Sid a big fan of Scheifele

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 04/01/2019 (1426 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Trevor Hagan Winnipeg Jets' Mark Scheifele scores against the Pittsburgh Penguins in November. Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has high praise for Scheifele, saying he's impressed by how he's developed as a player since entering the league, morphing into an elite scorer.

PITTSBURGH — You can count Sidney Crosby as an unofficial member of the Mark Scheifele fan club.

The Pittsburgh Penguins captain had high praise for the Winnipeg Jets’ No. 1 centre Friday, saying he’s impressed by how Scheifele has developed as a player since entering the league, morphing into an elite scorer who was named to his first NHL all-star game earlier this week.

(AP Photo/Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke) Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby.

“He’s dangerous. He’s a great scorer, but he’s also a great playmaker. His game and the way he plays, he’s able to create in a lot of different ways. Whether the game is tight and close-checking, he’s able to get that one chance and bury it or if it’s wide open, he’s going to like that, too, and he’s going to be able to make plays and create that way, too. His ability to create in different scenarios is probably his biggest strength,” said Crosby.

Crosby’s advice to Scheifele — savour the moment when he suits up for the NHL festivities later this month in San Jose.

“I’d say everyone’s first is pretty unique. Everyone kind of has a different road. Yanic Perreault was one of the guys at my first one. I knew Yanic before and I want to say that he was playing injured leading up to that and it was a great accomplishment for him to be able to go and take that all in. I remember the appreciation he had for it. (Brendan) Shanahan was there. I remember just kind of being in awe,” said Crosby.

“That was the first time I was around all of those guys, the guys you grew up watching on a couple of different teams there. It was an eye-opening moment for sure.”

***

The Jets have turned into road warriors, winning eight of their last 10 games away from the comfy confines of home even with Friday’s disappointing defeat in Pittsburgh.

That’s certainly a promising sign for the club, as getting results in enemy territory is a quality the majority of contending teams possess.

“I think it started for us kind of through adversity. We came out east here the early part of December and had a bunch of defencemen missing and became a little tighter with our defensive game. And mid-December we got on a stretch where we were just kind of scoring at will,” Jets head coach Paul Maurice said following the morning skate.

***

Eight is certainly not enough for Jets forward Brandon Tanev. The energy winger isn’t thinking about how high his goal-scoring total can go now that he’s equalled his career-high.

“You go out there and play for two points as a team for the win. And if you have that ability to contribute offensively, so be it. But my game starts in the defensive end and that’s where I want to be good,” Tanev said Friday.

Tanev’s goal Monday in Edmonton gave him eight in just 39 games. He scored eight in 61 games last year, and just two in 51 games in his rookie season.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods Winnipeg Jets' Brandon Tanev celebrates after scoring against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tanev has matched his career high in goals already this season but the shutdown winger says his defensive-zone play is his priority.

“It’s nice to contribute and help offensively, but it’s a testament to the trust the coaches have in me and the guys I’m playing with. They make things easy for me. Just getting pucks to the net and trust in the ability when you have the chance to score to capitalize on those,” said Tanev, who is mainly counted on to help shut down the other team’s best offensive weapons.

The majority of Tanev’s goals come from going to the so-called hard areas of the ice — driving to the net for rebounds and deflections.

“Goalies are so good and so big nowadays, it’s almost the shots you don’t connect on that beat them the most. It’s getting to the dirty areas of the game. I found that area and have been able to bang a couple home this year,” he said.

“Our big guns are playing for us every night, they’re doing the job and they lead us out there. It’s nice as a bottom six to go out there and contribute, not only defensively playing a solid game but when we have the opportunity to capitalize on some offensive chances as well.”

***

Kyle Connor, meanwhile, would gladly take a puck hitting him anywhere on the body and finding its way into the net. The Jets winger is stuck in a 11-game pointless streak. Since a four-assist night Nov. 24 in St. Louis, Connor has just three goals and one assist in 18 games since.

“Yeah, it’s been a tough stretch here for me. Just gotta stick with it. Whether the game seems hard or not right now, we’re finding ways to win, which is great. We have contributions from everybody. I think if I can start to play and contribute a little better, then we’ll be that much more lethal,” Connor said following the morning skate.

mike.mcintyre@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @mikemcintyrewpg

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
Sports columnist

Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.

History

Updated on Friday, January 4, 2019 10:24 PM CST: Changes main photo

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