Hextall on Hockey: Scheifele’s dedication to the game

The Winnipeg Jets' Mark Scheifele, back centre, Kyle Connor (81) and Blake Wheeler (26) celebrate Scheifele's goal as the Vancouver Canucks' J.T. Miller (9) skates to the bench during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Mark Scheifele is the Winnipeg Jets‘ most complete player, and according to Hall of Famer Adam Oates, “a really nice guy who is dedicated to his job.”

I was curious to see if the Jets centre had done anything different in the pandemic pause and reached out to Oates, who works with Scheifele on individual skills.

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Studious – that is how Oates describes his client.

A perpetual student, he watches games and other players. He never wants to stop learning.

Which is an asset, considering Scheifele is playing a new position on the Jets’ power play.

Many believe NHL players can adapt easily to a new position. That’s not necessarily true, says Oates.

One must be taught a new position – even elite NHL players, even Mark Scheifele.

The power play means more touches of the puck for a player, and the increase adds to a player’s workload – mentally and physically.

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As a player adapts to a new role, with new expectations, there will be mistakes made and that’s what Oates believes makes Scheifele stand out and excel. He can admit he made a mistake.

Scheifele is honest about his errors – which not all elite athletes are.

The ability to learn and adapt all lends itself to Scheifele’s goal of being an all-purpose player – a Mr. Everything, such as Jonathan Toews or Patrice Bergeron — the complete two-way centreman.

And let me interrupt some of you before you mention Scheifele’s defensive game — as Oates did to me – reminding me that those who tend to speak the loudest about his client’s defensive game are those who don’t really understand.

One thing Oates points out that we all should understand is that there is no mystery around Mark Scheifele – he’s a really nice guy who is dedicated to his job and it’s up to him how good he becomes.

Click to play video: 'RAW: Winnipeg Jets Mark Scheifele Interview – Feb. 19'
RAW: Winnipeg Jets Mark Scheifele Interview – Feb. 19

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