The first day of Winnipeg Jets 2013-14 training camp is in the books, the buzz is in the air, and Jets coach Claude Noel is already proffering a voice of restraint.
Yes, fans and media are clamouring to know where Mark Scheifele might land, if he could be the centre Evander Kane has needed, or how the glut of defencemen in training camp might shake out. But for now, Noel said, the process must play on.
"We certainly feel the excitement everybody has, but right now, it's just we'll take it one day at a time, one game at a time, and we'll go from there," Noel said, after being asked about where on the roster Scheifele might fit.
Noel said he was pleased with the first day of that process though, one which saw the club focus on defensive coverage and run a scrimmage between two of its three training camp groups. A couple of hundred fans turned out to MTS Iceplex to watch the sessions and the scrimmage go down.
There wasn't much physicality yet, with players still feeling the soreness of Wednesday's fitness testing, but some still took a few hits: Scheifele turned up before the media with medical tape over a split and bloody lip, after taking a stick to the face during the morning scrimmage.
Still, where Noel wasn't ready to speculate about where Scheifele might land, the 20-year-old has a place in mind, right between Kane and slick-shooting Devin Setoguchi.
"To be able to play with players like that, unbelievable scorers, it would be an honour to play with those guys," he said.
Though the weight of expectations must weigh heavy on Scheifele's shoulders, Jets captain Andrew Ladd said he thought the young forward would handle it well.
But now, Ladd said, the Jets must step up in training camp from a "tentative" start on Thursday, and ramp up the physicality.
"The biggest thing is the contact," he said. "You go a whole summer without hitting."