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California dreamy, Sin City a bust

So, it was starting to look really easy for the Winnipeg Jets this week.

Turns out it was just some California dreaming, and they got a rude awakening Thursday in Vegas.

Jay (a.k.a. Chase) was perched high above all the action at T-Mobile Arena Thursday, and once the pre-game theatrics were finally over, got to witness one of the worst performances by the Jets from this season or last.

Granted, they were on the second half of a back to back after shutting out the Anaheim Ducks just 24 hours before, but this one was a mismatch not quite from the very start (Blake Wheeler got the better of Mark Stone in a short tussle 30 seconds into the game), but almost.

Wow, the Sin City squad has power and speed. Since Stone’s arrival they’re almost unbeatable, going 10 of 11, and the Golden Knights might just be the toast of the Western Conference for the second straight season.

The post-season chase for the Stanley Cup begins in just over two weeks, and while the Jets will be at the spring dance, their first-round partner is still TBD.

Dump and Chase will be front and centre at the downtown Winnipeg rink and wherever that opponent hangs its hat for as long as the Jets stay in the air.

Mike (a.k.a. Dump) likes the thought of Dallas or St. Louis because the Central time zone doesn’t complicate things from a deadline perspective, but Phoenix does offer the fun-in-the-sun factor, and Jay figures a golf game in April once the work is done doesn’t sound too bad at all.

We’ll know soon enough.

For now, settle in and enjoy the latest edition of our weekly interactive hockey almanac. The 23rd edition of this season, if you’re keeping score at home.

Pre-game warmup

It’s always good to stretch properly before a big game or practice, and the St. Louis Blues, one of the hottest teams in the NHL over the past few months, have it down pat. Pun very much intended.

Now that is one very good boy right there.

From pets to pests: Can someone give Brad Marchand his own reality show?

We can’t get enough of the bad boy Boston forward, who has been setting his sights lately on various teammates with a series of hilarious quips on social media.

Last week, Torey Krug was his focus as they traded barbs about each other’s size; this week, it was David Pastrnak, who just returned to the lineup (and Marchand’s line) following an extended injury absence.

As always seems to be the case, Marchand took the first shot. And it was a pretty good one.

Back came Pastrnak, who clearly didn’t get his nose out of joint. Ahem.

First Period

Kristian Vesalainen had a lot of Jets fans shaking their heads when he left the organization in November and headed back home to play in the KHL. He had an “out” clause in his contract and took full advantage, not wanting to continue spending time playing in the AHL with the Manitoba Moose.

With his Helsinki team now eliminated from the playoffs, Vesalainen returned to North American soil last week. Mike caught up with him following his first game back with the Moose last Sunday, where it appears any hard feelings are now water under the bridge.

Two nights later, Vesalainen had a lot of Jets fans shaking their heads again — this time in disbelief as he scored a wonderful overtime winner against the San Diego Gulls.

Vesalainen, still just 19, showed off some impressive power moves as he won a puck battle, beat a defender and cut hard to the net to give his team a much-needed victory as they try to stay alive in the playoff race. 

Speaking of the Moose, there was a series of strange events in Sunday’s game against the San Diego Gulls that Mike witnessed.

A bit of background is required: Jake Dotchin had his contract terminated by Tampa last fall for reportedly coming into camp out of shape. He later signed with Anaheim, and is now playing for their AHL team in San Diego.

Moose forward Ryan White scored a goal with Dotchin on the ice, and the two players nearly came to blows seconds later as White clearly mimed having a big fat stomach to Dotchin. Both were penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct.

But wait, there was more.

In the final moments of the game, Dotchin scored an empty-net goal to clinch a 4-1 victory for his team. Dotchin then did a fly-by the Manitoba bench, rubbing his stomach the whole way. Touche.

Following the game, Mike spoke to White about went what down. And the veteran forward didn’t disappoint with his explanation.

Second period

There’s no question hockey coaches often take issue with the officiating. They’ll yell and scream and rant and rave until they’re blue in the face, always to no avail.

