close Gold Medal game with Canada winning 2-1.  But, once again it lacked the allure of winter hockey.  It will be nice to see everything finally get back on schedule again.  

8. Jets:  Whether it is baseball, basketball, football, or hockey, preseason is a time for optimism but there seems to be a lot of pessimism in Winnipeg and I’m not sure that should be the case.  No, they didn’t make any big acquisitions and it seems like it’s the status quote again BUT the biggest change is behind the bench and this could be the most significant change of all.  Before I make any judgements I want to see what Rick Bowness does with this group.   

9. Jets:  On paper, it looks like the Jets should have an improved 4th line with David Gustaffson (if he can stay off the IR), Jansen Harkins, Morgan Barron, Sam Gagne, and Dominic Toninato filling out the bottom 6.  

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

Everyone in the free world knows you’re carrying too many NHL-ready defencemen and you are probably going to move 1 or 2 but isn’t it tough to move guys so close to the start of the season?  It’s probably okay if they don’t live here full time but it does lead to a lot of scrambling just before the season starts for the players and their families.  Conversely, it is pro hockey and part of the business so boo hoo.  Forget about it, I retract the question.

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

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

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12. Important Dates:  

September 16-19:   Young Stars Classic in Penticton, BC. 

Game 1:   Winnipeg vs Edmonton Fri, Sept. 16 4:00pm PT
Game 2:  Calgary vs Vancouver Fri, Sept. 16 7:30pm PT
Game 3:  Calgary vs Edmonton Sat, Sept. 17 7:30pm PT
Game 4:  Vancouver vs Winnipeg Sun, Sept. 18 2:00pm PT
Game 5:  Winnipeg vs Calgary Mon, Sept. 19 11:00am PT
Game 6:  Vancouver vs Edmonton Mon, Sept. 19 2:30pm PT

September 24:  Winnipeg Jets Fanfest.

13. Jets:  The Winnipeg Jets signed David Gustafsson to a two-year contract with an average annual value in the NHL of $775,000.  This deal is a two-way contract for the 2022-23 season and a one-way contract for 2023-24.  Interesting, I guess the Jets didn’t want Gus to think they were gifting him a job this winter even though everybody knows his Manitoba Moose days a 99% over.

14. Jets: This Winnipeg Jets team has good players and hopefully with a change in coaching philosophy, accountability,  and players having a greater commitment to team defence they can make 2021-22 seem like just a bad memory.  (see #8)  

15. Jets:  Connor Hellebuyck will be the first to admit last season wasn’t his best but I’d never count out a team with a motivated and committed HELLE.  He was inconsistent and not his usual self last year but this off-season his summer regime won’t be interrupted by Covid cutting into his training time.  

16. Jets:  Everything about 2021-22 was a clusterf**k and this season will be the first time since Covid interrupted our lives that there will be some normalcy.  I remain optimistic and still like this Jets team.  It sure beats being miserable and negative.  To the nay-sayers, I say give them a chance you might be pleasantly surprised.  (see # 8 and 15)

17. Jets:  By the way, I don’t think Barry Trotz is out of the Jet’s future plans yet.  It’s just a hunch based on absolutely nothing.

18. Jets:  In an interesting off-ice move, TNSE hired long-time TSN football and hockey personality Sara Orlesky to the Jets family.  Sarah’s title will be Sr. Host/Producer.  Orlesky will provide behind-the-scenes features and player interviews for Jets broadcasts and Jets TV.  Solid hire as everybody loves Sarah.

19. Jets:  Last time I checked the Jets had 10 defencemen under contract with eyes on the NHL roster.  Pitter-Patter Chevy.  (see #10)

20. Jets:  If you’re driving west on Roblin Blvd close to the perimeter look up at the 4th-floor balcony of the condos just to the south of the Shoppers Drug Mart, you’ll see a red maple leaf on the balcony wall and there’s a good chance I’ll be sitting there, honk and wave.

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Random Thoughts On The Winnipeg Jets: May 30

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.

1. WHC:  Team Canada had a very good tournament but had to settle for the silver medal in a game with controversial calls in the 3rd period AND overtime that cost them their and indirectly their starting goalie.  In spite of this, in true Canadian style, the boys scored two late goals with their goalie pulled and forced overtime where they lost on another powerplay goal.  To say the officials had a major say in this outcome would be a major understatement.    

Both Pierre-Luc Dubois and Adam Lowry were major contributors throughout the tournament and represented the Winnipeg Jets very well.

[Read more…]

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