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About "ted-wyman"

Ted Wyman has been sports editor of the Winnipeg Sun since 2006 and has been with the sports department since 2003. He is a born and raised Manitoban who grew up as a sports fan in Winnipeg and now has 20 years of sports writing experience.

Jets need a trade

- November 7th, 2011

The Jets need a trade.

This team needs to shake things up offensively and there are a few players who look like they could use a change of scenery.

It’s definitely too early to make any panic moves — the Jets have not been a bad team, just inconsistent over the first month of the season — but you can’t be patient forever.

Here are a few players the Jets should consider moving, if there’s any way they can get decent value in return:

C Bryan Little
Little came into training camp saying all the right things but there’s something very wrong with his game. Projected as the first line centre, Little has no goals and just three assists this season, continuing a downward spiral that has existed since he scored 31 goals three years ago in Atlanta. He’s been stuck on 31 goals since then for quite some time. Little is still young and should have some trade value despite his recent struggles.

RW Blake WheelerWheeler has shown some flashes of good play but still hasn’t scored and hasn’t been anywhere near as physical as the Jets need him to be. He’s already been relagated to fourth-line minutes on many nights. Wheeler looked poised for a breakout season after he posted 17 points in 23 games with the Thrashers last season, but he’s taken a big step back. With Eric Fehr returning to the lineup soon, the Jets are going to have an abundance of right wingers, and Wheeler may have some decent trade value.

D Dustin Byfuglien
It would be difficult for the Jets to trade Big Buff for a variety of reasons. He hasn’t played very well this season, but has potential to be the kind of difference maker they need. Also, he makes $5.2 million per year and has a long-term contract, which most teams would shy away from. It would be great if the Jets could just snap their fingers and deal Byfuglien for a top-line forward, but the NHL doesn’t work that way any more. Don’t see it happening, but if he keeps playing the way he has lately, the Jets will have to at least consider the possibility at some point this season. Byfuglien also has a modified No Trade Clause, in which he can submit a five-team no-trade list each year.

D Ron Hainsey

Hainsey played well for the Jets until he got hurt and they’ll be happy to get him back in the lineup. However, Hainsey’s the kind of veteran defenceman a lot of teams could use and it might make sense for the Jets to deal him for forward who can contribute some offence. The Jets have tons of blue-line depth so it makes sense to deal from there. Hainsey makes $4.5 million this year and next and has a No Trade Clause by which he can submit a list of 15 teams he will accept a trade to. Those factors could make him difficult to move.

C Nik Antropov
His contract is for $4 million a year and he has this year and next left on the deal. Antropov has played well and is the Jets leading scorer, but he could be shopped at the trade deadline if the Jets are sellers. Antropov has a modified No Trade Clause.

D Johhny Oduya

Another player who could be moved at the trade deadline or sooner. Oduya is a serviceable defenceman with skills at both ends of the ice, but he’s an unrestricted free agent after this season. The Jets will have to consider moving him if they are out of playoff contention.

G Chris Mason
Mason’s a solid backup and would be on any team, which is why the Jets could move the UFA-to-be. Again, nothing is likely to be done until the Jets establish whether or not they are going to be playoff contenders.

Overachievers, underachievers

- November 1st, 2011

Through the first 11 games of Winnipeg Jets 2.0 history, there have been surprises and disappointments, with unexpected names at the top and bottom of the scoring list.

Here’s our take on the Jets players who have performed better than expected, worse than expected and just about how we expected:

BETTER THAN EXPECTED

Nik Antropov

Alex Burmistrov

Kyle Wellwood

Tanner Glass

Zach Bogosian

Mark Stuart

Jim Slater

NOTES: Antropov leads Jets with 10 points, while Burmistrov has nine. Wellwood leads team with five goals and Glass, signed for his gritiness, already has six points. Bogosian was advertised as a turnover machine, but he’s been strong of late, throwing his weight around and showing off a big shot. Stuart has been one of the Jets best players period, a physical force and shot-blocking specialist. Defensive centre Slater has produced four goals.

