June 15, 2019

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Dump & Chase

Good Friday edition

It probably doesn't feel like a very good Friday for Winnipeg Jets fans, still reeling from Thursday night's third-period meltdown which turned a 2-0 lead into a 3-2 loss.

Winnipeg now trails the best-of-seven playoffs series 3-2 and need a win on Saturday in St. Louis to keep the season alive.

Well, if the result has you down, we here at Dump & Chase are here to cheer you up. And share our own little bit of misery.

It's no secret that in the playoffs, guys play through pain. It’s just part of the business of hockey.

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It probably doesn't feel like a very good Friday for Winnipeg Jets fans, still reeling from Thursday night's third-period meltdown which turned a 2-0 lead into a 3-2 loss.

Winnipeg now trails the best-of-seven playoffs series 3-2 and need a win on Saturday in St. Louis to keep the season alive.

Well, if the result has you down, we here at Dump & Chase are here to cheer you up. And share our own little bit of misery.

It's no secret that in the playoffs, guys play through pain. It’s just part of the business of hockey.

Unless you’re Jay (aka Chase). He was sidelined by an undisclosed lower-body injury earlier in the week, preventing him from following the Jets/Blues playoff series in St. Louis for Games 3 and 4.

But it was gut check time for Mike (aka Dump), who went solo and managed to file about five things a day despite being hammered by a doozy of a flu bug. He’s an inspiration to us all.

Mike also did the lion’s share of our latest edition of D & C, a veritable smorgasbord of juicy tidbits, some from the playoffs and some not.

Enjoy.

And from our families to yours, Happy Easter.

PRE-GAME WARMUP

Tremendous stuff this week from colleague Melissa Martin, who was up in Pimicikamak Cree Nation as Brady Keeper made his return to the community after signing an NHL contract with the Florida Panthers, which included skating in his first big-league game.

The pride and joy on the faces of Keeper and everyone around him is evident. 

Read Melissa's terrific piece "I'm very, very proud of where I'm from" .
 

1ST PERIOD

You may have seen the memes circulating around social media, especially after he was the overtime hero in Game 4.

And you may also be asking yourself why Kyle Connor is being linked to Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame. Well, it's all in a name. And Kyle "Freakin' Connor -- as teammates and fans have taken to calling him, although some use a slightly stronger middle name -- appears to be the new KFC around these parts.

 

 

Heck, even Matt Hendricks got into the act after Game 4.

There's no denying Connor's play has been finger lickin' good.

 


 

Speaking of the name game, how about Colorado rookie Cale Makar, who made quite an NHL debut earlier this week when he scored his first-ever goal, in a playoff game, to boot.

 

 

He's had a heck of a week, which also included finishing up his collegiate hockey career and accepting the Hobey Baker award as the top amateur player in the nation.

 

Plus, Makar is quickly developing a "healthy" fan following. 

2ND PERIOD

The on-ice action between the San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights has been pretty good. But the off-ice trash talk in this series -- specifically involving Ryan Reaves and Evander Kane -- has truly been next-level.

No doubt many Winnipeggers are sitting back and enjoying every minute, given the obvious connections to the city. Reaves was born and raised here, while Kane, of course, spent several seasons playing here.

This is no manufactured rivalry. The two players truly dislike each other, and seem to enjoy telling anyone within ear-shot about it.

 

They finally dropped the gloves, but that hardly settled things between them. In fact, they were only just getting warmed up.

 

Following the game, Kane teed-off on Reaves, giving sportswriters covering the series no shortage of gems.

 

Even veteran Sharks forward Joe Thornton weighed in.

 

Naturally, Reaves took the opportunity to respond.

 

 

 


 

There's plenty of reasons teams come up short in the playoffs — out-played, out-worked, weak goaltending, poor special teams.

And now you can add one more to the list: Drake.

Yes, the Canadian artist is being blamed by some for the Toronto Maple Leafs coming up short in Game 4. The Drake Curse, apparently, is very real.

 

 

 

For what it's worth, coach Mike Babcock wasn't giving his team an easy out.

3RD PERIOD

Local media outlets frequently enlist the help of the good folks at Probe Research to gauge public opinion on hot-button issues of the day. Well, what could be timelier than a poll to determine Manitoba’s most popular member of the Winnipeg Jets, as the team slugs it out in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs?

According to the research, no player has endeared himself more to local fans than veteran defenceman Dustin Byfuglien.

The Minnesota-born blue-liner, who turned 34 last month, has been with the team since it moved north from Atlanta in 2011, and his combination of strength and skill has captivated supporters since the Jets first-ever exhibition game against the Columbus when he tossed around a couple of Blue Jackets like they were made out of straw.

The legend of Big Buff grows every year. Remember how he picked up a couple of the Predators, Austin Watson and Roman Josie, in last year’s Western Conference semi-final series and treated them like rag dolls?

Or how about just the other day when he burst from the corner in the St. Louis zone and fired in a puck off goalie Jordan Binnington’s face? On purpose.

Probe asked Manitobans to rank their first- and second-favourite Jets and Byfuglien topped the list, with about 25 per cent of people pointing to him.  Another 12 per cent had him as their second choice.

Mark Scheifele, one of the NHL’s premier centres, emerged as the second most-popular Jet, while captain Blake Wheeler finished third in the voting.

The survey of 1,000 Manitoba adults was conducted online April 12-17.

(Jennifer Brandt infographic)

(Jennifer Brandt infographic)

 


 

Mike had a couple of interesting experiences in St. Louis this week while going back and forth from the Enterprise Center via Uber.

Following Game 3 on Sunday night, he entered what turned out to be a nightclub on wheels.

 

Then, as he headed to the airport on Wednesday morning following Game 4, his elderly Uber driver got into "TMI" territory when he shared that he'd just spent a good chunk of his evening at "Two-dollar Tuesdays" at a local strip club.

"I was drinking pop," the driver assured him.

Suddenly, Mike was pining for the return of Nickelback.
 

OVERTIME

Yes, playoff overtime can get pretty intense. There's just nothing quite like it.

Nor have we seen a better Tweet in all our time to sum up the whole experience. It may be a few years old, but it makes the round every spring and continues to hold true.

 


 

We don't mean to alarm you, but scientists have now invented a robot that can skate.

No, it doesn't possess the blinding speed of Connor McDavid -- at least not yet. (However, Milan Lucic might have trouble keeping up)

But you have to figure it's only a matter of time. 

 

There's no reason to panic, right?

 


 

Desperate times call for desperate measures. And a Montreal Canadiens fan who vowed to "eat my hat" if the Columbus Blue Jackets eliminated the Tampa Bay Lightning made good on his word earlier this week. 

 

 

 

Bon appetit!

 


 

Paul Maurice is a pretty good hockey coach. But there's no doubt his natural comedic timing would translate well should he opt for a future stand-up career.

Check out his news conference the other day in St. Louis, where he was about to answer a question on the podium when a television in the room suddenly began blaring an advertisement for a local flooring company.

Maurice didn't skip a beat.

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Got a suggestion for a future edition of Dump & Chase? Let us know about it. mike.mcintyre@freepress.mb.ca and jason.bell@freepress.mb.ca

And follow Dump & Chase on Twitter. Mike is @mikemcintyrewpg, while Jason can be found @WFPJasonBell

Your weekly trip around the world of hockey.

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