Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Scheifele is trying to juggle isolation, while also trying to enjoy the great outdoors.
Scheifele, along with Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane and New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal, all participated in a video conference call together on Monday to discuss their hockey obsessions.
And keeping busy has been the hardest part for Scheifele while the NHL is on pause.
“Doing good,” Scheifele said. “Just trying to stay busy. I’m a person that can’t sit still for too long. … So, just trying to stay busy, work out as much as I can, go for runs, go for bikes, go for walks. Just trying to get outside, try to get fresh air, get to my own space. So, it’s nice just to be able to get outside a little bit.
“Catching up on a lot of Netflix. I haven’t got into gaming yet. One of my best buddies who literally is the least likely to ever game has an X-Box now. He’s telling me to get on, so, who knows, I might resort to that. But just trying to stay safe, stay indoors, but try to stay active as much as I can.”
Scheifele considers himself a student of the game and has lived and breathed hockey for years. But his obsession with the sport didn’t really begin until his junior coach, Dale Hawerchuk, told him watching the NHL game was the best education he could get.
“To be honest — growing up I didn’t watch a ton of hockey. We watched Hockey Night In Canada on Saturdays. Other than that, growing up it was more me and my brother would rather be doing it. If there was a hockey game on, we’d rather be outside playing road hockey, or whatever, or playing basketball, or everything like that. I don’t think the obsession really started until I was in junior.”
Now the 27-year-old can’t get enough of hockey either in person or on the television.
“Unless it’s football Sunday,” Scheifele said. “Actually Saturday too. My roommate — Andrew Copp — he takes over for college football. So that’s his one day with the remote. So he takes over college football on Saturdays. Other than that, we definitely have a game on. In Winnipeg, games start at 6, so usually you’re having dinner shortly after. So games are on. Just kinda chiming through games. If he has a buddy playing that he wants to watch a game, a lot of the time you’re just trying to catch a good game. Obviously, if Edmonton-Calgary is on — you’re going to tune in to that one.”
Scheifele also had a message for Jets’ fans missing hockey back in Winnipeg.
“Take all the precautions and stay safe,” he said. “This is kind of a we’re-all-in-this-together type thing. Everyone’s kinda doing their part to keep everyone else safe and I think the biggest thing is stay at home, keep your distance, you make sure you wash your hands and take all those precautions.
“Take care of ourselves, which is gonna take care of everyone else. Stay safe, but we all can’t wait to be back playing hockey again soon.”
During the conference call, players were asked who they’d most and least like to face in several situations, not including their own teammates.
Mark Scheifele on best face-off specialist – Patrice Bergeron (Boston Bruins)
“I actually had some good nights against him, unless you’re in Boston and then the stats guys give it to him a little bit. When push comes to shove, if you put him in a face-off dot, he’s going to take it.”
Scheifele on toughest defenceman to face 1-on-1 – Ryan Suter (Minnesota Wild)
“We played Minnesota a ton. I think his angles are so good. When you go 1-on-1 you try and back him down a little bit, probably try to beat him. And his angles are so good, his stick is so good, you’re not going to be able to shoot through him. He can block shots, but his angles and his feet are so good, he’s just so hard to beat.”
Scheifele on best player to go in with on 2-on-1 – Steven Stamkos (Tampa Bay Lightning); Honourable mention to Blake Wheeler
“He’s not known for his passing, but I’ve skated with him a lot over the years, and he does this little 2-on-1 pass that is pretty nifty.
“If Oatsy (Adam Oates) was still playing, I’d pick him, ’cause he’s probably the best passer out of everyone.”
Scheifele on most fearless defenceman at the point – Roman Josi (Nashville Predators)
“He’s fearless back there. He’ll spinarama at two different times. He’ll toe drag you. He’ll go right down the middle. He’s fearless, but he’s pretty good at it. If he has just an inch on you, he’s going to take advantage. He’s by far the toughest.”
Scheifele on goalie he’d least like to face on breakaway – Carey Price (Montreal Canadiens)
“He’s so calm in the net. He literally out-confidences you. His confidence in the net and his ability — he’s number one I definitely don’t want to see.”
Scheifele on players he’d most like to play 3-on-3 overtime with – Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl (Edmonton Oilers)
“They’ll probably just score themselves. So I’ll be the defenceman. It seems every game they get into overtime it’s like 30 seconds in — Draisaitl’s got a breakaway, or McDavid’s got a breakaway, or a 2-on-1, maybe even a 2-on-0, and they’re scoring.”
Scheifele on three players he’d most like to see in 3-on-3 overtime – Steve Yzerman, Adam Oates, Dale Hawerchuk
Scheifele on player who best tips pucks – Gabriel Landeskog (Colorado Avalanche)
“He’s had a ton of tipped goals against us. I’ve seen him tip a ton of goals in other games. He’s also such a moose in front of the net. You can’t move him. He’s strong.”
Scheifele on who bests provides comic relief on the bench – Dustin Byfuglien (Winnipeg Jets)
“He’s by far the most relaxed guy in the game. No matter what’s going on, no matter how the game is going — he definitely will make a joke and get you going.”