WORSE THAN EXPECTED

Blake Wheeler

Bryan Little

Johnny Oduya

Dustin Byfuglien

Ondrej Pavelec

NOTES: Wheeler and Little still have bagels in the goal scoring department, Oduya has had a lot of bad giveways and Byfuglien is not living up to his 20-goal, 53-point performance from last season. Pavelec is getting better but has had a few rough outings

ABOUT WHAT WE EXPECTED

Tobias Enstrom

Evander Kane

Andrew Ladd

Ron Hainsey

Tim Stapleton

Chris Thorburn

Randy Jones

Derek Meech

Kenndal McArdle

Ben Maxwell

Chris Mason

NOTES: In the cases of Enstrom, Kane and Ladd, we expected a lot and they have delivered. Hainsey and Mason have been solid but unspectacular, which is what you would expect from veteran players, while we didn’t expect much from Stapleton, Meech, McArdle and Maxwell, and so far we haven’t seen much. Thorburn could be producing more offensively, but he’s played his checking role well.

Huge week for Jets

- October 18th, 2011

Some thoughts on the Jets big win over the Penguins on Monday and their 1-3 start in general.

This is a huge week for the Jets. They started it off on the right foot with a win over the injury-ravaged Penguins, but they still have three more games this week and the results could have a major impact on their season. Beat Toronto, Ottawa and Carolina and the Jets will be 4-3 and looking very good going forward. Lose all three and they’ll be 1-6 and … well, we don’t need to say what that would mean. There’s a good chance the Jets could go 2-1 the rest of the week, playing a weak Ottawa team Thursday and then playing Carolina at home on Friday. The Leafs are off to a hot start and pose definite threat, so the Jets will have to keep up the intensity they showed Monday night.

Great performances by Ondrej Pavelec, Alex Burmistrov (and his linemates Nik Antropov and Kyle Wellwood) and the Jets defence as a whole in the win over the Penguins. Hate to temper the excitement surrounding
the Jets first win, but there are still some major issues with this team. For one, they still aren’t scoring much. Just two goals against the Penguins and no power-play goals. Still no power play goals (0-for-17) on the season, which is not good. Also, Pavelec had to make an awful lot of point-blank saves. If he hadn’t been on, it could have been another long night for the Jets.

We have to point out that the Penguins were ravaged by injuries and were playing without two of the best players in the league, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. They are still a good team though, so you have to give the Jets credit for getting it done.

Kris Letang will have to pay a visit to NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan after his hit from behind on Burmistrov Monday night. Could be a suspension for a couple of games. Too bad, because Letang has been one of the best players in the NHL so far this year.

A buddy of mine is a big Kyle Wellwood fan (I’m not kidding) and I have to admit he’s been pretty good so far this season. Seems to be responsible in his own end and has contributed nicely on offence. Other than tripping over the blue-line on a breakaway, Wellwood has been solid.

Note to Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler. Any time you guys want to show up is fine.

Judging from responses to tweets I put out Monday, a ton of fans want to see the Jets move Dustin Byfuglien to forward. Don’t think it’s in the plans just yet, but don’t be surprised if he sees some time up front at some point this season, especially on the putrid power play.

Odds not in Jets’ favour

- October 5th, 2011

It seems the oddsmakers don’t like the Winnipeg Jets chances of winning the Stanley Cup, or even making the playoffs, for that matter.

We checked a dozen betting websites this week and the best odds we could find for the Jets to win the Stanley Cup were 50/1. Popular site Bodog.ca, which might be the most widely used betting site for the NHL, put the Jets at 60/1.

The betting site has established Vancouver and Washington as the most likely teams to win the Stanley Cup, with 7/1 odds, followed by the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins at 10/1.

In terms of prop bets, Bodog set the Jets over-under for points at 85 1/2 (they would likely need to be over that number to get in the post-season). They set the Jets odds of winning the Southeast Division at 30/1, tied for the longest odds with the Florida Panthers. The Washington Capitals are 2/5 favourites, followed by Tampa Bay at 9/4 and Carolina at 15/1.

On the question of whether the Jets will make the playoffs, Winnipeg is +475 on yes and -700 on no. By comparison, Vancouver is -1200 on yes and +650 on no. Only the Florida Panthers and Colorado Avalanche were given longer odds of making the playoffs than the Jets.

