December 9, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
BELLEVILLE, ONT. -- No one is having his every shift studied more during the Winnipeg Jets training camp than Mark Scheifele.
The 20-year-old first-round draft pick from 2011 has been slotted into the No. 2 centre spot between Evander Kane and Devin Setoguchi, both proven NHL snipers, and the expectation is he will wrap his fingers around the opportunity and squeeze.
The Scheifele-Kane-Setoguchi trio combined for two goals and five points as the most intriguing subplot to the Hockeyville contest. But the Jets' brass is also trying to resist the urge to jump to any conclusions this early.
"They created some offence and I thought Scheifele really played a lot better in the third period," said Jets coach Claude Noel. "He came around and they looked like they were generating some chemistry as the game went on."
Setoguchi and Kane both spoke afterwards of being familiar with each other's game while watching from afar. Scheifele, meanwhile, found himself doing a little in-game studying of his linemates.
"I thought it went good for the most part," he said. "We started to jell and every shift we got better and better. We played a good two-way game and we were able to create some chances and bury two goals. I thought it went good overall.
"Just from practising with them I thought I was able to read their tendencies a little bit and as a centreman read off them a lot more and see what they do. I thought it was really good start to see some things."
Setoguchi liked the line's debut and offered this take on what signs indicate chemistry might be developing.
"You've got to play more, know where guys are, know their tendencies... where they're going to be, how they're going to play," he said. "I already know kinda how Kaner plays watching him for a couple of years and how explosive he is. You look for area passes or try to draw a guy to you and then get it to him in open space.
"Scheifs is just a young kid trying to learn, trying to get a chance and they're giving him one. I thought he did a good job tonight."
THE GOOD OL' DAYS: The first pre-season game offered a number of the young prospects a chance to pull on an NHL jersey for the first time. And that's an experience many will never forget.
"This is my 10th training camp," said Setoguchi. "It's fun to come in here and be around the guys. I'm really enjoying it.
"(My first game) was great. The first guy I lined up against was (Hall of Famer) Luc Robitaille. That was the coolest thing I've ever done. My first game was against L.A. in San Jose and (he) lined up against me. I'll never forget that one. It's tough just not to look at Lucky Luc and stare at him off the draw."
WELCOME BACK: Three Jets played all, or part, of their junior careers in Belleville: Austen Brassard, Eric Tangradi and Eddie Pasquale.
And for Tangradi, the chance to return was a real treat.
"I know when I left here I left with a tear in my eye, thinking I would never see it again," he said. "When this game came up on the schedule I was definitely really excited and just hoping to be in the lineup. There's tons of memories."
Tangradi went for dinner with his billets from his days with the Bulls -- Rob and Irene Cooke -- and then took his teammates out to a 'local spot' he used to hang out at as a junior.
"I like to consider myself a little bit Canadian," said Tangradi, who was born in Philadelphia. "I come back to this town and show all the Canadian boys around a Canadian city as an American... I thought that was kind of unique in a way."
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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 15, 2013 B7