Not exactly breaking news there, right?

Well, one bench boss took things to new heights this week when, upset with how things were playing out in front of him, whipped out his cellphone and called up the league supervisor to complain about the refereeing.

Miroslav Frycer, a former NHLer now coaching HC Orli Znojmo in the Austrian League, claims he was just taking advantage of what the supervisor told him prior to the playoff game, which his team ultimately lost 5-2.

“He said to me, I can call him anytime, if something does not suit me. And at that moment, that did not suit me at all and that’s why I tried to reach him,” said Frycer, who may have taken things in a way they likely weren’t intended.

Much to his chagrin, his in-game plea went unanswered.

“I know he was there, but apparently, he just talks nice and when it comes to something, he is not reachable. He just did not lift off,” he said.

Go figure — the coach still isn’t getting any calls.

Our favourite bunch of jerks are at it again.

Following their shootout victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier this week, the Carolina Hurricanes went retro with their latest Storm Surge celebration.

And this one really quacked us up.

Expect Don Cherry to be flapping his gums — and maybe his arms — again on Saturday night.

Third period

We’ve already seen what one grassroots movement can do when it came to getting noted enforcer John Scott voted into the NHL All-Star game a few years back.

Well, another such campaign is underway, this time to get New York Islanders depth defenceman Adam Pelech on the cover of the next edition of the popular EA Sports NHL video game franchise.

“Adam Pelech is a beast, yet somehow he has never made the cover of an NHL game. He’s been present in the franchise for years, but EA has never given him the respect he deserves. Pelech is a future Norris-winner and his #3 and #50 will surely see the rafters of Adam Pelech Arena at Belmont Park. EA has chosen to completely ignore this fact, and it’s completely unacceptable. Sign this petition to give Adam the justice he deserves,” the online plea reads.

Pelech, 24, has 11 goals and 37 assists in 201 career games.

“I have a mild panic attack every time I touch the puck, so I see myself in Pelech. Put him on the box,” one supporter wrote on the petition.

Great moment at Bell MTS Place last week when a father and son in the crowd held up a copy of an old Free Press newspaper featuring a younger version of themselves, on the front page, at a Jets game.

Talk about a blast from the past!


We’ve seen plenty of examples over the years where two players who are otherwise friendly off the ice get into a scrap during a game.

Hey, it happens. Tempers flare, emotions get the best of everyone and the gloves can come off.

But this may be one of the wildest ones we’ve seen. Turns out Patrick Maroon of the St. Louis Blues and Zack Kassian of the Edmonton Oilers are still the best of buddies and had dinner together before their teams faced-off the following night.

And then, in an apparent attempt to fire up their respective benches, they went at it.

Not surprisingly, there were no apparent hard feelings.

Is it just our imagination, or do the Jets not play very well when wearing their alternate Aviator jerseys this season?

Turns out the numbers back this up, as Mike discovered prior to Saturday’s game against Calgary.

Of course, the Jets went on to beat the Flames, improving their record to 7-5-1 in the other duds. They’ll wear them one more time, on Monday against Dallas.

Finding your way around an NHL rink for the first time can be a challenging experience. Both Mike and Jay have discovered that over the last few years as they became regulars on the Free Press Jets beat.

Sara Civian, a first-year beat reporter covering the Carolina Hurricanes, got a funny conversation started the other day when she Tweeted about her experiences.

Her musings prompted Mike to weigh in with a recent “alarming” story of his own from a couple weeks ago in Washington.


There’s no question Mathieu Perreault is one of the bigger personalities on the Jets. He’s usually a great interview and often has plenty to say about his play, his teammates and other subjects under the sun.

Not surprisingly, he’s a pretty good chirper on the ice as well, as we discovered last week when he was mic’d up for a game against the Boston Bruins.

Speaking of good on-ice talkers, remember the father who mic’d up his four-year-old son during a recent Timbits practice?

The result was comedy gold, of course. And there’s plenty of good new material to work with after he did it again during a recent game, while also attaching a Go-Pro to his boy’s helmet.


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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