All that being said, the Jets are expected to be an improved team from last season and there are plenty of reasons to believe they can contend for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

It will take a boost in offence (which could come from players like Bryan Little, Evander Kane, Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele) and a clamp down on defence. The Jets were second last in the league last year in goals against, but they have a veteran defence and goaltending tandem and they should improve in that area.

We like their chances of sneaking into the playoffs, but it is a very difficult thing to do in a strong conference. Extended slumps like they had last year in Atlanta, simply will not do.

Maxwell used to adversity

- September 28th, 2011

Jets centre Ben Maxwell looked like he couldn’t believe it when he got stymied on a wide-open net from the crease in the first period Wednesday night when his stick got lifted by Brandon Sutter of the Hurricanes.

Then again, Maxwell has learned to take everything in stride when it comes to his attempts to find full-time work in the NHL.
Maxwell was traded to the Thrashers from the Habs at the trade deadline last season, and after a slow start, posted a goal and an assist in 12 games.
“I got down there and sat out about eight straight games,” said Maxwell, who also played 13 games with the Habs in 2009-10. “After that I played a dozen in a row and I played well enough to stay in the lineup. I felt good at the end of the season and hopefully I can carry it over to this year.”
The North Vancouver, B.C. product is once again in a dog-fight to make it to The Show, this time with the Jets.
“If I’m going to fit in with this team it’s gonna be in a third, fourth-line, checking role and hopefully I can once again prove that I can play there,” said Maxwell, who scored his first goal of the pre-season Monday in St. John’s.

Maxwell’s play has been good so far, but earning a spot among the bottom-6 forwards on the Jets will be no easy task.

Winnipegger Gregoire hanging in

- September 28th, 2011

Winnipegger Jason Gregoire survived the first round of Jets cuts on Tuesday and now has two pre-season games left to try to earn spot with the big club.

The left-winger has one point in two pre-season games so far but has made enough of an impression on the coaching staff to earn playing time Wednesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes at MTS Centre.

“The name of the game for guys in my situation is to last as long as you possibly can,” Gregoire said Wednesday after the game-day skate. “It’s cool knowing the coaches like what they see and want to get another look. That’s what tonight is all about, to see if I can play and I have to prove that.

“I need to make the most of the opportunities I get and Wednesday is a big one obviously for a lot of us sticking around.”

Gregoire, who had 25 goals in 35 games with the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux last season, is one of 19 forwards still in Jets training camp and there will be at least six more cuts.

“If I have to go to St. John’s, I’m cool with that,” Gregoire said. “Whatever is best for me, the coaches will make the best decision. I’ll be disappointed if I have to go, but not upset whatsoever, because I know I’m going to go down there, progress, get better an always have a chance to get called back up.”

Gregoire is relishing the opportunity to play in these pre-season games in front of his hometown fans.

“It’s so much fun going out there, playing the game you love, in your hometown. Not many people get to do that.”

Banana incident disgraceful

- September 23rd, 2011

It’s hard to believe the banana-throwing incident involving Philadelphia Flyers player Wayne Simmonds happened in Canada.

I’m not naive enough to believe Canadians are incapable of such hatred, but it’s still surprising and shocking to see blatant racism like that in our own backyard, during our own national pastime.

Still, this was not the first incident of racism I encountered this week when it comes to hockey. Earlier in the week, a fan who was upset about not getting tickets for Jets games left a message on my answering machine.

Most of it is not fit for print, but here’s the gist of it:

“Mark Chipman can take that (F bomb) (N bomb) hockey team of his and shove it up his ass.”

We presume this idiot who left the message is referring to the fact the Jets have four black players (Johnny Oduya, Dustin Byfuglien, Evander Kane and Kenndal McArdle). As if the colour of their skin has anything whatsoever to do with their ability to play hockey. Give your head a shake, buddy.

Why do people descend to the lowest level when they are angry about something?

Lots of people leave offensive messages on my machine. When you’re sports editor of a newspaper, you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

But this one was particularly disturbing. Made me sick actually.

And so does the incident in London, Ont., where some fan probably thought he was being funny, but ended up making our entire country look bad.

Nice job.