Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Scheifele’s dominance makes Jets look wise

  • Print

GOLFING, fishing, picking out china patterns — who knows what most of the Winnipeg Jets are up to these days? But one of their future teammates is getting better with each passing game.

Mark Scheifele is pushing and dragging his Barrie Colts toward an Ontario Hockey League championship and a berth in Saskatoon’s Memorial Cup. He’s playing hockey deep into May and thriving in the most competitive atmosphere his level has to offer.

The Jets wanted Scheifele to go back to junior and dominate. To grow as a player, both physically and mentally. He’s done it all. Scheifele has never, until now, been the very best player in his age group. Allowing him to return to junior and develop at his own pace has allowed for a transformation from solid to superior.

"He’s becoming wise to the game," said Colts coach and Jets legend Dale Hawerchuk. "It’s a long grind and it’s an opportunity to test yourself and improve yourself, and he’s taken advantage of it. I’ve always believed in Mark’s ability and that he was going to grow. Now he’s doing it in a pressurized environment. It’s allowed him to grow all aspects of his game."

Argue about Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff’s decision to select Scheifele with the seventh pick in the 2011 NHL entry draft all you like. But the decision to send him back to junior to further his development is looking beyond wise.

The 20-year-old centre is now dominating and adding the gleam of confidence and winning to his skill set. Scheifele is no longer a very good player. A this point in time, he’s the best in his league and maybe in the country.

Comeback

The Jets selected Scheifele for his upside, which he is now beginning to show. Four goals in the third period on Wednesday night to lead his Colts to a 6-4 comeback win gives Scheifele 15 goals in 19 playoff games and 39 points. Four more points and he’ll tie Cameron Mann for third all-time in OHL playoff scoring.

The Colts now lead the London Knights 3-1 in the best-of-seven series, with the winner advancing to the Memorial Cup.

"Mark has made a very big step since the world juniors," said Steve Spott, head coach of the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers an1d Team Canada at last winter’s IIHF world junior tournament. "The emergence of Mark will bode very well for him next year when he gets to Winnipeg. The mental part of the game is so important, and right now he’s in a real good place. He’s dangerous every time he’s out on the ice. He’s developing at an entirely different level right now."

How all this translates to the pro game remains to be seen, but the Jets can be assured they’ve done everything to help him develop. They can look around the junior landscape and confidently say their prospect is among the very best at that level.

The Knights are viewed in the OHL as the more talented and balanced team, but Scheifele has taken over the series.

"I’ve watched and talked to lots of other OHL guys and they’ve all said the same thing," said Spott. "Mark has been the difference in the series. He definitely has been the best player in the series and given Barrie a chance to win a championship."

Maybe Scheifele would have thrived in the NHL if given more time to catch on, but nothing in his performance suggested that when Cheveldayoff sent him back to junior. Instead, he’s been given the chance to play in critical moments and find out how he handles them. Brilliantly, it would seem.

 

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @garylawless

History

Updated on Friday, May 10, 2013 at 7:58 AM CDT: corrects Scheifele's age to 20

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Rumor's 30th Anniversary with Mike Wilmot, Darryl Lenox, Dave Hemstad & Derek Edwards

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Two baby tigers were unveiled at the Assiniboine Park Zoo this morning, October 3rd, 2011. (TREVOR HAGAN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A squirrel enjoys the morning sunshine next to the duck pond in Assiniboine Park Wednesday– June 27, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

About Gary Lawless

Gary Lawless is the Free Press sports columnist and co-host of the Hustler and Lawless show on TSN 1290 Winnipeg and www.winnipegfreepress.com
Lawless began covering sports as a rookie reporter at The Chronicle-Journal in Thunder Bay after graduating from journalism school at Durham College in Ontario.
After a Grey Cup winning stint with the Toronto Argonauts in the communications department, Lawless returned to Thunder Bay as sports editor.
In 1999 he joined the Free Press and after working on the night sports desk moved back into the field where he covered pro hockey, baseball and football beats prior to being named columnist.

Poll

Should the federal government force band chiefs and councillors to disclose their salary information?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google