Note: The Jets cancelled practice on Saturday and elected to fly straight to Ottawa where they will kick off a short, two-game road trip which features back-to-back games starting tonight in our nation’s capital. Morning skate gets underway at 10:30 AM CT so stay tuned for the pre-game report to get the full 411 ahead of the game against the Senators. Puck drop is at 6:30 PM CDT and following the final buzzer we want you to join the conversation on the Illegal Curve Post-Game Show.
Note II: With practice cancelled it was supposed to be a relatively quiet day in Jetsland yesterday but the fine folks at CapFriendly broke the news last night that Winnipeg had reportedly signed two of their European prospects to ELCs. They are future contracts starting next season for 2019 4th rounder Henri Nikkanen and 2020 2nd rounder Daniel Torgersson.
Note III: While the Jets were off the Moose were not and we found out in the morning that they only needed one point to clinch a playoff spot. That wouldn’t be easy going up against the top team in the division, especially when you consider they played the night before in Milwaukee and got pumped 7-2. It was a 0-0 game through 40 minutes and if not for Ville Heinola catching an edge which resulted in a shorthanded 3 on 1 for the Wolves the game may have gone to OT like that. Instead they needed to comeback and cue Leon Gawanke who blasted home the game-tying goal with 2:38 left in the 3rd which sent the game to extra time where Manitoba ultimately lost but it mattered not since they clinched a playoff spot with the single point.
Note IV: There was more than one Malott who punched his ticket last night. While Jeff and his Moose teammates were fighting their way to clinching a playoff spot, his brother Mike not only won his first UFC fight but then did something remarkable with his winnings as he “donates all his show money to his Coach, who’s daughter is battling childhood cancer”. Fans actually handed him money on the way out to help out this worthwhile cause.
Winnipeg Sun: A thought on Scheifele, Samberg’s poise and Barron’s emergence. In his Snapshots column Scott touches on a number of topics surrounding the local NHL club.
Winnipeg Free Press: Jets looking to future. (Paywall). As the season wraps up might we start to see a showcase of Jets prospects? One player I think absolutely needs to get in a game or two (and I said as much on yesterday’s Illegal Curve Hockey Show) is 2017 5th rounder Leon Gawanke who has had a bounce back season with the Moose and will not be waiver exempt next season. The organization needs to see what he can do at the NHL level. The left side prospects are all waiver exempt next year so there isn’t the same urgency as you have with Gawanke and even 2017 3rd rounder Johnny Kovacevic, who I suspect will be the Jets 6th/7th Dman in 2022-23.
Illegal Curve Hockey Show: Saturday Podcast. We had lots to discuss on yesterday’s show including a recap of the Jets OT loss to the Avalanche, whether it is time to bring up the prospects to get some NHL games for the final 10 games of the season, how many games Eric Comrie will play for rest of season and whether he is the long-term backup, Kyle Connor’s quest for 50, the points the Jets failed to secure in games that were winnable and the Moose magic number to clinch a playoff spot. We were joined by Jamie Thomas (CJOB 680) and Ian Mendes (The Athletic Ottawa).
Illegal Curve: Moose clinch a spot in the 2021-22 Calder Cup Playoffs. The impact this AHL post-season could have on the NHL team in Winnipeg could be felt for years to come.