December 16, 2019

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Dump & Chase

Jets on a break, but we're not

The Dump & Chase administrative staff somehow missed a memo.

Because of that, Mike and Jay made their way downtown Monday and Tuesday mornings to check out Winnipeg Jets practice and were met by an empty building. Then they headed west and battled heavy traffic on Portage Avenue en route to the Iceplex. Again, no Jets.

Finally, we remembered Wednesday the NHL club is off for seven-days for some kind of league-mandated bye week that also includes a break for players not participating in the All-Star Weekend in San Jose, Calif.

The memories aren’t as sharp as they used to be, but neither was Winnipeg (badum-CHING) in its final game prior to the respite.

Sputtering on takeoff, the Jets fell behind 3-0 to the Stars after two periods Saturday and scored a pair of goals in the final frame but eventually fell 4-2 in Dallas. The defeat came 48 hours after an impressive 5-1 victory over the Nashville Predators.

Still, no hand-wringing’s required when it comes to the Central Division leaders, who possess a 31-15-2 record and have four games in hand on the Preds. Winnipeg is back at it Monday in Philadelphia against a pretty dreadful Flyers squad and then head over to Boston for a game against the always-testy Bruins on Tuesday.

The Jets are finally back on home ice on Thursday, Jan. 31 when the Columbus Blue Jackets pay a visit.

Jay and Mike will both be there, assuming one doesn’t wind up at Marshalls department store on Maroons Road looking for the Winnipeg Arena media entrance.

Pre-game warmup

Who's ready for the All-Star game???!!!

If you just yawned and shrugged your shoulders, know that you're not alone. The annual event has lost a lot of its lustre, if it really had any to begin with, but we found at least one person who's pretty pumped about this year's showcase in San Jose.

That's right, everyone's favourite mascot Gritty is bringing his A game to Northern California, not to mention a whole lot of other items that are bordering on the absurd.

For what it's worth, Gritty might want to see a medical professional if that rash doesn't go away soon.


Jets head coach Paul Maurice had quite the audience Monday.

Maurice, who’s closing in on his 1,500th game behind the bench as an NHL head coach, was a featured guest on the Jim Rome syndicated radio show out of Los Angeles. Rome is one of sports radio’s most recognizable and respected personalities, and his show is heard by millions on CBS Sports Network.

During the nearly 12-minute segment, Rome asked Maurice to discuss his upcoming gig as coach of the Central Division team at the All-Star Weekend, the state of the high-flying Jets, winger Patrik Laine’s recent struggles to score, his coaching resume and the hockey-crazed community he and his family now call home.

You can listen to the full segment here

First period

Mike and Jay are both proud, card-carrying members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, and as Uncle Ben once told Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spider-Man, "With great power comes great responsibility."

And so the dynamic duo put a lot of thought earlier this week into their ballots for the PHWA mid-season awards, which took the pulse of hockey writers across North America. Full results were released Thursday, which you can read about here.

In the meantime, and in the interest of full transparency not to mention the fact they were desperate for space-filling content this week, here's how Mike and Jay voted.

Commence the mocking and ridiculing!

Hart trophy for most valuable player

Mike: Johnny Gaudreau, Nikita Kucherov, Connor McDavid

Jason: Nikita Kucherov, Johnny Gaudreau, Nathan MacKinnon

Norris trophy for best overall defenceman

Mike: Mark Giordano, Morgan Rielly, John Carlson

Jason: Mark Giordano, Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns

Calder trophy for best rookie

Mike: Elias Pettersson, Rasmus Dahlin, Brady Tkachuk

Jason: Elias Pettersson, Brady Tkachuk, Rasmus Dahlin

Lady Byng trophy for most sportsmanlike player

Mike: Aleksander Barkov, Morgan Rielly, Auston Matthews

Jason: Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau, Brayden Point

Selke trophy for best defensive forward

Mike: Elias Lindholm, Brayden Point, Mark Stone

Jason: Patrice Bergeron, Brayden Point, Mark Scheifele

Vezina trophy for best goalie

Mike: Frederik Andersen, Ben Bishop, Marc-Andre Fleury

Jason: Frederik Andersen, Andrei Vasilevskiy, Marc-Andre Fleury

Jack Adams award for best coach

Mike: Barry Trotz, Bill Peters, Jon Cooper

Jason: Barry Trotz, Bill Peters, Jon Cooper

GM of the year award

Mike: Kevin Cheveldayoff, Brad Treliving, George McPhee

Jason: Brad Treliving, Jason Botterill, Kyle Dubas

Rod Langway award for best defensive defenceman

Mike: Ryan Ellis, TJ Brodie, Victor Hedman

Jason: Ryan McDonagh, Ryan Ellis, Brian Dumoulin

Comeback player of the year award

Mike: Robin Lehner, Zach Parise, Max Domi

Jason: Robin Lehner, Jeff Skinner, Jonathan Toews

Second period

Is there anything more exciting than a tie game?

Be still your beating heart, right?

Of course, NHL fans no longer have to worry about that after the league introduced three-on-three overtime followed by the shootout to ensure every game has both a winner and a loser.

