Scheifele, Trouba sure as death, taxes

Winnipeg Free Press - SundayXtra - - SPORTS HOCKEY - Pre­pare to be amazed if ei­ther fails to make team By Tim Camp­bell

BANFF, Alta. — Will they or won’t they?

The of­fi­cial verdict is all but an­nounced and won’t sur­prise any­body, but Mark Scheifele and Ja­cob Trouba will give the Winnipeg Jets a bona fide rookie look for the 2013- 14 NHL sea­son that be­gins Tues­day for the Jets in Ed­mon­ton.

The duo re­mains part of the group of 26 that is as­sem­bled in mini- re­treat mode in Banff, a ros­ter that will be soon trimmed to 23 to meet NHL rules.

Jets head coach Claude Noel was asked Satur­day what’s on the minds of so many fans — what have you got in store for first- round draft picks Scheifele ( 2011) and Trouba ( 2012)?

He chuck­led, be­cause he gets this ques­tion quite a lot, and more or less de­ferred apart from one clue.

“We have to kind of wait for that. I have a vi­sion to where they are go­ing to be and to play and we’ll just have to wait un­til that plays out,” Noel said.

“I have to say that I have liked both. They bring some good things to our group and they cer­tainly look like they can play here.”

Scheifele fin­ished the pre- sea­son with a goal and an as­sist in six games, and mi­nusthree. Fri­day, he played with a cou­ple of dif­fer­ent lines, but did get a spell with Evan­der Kane and Devin Se­toguchi.

Trouba also played six ex­hi­bi­tion games, had three as­sists and was plus- two.

Af­ter another solid game Thurs­day, on Fri­day he was mi­nus- two in an ef­fort that largely matched his team — weak. He was the main cul­prit on Bos­ton’s first goal in the game’s first minute, mak­ing a lame and soft clear of the puck away from his net right to the top of the slot, a play that was ham­mered back into the Jets’ net.

The fi­nal ros­ter re­duc­tion must come be­fore mid- af­ter­noon Mon­day, when the NHL re­quires each team to be at a max­i­mum 23 play­ers and be at or un­der the pre­scribed $ 64.3- mil­lion salary cap.

The Jets must re- as­sign three play­ers by that time.

“It won’t be to­day or prob­a­bly tomorrow ei­ther,” Noel said Satur­day. “We’ll keep the group. I’ve got to meet with ( GM Kevin Chevel­day­off) and talk about some dif­fer­ent things.”

The coach said last week that un­der nor­mal cir­cum­stances, he prefers to go with seven de­fence­men and 14 ( or two ex­tra) for­wards but he didn’t make any prom­ises. What ex­actly is the team do­ing in Banff? All the de­tails weren’t be­ing shared with re­porters, but some things were known.

The club is hop­ing to have the play­ers spend as much time to­gether as a group as pos­si­ble, in­stead of off by them­selves or in smaller groups or cliques, with the goal get­ting to know one another bet­ter.

Golf was on tap Satur­day af­ter­noon, de­spite the grey, cool weather. In the morn­ing, the play­ers were seen out­doors at the grounds of the Banff Springs Ho­tel.

Noel called that: “Some in­tro­duc­tory stuff, just build­ing some trust with each other, try­ing to build con­fi­dence in each other.

“We have some ac­tiv­i­ties, quite a bit of hu­mour in some of the stuff,” he said. “A lot of blind­folded stuff so it put peo­ple in some un­com­fort­able sit­u­a­tions where you have to trust cer­tain team­mates... It’s all good.”

On the in­jury front, Noel said Satur­day that de­fence­man Dustin Byfuglien was fine af­ter spilling legs- first into the boards late in Fri­day’s loss.

Byfuglien left that game at the point, but was seen af­ter it was over walk­ing around un­der his own power. “He’s good to­day,” the coach said. De­fence­men Grant Cl­it­some and Zach Bo­gosian, with the team here, both have un­spec­i­fied in­juries and are day- to- day. Bo­gosian isn’t too bad, Noel said, and both could well be avail­able for Tues­day’s opener.

WFP

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES

Mark Scheifele ap­pears ready to play with

the big boys.

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