Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Tough call to make on rookie: Ducky

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JETS legend Dale Hawerchuk was in Winnipeg on Monday to lend his support to a provincial recyclining initiative and also to take in the Jets-Penguins game.

The coach of the OHL's Barrie Colts has a multi-layered interest in the reborn Jets -- his potential star centre this season, 2011 first-round draft pick Mark Scheifele, remains with the Jets.

"I haven't seen a lot but he's done very well," Hawerchuk said. "I find that when he's around the puck, he does so many good things. The biggest challenge is always picking up the speed away from the puck. That's always the biggest, and that doesn't come overnight. With some guys it takes awhile.

"I thought that's the only thing he's lacking in yet."

Hawerchuk said it's unlikely there will be just one thing that keeps Scheifele in Winnipeg or leads the Jets to send him back to junior.

"There's a lot of rigours when you come in, for instance, he's lost a few pounds at the start of camp, but he's done terrific," Hawerchuk said. "What the future holds as far as up here or back in Barrie, I can't answer that. But if he can play major minutes here and be an offensive contributor, I think that's great. If he can't, I don't know if you want to put him into that type of role. Personally, I'd say that let's wait and get him to that point so that you'll have a real legitimate No. 1 or No. 2 type centre.

"At the end of the day, the top teams always have two pretty good or top centres."

 

Hats do spinarama

 

THE Jets and the NHL have fairly narrow guidelines for what players are wearing at the rink when they're doing on-camera interviews.

One team rule the Jets have adopted is that hats will not be worn backwards.

There's an exception in play, however.

Captain Andrew Ladd is among a few Winnipeg players who have "Hockey Fights Cancer" promotional patches on the backs of their Jets hats, are they're allowed to spin then around for on-camera conversations to help promote a big NHL charity endeavour.

 

Burmistrov shines

 

PENGUINS coach Dan Bylsma said there were no surprises from the boistrous Winnipeg fans on Monday, but one thing might have caught him off guard a little.

It was the play of 19-year-old Alexander Burmistrov, who assisted on both Jets goals Monday and played the most of any Jets forward, 20:57.

"(Burmistrov) had a very good game," Bylsma said. "The impressive part about his game is that in addition to the skill we've seen before, he won a lot of puck battles which is the best game I've seen him play in that regard. He hurt us on that second goal."

 

Saskatoon on sked

 

JETS GM Kevin Cheveldayoff confirmed to a Saskatchewan radio station this week that his team will play Boston in a pre-season game in Saskatoon next Sept. 22.

 

-- Tim Campbell

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 18, 2011 C4

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