Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Posted: 01/18/2014 6:02 PM | Comments: 0
Last Modified: 01/18/2014 10:55 PM | Updates
They are still too young to get into some bars on the road and still so fresh-faced they need to bust out the razor only a couple of times a month.
And maybe, just maybe, Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba are also a little too naive to really understand the significance of their contributions to the Winnipeg Jets in their rookie campaigns.
But damned if their teammates, the Jets’ brass and their faithful aren’t enjoying watching the two young guns grow up before their very eyes right now.
The two Jets’ 2.0 first-round draft picks — Scheifele in 2011, Trouba a year later — accounted for all three goals in the home side’s 3-2 overtime win over the Edmonton Oilers in downtown Winnipeg Saturday afternoon, the third straight under new boss Paul Maurice.
Scheifele scored his ninth of the season while Trouba potted his sixth and seventh, including the winner 70 seconds into overtime — all this with his dad visiting and in the crowd.
"It’s good to see him and it’s good to play well in front of him," beamed Trouba afterward. "I don’t do that very often. It was fun. I enjoyed it, it’s good to have family here, my teammates were pretty excited. I think we’ve got a good thing going here and we’re building in the right direction, that’s for sure."
Asked when he last scored an OT winner, Trouba added:
"I don’t know. I don’t know if I’ve ever had one, to be honest with you. I don’t think so."
His last two-goal game, then?
"I don’t remember that one, either. They don’t happen very often."
Scheifele’s goal was his first on home ice and he is now on a three-game point streak (2G, 2A) over the last three games. Only two NHL freshmen — Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon and Tampa’s Tyler Johnson, both with 29 points — have more points than Scheifele’s 27 (9G, 18A).
Interestingly, in five of the six games in which Trouba has scored this year, Scheifele has also found the back of the net.
"We just push each other. Whenever he scores, I want to score. I don’t want to be shown up by him," said Scheifele with a grin. "And whenever I score, he wants to score. It’s good.
"It was pretty cool tonight. Jacob got two really, really big goals and had an unbelievable game. It’s just a matter of we want to win. That’s the main thing. We want to be part of a winning team and we want to be able to do whatever it takes to win."
Maurice has been asked for his take on just about every player on the Jets’ roster in his six days on the job. After Saturday’s win, and the work of the two youngsters, Maurice said:
"I think I’ve got 20 of ‘em. So, I don’t know... I’ve been here for a week. I showed up the first day and they looked like good players. And nothing’s changed my mind. They’re good players.
"They’re just on the team. It’s not like there’s a kiddie section in the locker room and we feed them. They're just one of the guys for me."
The Jets were 0-for-5 on the power play but, thanks to some brilliant work by Bryan Little on Trouba's first goal — the Jets’ fourth short-handed marker of the season — the team was able to draw even with Edmonton early in the third period.
And what Maurice had to like was his team’s resiliency, both after falling behind 1-0 but also after giving up the equalizer with two minutes remaining.
Again, though, this day was about the Jets’ future on display in the present.
"I was telling Scheifs the other day on the bench... he’s flying out there and has got a lot of confidence going," said Blake Wheeler. "I’m just trying to keep building him up and let him know that he’s going to be The Man here soon enough. He’s not The Man yet, but one day real soon Scheifs and Troubs are going to be the guys with the reins on this team.
"There’s a couple of young kids that have a special ability. They do things out there that not everyone can do and to have them on your side is extremely exciting for the present but also for the future. You look at those guys... look at Troubs and the amount of confidence he plays with right now. You add a couple years of experience, a couple years of making that body look a little less like a boy and a little bit more like a man and you’ve got an unstoppable player.
"It’s a lot of fun to have those guys on your side."
Updated on Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 7:57 PM CST: Adds slideshow.
10:55 PM: Fixes typo in Scheifele quote.
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