It’s been a long time coming, but the NHL is back in Winnipeg (I feel like I have written this a lot lately). 15,000 loud and proud Manitobans packed the MTS Centre tonight to welcome back our Jets, who had been gone far too long. A standing ovation that lasted for minutes preceded the national anthems, and chants of Go Jets Go could be heard both before and during the game. The atmosphere was unlike anything I had ever heard at a preseason game, and my vision of it was blurred for more than just because I was watching a grainy video feed.
Oh yeah, there was also a hockey game:Mark Scheifele stole the show, scoring 2 goals and adding 2 assists. I wouldn’t go so far as to say he’s NHL ready as he needs to get a bit more physical and learn how to play along the boards/in the corners a bit more, but he looks like a potentially elite passer who will be able to score some goals as well. The questions about his skating will always be there, but if he can fix that and add some size in the OHL this year he could potentially be a monster.
Also impressive was Jason Gregoire. He played great at the prospect tournament and carried that over into the preseason. It was just a split squad game, but he looked good in all ends of the ice. His hockey sense definitely rates as a plus and while I still think he starts in the AHL I think he could find himself on the 2nd/3rd line and getting time on the penalty kill by the end of the year.
Dustin Byfuglien looked a little on the hefty side, but played well. He had a pair of assists and had more PP time than anyone. He also had some time on the penalty kill, which I would hope we don’t see too often this year.
He didn’t play a lot, but when he did Andrew Ladd looked mighty impressive, scoring a goal.
Zach Bogosian led the team both in ice time and also shots on goal, perhaps taking some criticism of his lack of offensive play to heart.
The other split squad lost, but meh. Undefeated at home baby!