October 26, 2020

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Dump & Chase

Passion plays

Fans love of hockey on full display

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder.

We really hope that's true as we return with this Valentine's Day edition after taking a timeout last week to tend to some other duties.

While Mike (aka Dump) rose early and got to bed late covering the Winnipeg Jets out east, Jay was in Virden watching the Manitoba men’s curling championship – won by defending championship and top-ranked Reid Carruthers of West St. Paul.

The Jets lost back-to-back games in Montreal and Ottawa before posting a victory in Buffalo, and then returned home to beat the New York Rangers on the strength of Mark Scheifele’s terrific two-goal performance.

The Central Division leaders are hoping to keep it going tonight against the visiting Colorado Avalanche, and we’ll be there to monitor the results.

Lots happened in the hockey world since our last instalment of D&C, so here’s our latest take. We hope you get a kick out of it.

And Happy Valentine’s Day. Eat chocolate. We will.

PRE-GAME WARMUP

If there’s one guy Winnipeggers can’t get enough of, it’s Teemu Selanne. He’d win the next mayoral race in a landslide.

The Finnish Flash left here 24 years ago, but apparently the heart really does grow fonder.

A fellow here named Michael Peltz was just a lad when Selanne was traded by the Jets to the then Anaheim Mighty Ducks in a blockbuster deal during the NHL team’s last season in Winnipeg before shuffling off to Phoenix.

Peltz wanted a tattoo on his arm that paid tribute to the Hall of Famer, particularly the moment when Selanne scored his 54th goal to shatter Mike Bossy’s record for most goals by a rookie in March 1993.

Well, the ink he recently received, designed by Jesse Fisekci, a Winnipeg-based tattoo artist, is nothing short of remarkable and actually caught the attention of Selanne.

 

 

"I never would've imagined the attention this has gotten," Peltz said in an interview with NHL.com. "It was just something that I wanted to get for myself, but it's just blown up and for him to take the time to say he liked the work is just awesome."

Selanne went on to fire 76 goals during the ’92-93 season, finishing his legendary career with 684 tallies to go with 773 assists. As of Thursday, he owned a share of 15th place on the list of the NHL’s all-time points leaders with San Jose forward Joe Thornton, who will own it exclusively any day now.

But what a bold, personal tribute by a Winnipegger to someone the city cannot and will not forget.

 


 

And still on the subject of super-fans...

She may only be two years old. But little Aria McTavish puts the majority of the public to shame with her incredible knowledge of the Jets roster.

Look, we know being a hockey fan is practically your birthright in this country. But this is truly taking it to the extreme. 

Hey, if coach Paul Maurice ever needs a hand behind the bench calling out his lines, perhaps Aria can lend him a hand.

1ST PERIOD

And down the stretch they come.

With most teams having just a couple dozen games left in the regular-season, it's time to take a look at how they currently stack up in our latest NHL power rankings.

While most of the top contenders have remained the same through most of the year, there have been a handful of big moves since our last look in early January.

As always, Mike and Jay each complied their own lists, then added them up and averaged them out. (We've included last month's ranking in brackets so you can see who's hot, and who's not, in our eyes.)

1. Tampa (1)

T2. San Jose (6)

T2. Winnipeg (4)

 

 

4. Toronto (3)

5. Calgary (2)

6. Boston (10)

7. NY Islanders (13)

8. Nashville (5)

 

 

9. Montreal (15)

10. Vegas (7)

11. Washington (8)

T12. Columbus (11)

T12. Dallas (14)

14. Pittsburgh (9)

15. Carolina (17)

16. St. Louis (26)

 

 

17. Buffalo (12)

18. Philadelphia (30)

19. Minnesota (18)

20. Vancouver (20)

 

 

21. NY Rangers (22)

T22. Arizona (27)

T22. Florida (19)

T22. Colorado (16)

25. Chicago (24)

26. Los Angeles (28)

T27. Edmonton (23)

 

 

T27. New Jersey (25)

29. Detroit (29)

30. Ottawa (31)

31. Anaheim (21)

 

 

BIGGEST JUMP: Philadelphia, St. Louis, NY Islanders, Montreal

BIGGEST FALL: Anaheim, Colorado, Buffalo, Pittsburgh

2ND PERIOD

It's the time of year when travel can often be an adventure due to weather-related delays. Mike certainly found that out first-hand last week as Mother Nature proved to be a stubborn opponent as he tried to make his way from Winnipeg to Montreal to kick off a Jets road-trip — only to get temporarily stranded in Toronto.

Thankfully, he eventually got to where he needed thanks to a combination of planes, trains and automobiles. And a little luck courtesy of a popular coffee franchise.

 


 

Let's face it: We're all pretty much ready for winter to end. The seemingly endless days of cold and snow can stop any time now, thank you very much.

Perhaps Montreal's Andrew Shaw got a look at the forecast the other day when he, quite literally, snapped.

We can relate, Andrew. We can relate.

 


 

Of course, there are some people who truly love winter in all its glory.

Such as Vancouver prospect Tyler Madden, who pulled off a pretty epic snow angel celebration earlier this week after his overtime goal sent his team, Northeastern, to the Beanpot final in U.S. college hockey.

 

However, Madden has nothing on our favourite mascot when it comes to snow angels. Take it away, Gritty!

 


 

"The play is under video review."

It's a phrase hockey players, coaches and fans have become accustomed to hearing. And teams, it seems, are always trying to find clever, cheeky ways to fill the time between what can often be lengthy delays to figure out a call on the ice.

