Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Scheifele learning the hard lessons about how to move up to the bigs, Hawerchuk says

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BARRIE, Ont. -- None of this is new, that Mark Scheifele is a first-round draft pick, an impact player in the Ontario Hockey League and a target.

What is fascinating, though, is how Item No. 3 reveals the development of the Winnipeg Jets' first choice from 2011, a centreman who embodies a fair amount of hope for the NHL franchise.

Saturday night at Barrie Molson Centre was like many other nights this season and last in the OHL. Scheifele, now 19, is the top centre on a good Barrie Colts team, one that's first overall in the league as of Monday.

The edgy Windsor Spitfires were in town, and by the second period, there was a nasty tone and Scheifele and his Colts teammates fell for just about every trap set, turning a 3-3 deadlock into a two-goal deficit thanks to penalties and distractions.

Scheifele himself was a temporary liability, taking a penalty to put his team two men short in the second period and helping the visitors to a power-play goal to tie the game Barrie had led three times.

Such distractions continued to the mid-point of the third period, when the Colts realized settling scores wasn't going to help them even a 5-3 Windsor lead.

And a new focus sparked two late power-play goals and then Scheifele's game-winning snapper from 30 feet at 41 seconds of overtime to enhance yet another lesson.

"The big thing is when you get results, or when you don't because you didn't pay that price," said Scheifele's coach, Jets legend Dale Hawerchuk, asked to discuss his centre's mental progress. "Tonight we got lucky because we did it for about 10 minutes. Now you need another game when you do it right from the get-go and you have your way with the game. then you start to learn how it pays off."

Scheifele, the Kitchener native, said after the game he knows very well what's going in most games, the top players are always in the cross-hairs.

"I think the biggest thing is that some teams do it in a respectful way," Scheifele said. "I felt like Windsor wasn't doing it very respectfully.

"They throw a lot of cheap shots out there and at our whole team. We knew it was going to be a rough game. But for the most part, it's something you've just got to take, take it as a challenge and deal with it."

As well as working at his skating (improved), his hockey sense (very good) and game presence (rising), Scheifele said he's definitely eager to be better mentally against what's happening and what's to come.

"That's one thing I am working on," he said. "You just have to know what you have to do. You have to be a leader. You have to know when to shut your mouth, know when to speak in the room. It's a big thing.

"I've talked to a lot of people about it. I learned from being with pros last year, learned from other guys that I know. It's just something that will come as you mature and that's what I'm trying to do, mature as a hockey player, mature as a person."

Hawerchuk is well-qualified to guide the Jets' blue-chip prospect in this area.

"Any time you're a top-notch player like that, they're going to try to get you off your game," he said. "It's no different than Crosby at the NHL level. Teams are trying to get him off his game. Or Ovechkin, all the big names. Scouting reports, talking about the team you're playing against, there's always a part about who we've got to be hard against.

"Once you're a good player, well, these guys make millions of dollars for sure but there's a price to be paid and not everybody's willing to do that.

"There's a lot of discipline needed that way. I tell these guys all the time that I run into a million guys out and about who say they could have made it but that's part of the reason they didn't make it.

"There's a price to be paid here. I think these guys learn it all the time here. I'm always re-iterating all the things you have to do to pay the price."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Burmi, Scheif game-ready if NHL season begins

BARRIE, Ont. -- If the NHL is to have a season, it's not unreasonable to suggest they'll have two young players with a leg up on their teammates at the start.

One is third-year pro Alex Burmistrov, who is a full-time member of the AHL's St. John's IceCaps during the lockout.

The other is 19-year-old centre Mark Scheifele, who has been made eligible for a unique mid-season NHL recall, a wise decision by the Jets based on his performance in the Ontario Hockey League so far this season.

Scheifele is the only OHL player so far this season with more than one overtime goal. He delivered his second in an emotional comeback win over Windsor on Saturday night.

And he is currently on a nine-game points-scoring streak (10 goals, 17 points) and is fourth in OHL scoring with 17 goals and 37 points in 22 games. The three players ahead of him on that chart have all played more games.

"Obviously I've thought about that," Scheifele said over the weekend, as he continued his production for the Barrie Colts. "I want the NHL to get going but it's out of your hands and there's nothing I can do about it especially.

"I'm just focusing on getting better now and obviously the World Junior is in my sights and I want to be on that team and go for gold this year. I want to focus on my game right now, though, develop as a player."

The World Junior selection camp begins in mid-December, only a few weeks off now.

It will be an interesting dilemma for the Jets if the NHL were to find a solution to its labour impasse around that time. Should Scheifele play for Team Canada, or be in the NHL team's camp or lineup?

The answer is unknown today, but Scheifele continues to show Jets management that he's not a content, satisfied prospect and that he's come some distance from 14 months ago, when he was good enough at training camp to stick around for the first seven regular-season NHL games.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 20, 2012 D3

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