Not so in college hockey, where a dreaded draw is still a potential outcome. And in this absolutely fantastic clip, Air Force coach Frank Serratore clearly has his tongue firmly planted in cheek as he discussed the merits of sending fans on their way with nothing actually settled.


This heart-warmer needs very little explanation.

The other day, Tomas Rittich, the younger brother of Calgary Flames goalie David Rittich, had the chance to meet Harvey the Hound, the team mascot.

David says he draws strength every day from Tomas, who has autism along with other developmental issues, and just wanted to do something special for him, so he set up the surprise meeting.

The video has gone viral – for good reason.

"It was a nice video, but I didn’t want to make it too public and didn’t want to show it to everyone," David told reporters. "I wanted to make it a surprise for him and just meet with Harvey the Hound because he loves him. Right now, (the video is) kind of all over the place."

We get it if you’re not a Flames fan, but appreciate and respect David Rittich not just for his top-quality performances between the pipes (he’s won seven of his lasts eight starts, he’s 19-4-4 with a 2.47 goals-against average and .918 save percentage), but for being a top-quality big brother.


 

A couple hours to the north of Calgary, the Edmonton Oilers finally pulled the plug on general manager Peter Chiarelli Tuesday night -- during the second intermission of what would a 3-2 loss to the lowly Detroit Red Wings.

Ouch.

Of course, for many fans of the once-proud franchise, it was a move they've been waiting a long time for. The Oilers have become the laughing stock of the league.

The most scathing criticism came from ex-NHL star Jeremy Roenick, who absolutely destroyed the Oilers during the broadcast of the game, pulling no punches in what he was seeing on the ice.

Mike weighed in on the mess as well, taking a look at Chiarelli's downfall from a Winnipeg perspective. As he noted in his column, there was a time not very long ago where Chiarelli and Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff were in similar situations. Of course, look at them now.

Third period

The Manitoba Moose are on a roll these days, going 6-0-2 over the past eight games to get back into the playoff hunt after a slow start to the season.

A big part of that is the play of Eric Comrie, as Mike wrote about earlier this week. The fourth-year pro could be an interesting trade chip for the Jets going forward.

Manitoba has also been getting plenty of contributions from several newcomers they've brought up from the ECHL and signed to pro tryouts following injuries and call-ups.

One of them, Chris Collins, made quite the impression this past week. No, we're not talking about his first-ever AHL goal he scored for the Moose, but rather his incredible celebratory GIF posted by the team's Twitter account.


Mathew Maione is well past the point of playing his way into the NHL, but he played his way into the hearts of Russian hockey fans recently.

By playing guitar, that is.

The 28-year-old from Toronto, a defenceman with Riga Dynamo of the Kontinental Hockey League, was participating in the league’s all-star skills competition and literally stole the show when he performed a cool rendition of The Lumineers’ tune Hey, Ho at centre ice.

Next up for Maione, a former University of Prince Edward Islander Panthers blue-liner? Professional Mathieu Perreault impersonator.

Separated at birth, perhaps?

Overtime

New York slugger Aaron Judge has his own section at Yankee Stadium, aptly named "Judge's Chambers." Now some creative fans in Dallas have come up with their own version, sort of, for No. 1 goalie Ben Bishop.

That's right, meet Ben's Bishops.

With these guys cheering on the Stars, opponents don't have a prayer.


Speaking of baseball, the Jets ventured into Dallas on a night when the Stars paid tribute to the Texas Rangers of MLB’s American League West division.

During the pre-game skate, the Stars wore special blue Rangers jerseys, while Texas players Joey Gallo, Delino DeShields and Rougned Odor showed for the game in Stars sweaters...

 ...helped pump up the Stars before the game and participated in a ceremonial puck drop.
 
 

The Stars announcer had some fun when he introduced Odor, noting the second baseman has a "sick right hook." Toronto Blue Jays fans know exactly what he was referring to.

 

Shootout

Morgan Wood was just there to watch a Minnesota State hockey game, but at her boyfriend's urging, she entered an in-game contest to win a chance to shoot for $30,000 at the intermission.

When her name got called, she tried to get her boyfriend to take her spot. He encouraged her to go for it, saying there was nothing to lose and everything to gain.

The rest, as they say, is history.


We love quality trash talking. And so we had to tip our caps this week to Jack Eichel, who had a good line when he came across former teammate Evander Kane during the pre-game warm-up.

In a nutshell, No. 9 wasn't captain material until Kane vacated the jersey and Eichel took it over.


Remember when 36-year-old accountant Scott Foster became a household name last season when he was forced to dress as the emergency backup goalie for the Chicago Blackhawks, then actually pressed into game action against the Winnipeg Jets and stopped every shot he faced in the third period?

It was a great story, of course, and while this isn't quite the same, it's every bit as heartwarming.

Meet Bill Parsley, an 85-year-old netminder who still plays recreational hockey and was honoured last week prior to a Boston Bruins game. Parsley skated out with the team prior to their game and stood side-by-side with Tuukka Rask as part of Hockey Is For Everyone night.

As Parsley proved, it certainly is for everyone.

 

 


 

 

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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