Credit to the St. Louis Blues, who kicked it up a notch the other night as they cut to what was purported to be a live look at NHL headquarters studying the play.

3RD PERIOD

First, a little background.

During a recent Minnesota Wild game, forward Jason Zucker accidentally crashed into the poor little flag bearer on skates as they hit the ice (quite literally) prior to the anthems. 

Fortunately, the boy was OK. As was Zucker.

Naturally, Zucker was asked about following the game. But nobody, and we mean nobody, grilled Zucker harder than his wife, Carly.

Cue the comedy!

 


 

Jets coach Paul Maurice has a sky-high opinion of Mark Scheifele, the team’s first-ever draft choice in 2011 who has developed and matured into one of the NHL’s finest two-way centres.

Scheifele scored his 29th and 30th goals of the season in a 4-3 victory over the Rangers on Tuesday night, and was tied with his linemate, winger Blake Wheeler, for ninth in NHL scoring with 68 points in 57 games, heading into Thursday’s action.

Maurice figures there’s no limit to what the Kitchener, Ont., product, a month shy of his 26th birthday, can accomplish in a Jets jersey.

Here’s an excerpt from the veteran bench boss gushing over his top-line middle man:

"I think he’s got an unusual mix of things that he can do. He’s way faster than he looks, and I’m not saying he looks slow. He has a very efficient stride. Those two guys (Wheeler and Kyle Connor) on the wings he’s playing with are just lightning fast, except he doesn’t seem to have a problem keeping up with them. So, what Mark’s figured out is the centreman has to slow his game down. In our game and most games in the NHL, the centreman has to be very patient on when to change gears and when not to, and he’s gotten very, very good at that. So, we can play him against the other teams’ best now."

And this:

"If you were to ask me is Mark a shooter or a passer, I don’t have an answer for you. He had no shot attempts in the first two or three games (against the Wild in the 2018 playoffs), very few shots attempts in that series. And then it changed and he set an NHL record for road goals. So, he can do both, truly. He can make those plays but he is a shooter. He’s a bit of everything, maybe that’s the best answer. He’s worked to be a bit of everything. He’s a really fit guy, he understands the game, he’s constantly working on his game so he will eventually check all the boxes."

And, finally, this:

"I have a higher opinion of Mark Scheifele than he has. These rankings are tough, what is he — 15th in the world? I think he has that to be a one-team player that wins cups, and is the captain of it at some point and gets a bronze statue in front of the building kind of guy."

A statue. Hmmm… doesn’t the guy already have a lasting likeness?

Oh, something bigger out there on Donald and Portage, you say Mr. Maurice?  Got it.

 


 

It's no secret things are not going well in Edmonton these days. In fact, it's hard to imagine the Oilers being much worse in the former City of Champions, where Connor McDavid's talents are being wasted again in what's increasingly looking like another lost season.

If it's not jerseys being thrown on the ice by disgruntled fans, it's coach Ken Hitchcock obliterating the "try" level of his team.

And so we admittedly got a chuckle the other day as one Edmontonian posted a video that perfectly summed up the mood in the Alberta capital.

OVERTIME

Ohhhhhhh baby!

There's no question Bob Cole just sounds like hockey. And hearing the veteran broadcaster call a game these days as he winds down his illustrious career is always a treat.

Cole has been making the rounds of Canadian rinks, where teams are honouring him in a big way for his final appearances.

Last week, we all got a lump in our throat when he was saluted by the crowd in Toronto. 

And the Leafs put together a tremendous video that is a must-watch for all fans.

Some exciting news for Winnipeggers — Cole will call the second-last game of his career on March 30 from Bell MTS Place, when the Jets host the Montreal Canadiens. We can't wait.

 


 

There's no doubt the NBA has been pretty action-packed lately, especially when it comes to off-the-court drama, juicy storylines and player movement. We can only hope the upcoming NHL trade deadline is half as newsworthy.

All of which prompted this very clever tweet recently, which perfectly summarized some of the differences between the two leagues. And, to be honest, got us wanting to get our hands on a Skrastins IcePigs jersey!

SHOOTOUT

Jets fans won’t have much sympathy for Jamie Benn and any pain or suffering the talented Dallas power forward endures during the NHL season. He’s usually a central figure in any on-ice shenanigans when the Jets and Stars tangle.

So, this will likely elicit some laughs and celebratory remarks when it’s viewed by Winnipeggers with a mad-on for a guy who lights it up on the scoreboard and wreaks havoc physically as well.

Here’s Benn getting accidentally clotheslined by a linesman earlier this week in the first period of the Stars 3-0 win over the host Florida Panthers.

That’s gotta hurt.

 


 

It's never a good thing when the action on the ice spills into the stands. But such was the case the other day in the USHL, as a Calgary Flames prospect named Martin Pospisil decided he'd had enough of a heckler.

Pospisil, a member of the Sioux City Musketeers, went after the Omaha Lancers supporter who appeared to throw some garbage in his direction.

Fortunately, a few level-headed spectators helped bring a quick end to a pretty ugly situation.

By the way, Pospisil was given a 12-game suspension as a result of this incident, plus the spearing penalty that landed him in the penalty box in the first place, PLUS abuse of officials.

That's quite a haul for one night.

 


 

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" and "Chase" — a.k.a. Mike and Jason — on Twitter. Mike is @mikemcintyrewpg, while Jason can be found @WFPJasonBell

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