The playoffs in the NHL are well under way and as per usual, that means there has been little news out of Winnipeg. However, a couple young prospects out of Winnipeg did make their debut overseas in Minsk yesterday – representing Canada in the World Hockey Championship. You may have heard of them, Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba? Yeah, they’re okay.
Canada played a nation that’s noted more for its fine wine and cheese, but it was France who upset the Canadians 3-2 in a shoot-out. Historically Canada doesn’t do so well in this tournament, but a team like France was a no doubter and an expected win. The loss was a real disappointment.
The Jets own Mark Scheifele was a non-factor. Sometimes that can be a good thing. It means too, that he was not a defensive liability. But in a 2-2 game against France, there should be a little bit more room to make a mistake. To say that any one player was a defensive liability would be more of a credit to France and what they were able to accomplish. Canada’s roster in its entirety underachieved in this hockey game. Stephane Da Costa (an Ottawa draft pick) led the way for the French, scoring twice on James Reimer.
The most surprising thing to me was that in the overtime, Scheifele was not mentioned once that I heard. Even when it came time for the shoot-out there was no Mark Scheifele. On a roster with so much skill it seemed odd to have Philadelphia’s Matt Reed shooting over Mark Scheifele, or a number of other skilled young players.
Why is this surprising you ask? Well with Winnipeg Jets Head Coach Paul Maurice as a part of the Team Canada Coaching Staff, it would’ve made sense to me to give some more time to your home grown guys. Maybe that actually played a detriment to Scheifele’s case, or maybe Coach Maurice intends to save him for a game that matters more than game one of a round robin. With under ten minutes of ice time, maybe they’re easing him back into action? Whatever the case, it struck me as peculiar.
The other notable Jet playing in the World Championship was of course Jacob Trouba. He’s representing the Americans who also had an “easy” match-up in their first game, against Belarus. Trouba scored ten goals for the Jets this past season and was eager to prove that scoring touch hasn’t gone anywhere. He led the Americans, scoring twice. This kid is the real deal, he never seems to stop impressing – whatever the stage.
Let’s hope as Jet fans that Mark Scheifele picks up his play. Keep in mind this is his first competitive action since spraining his MCL way back in March. If he can do that, along with Trouba’s stellar play on the back end – these two cornerstones of the Jets franchise moving forward gives us a glimmer of hope. In a previous article of mine I made the case for Jets General Manager, Kevin Cheveldayoff to keep his job. This re-iterates that argument.
With Trouba continuing to excel at every level, and Mark Scheifele continuing to work out the kinks in his game – these two are going to carry the load for us next year. Our prospects in the AHL are developing rapidly. Watch out for St. John’s as well as they are playing some good playoff hockey currently as well. The development process for some of these young kids have gone better than expected. The vision of Jets brass has never been more within reach.
On another closing note – I really hope Canada turns their play around for the rest of this tournament. They may be missing the Crosby’s, the Toews’, but Canada is a hockey nation. We’re proud people, and this is our game. The rest of the world gets up to play us every single time, they expect us to be the best. We’ll need a better effort from everyone around that squad if they expect to beat the real powerhouses in this tournament. Make sure to tune in the next few mornings – lots of intrigue watching the young prospects, very entertaining. Enjoy!