It was late on a Friday night in June at the NHL Draft when a good chunk of the hockey media got their first glimpse of Mark Scheifele, the Winnipeg Jets’ first draft pick.
And if first impressions count for anything, the Barrie Colts centre is going to have a lot of fans rooting for him simply because of his infectious personality, let alone his developing skill set.
Many kids at the draft react to the spotlight by staring blankly into the row of TV cameras and microphones, mumbling one-word answers that are barely audible. And then there was Scheifele, who reacted as if he was a nine-year-old kid who just scrambled downstairs on Christmas morning to discover every toy he could possibly have imagined strewn out under the tree.
He gushed about being the "first" Jet to be drafted in their rebirth; about playing for Jets’ legend Dale Hawerchuk in Barrie and his long-term goals. And he did it all through a smile we’re quite sure might still be dominating his face as we speak.
A couple of weeks ago I chatted with him on the phone while he was at Team Canada’s World Junior development camp. Still sounded happy. And if you read this piece, courtesy hockeysfuture.com, it’s easy to get a sense his enthusiasm still hasn’t waned.
Good story here from NHL.com on the league’s research and development camp in Etobicoke on the topic of overtime formats, including some quotes from Jets’ GM Kevin Cheveldayoff near the bottom.
I saw Brendan Shanahan -- the NHL Senior Vice President of Player Safety and Hockey Operations – on the tube last night talking about some of the recommendations. The biggest possible change/innovation for me was the green verification line the league is experimenting with and will likely be put in place in time for this season. The key here is to take the term ‘inconclusive’ out of so many goal reviews and that would be huge from this perch. After all, there’s nothing more frustrating that seeing a play sent to the command centre in football or hockey only to have the ref then skate to centre ice or back onto the field and then say the video evidence was inconclusive.
Here’s a photo of the line, courtesy Dave Sandford/NHLI.
The 2012 draft prospects assembled there to test out the new rule changes and innovations also seemed to be big on the change in the back of the net which saw it cut from 44 inches to 40. Believe it or not, they found it gave them more room and allowed for easier wrap around.
One of the proposed changes I doubt will be implemented but I’d like to see further discussed is for power-plays to be played out for their full duration, even if a goal is scored. Discuss among yourselves.
More stuff on jerseys...
I had this forwarded to me so I’m not sure who the creator is, but somebody took the time to convert all the NHL hockey jerseys into what they thought they might look like as soccer uniforms. Kinda cool.
Here’s their version for the Jets: