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Jets Ready For Blackhawk Challenge

By Scott Billeck – @scottbilleck

Their results against the Chicago Blackhawks this season haven’t been to their liking but that hasn’t diminished the confidence the Winnipeg Jets have to beat the Western Conference’s best team according to Mark Scheifele.

“We have to go in there with the mindset that we know we can beat them,” said Scheifele. “Going over the last two times we played them, we didn’t play our best. We kind of played into their hands and they capitalized and I think it is a big thing that we go in there with our game plan and that is all we can think about.”

Chicago Blackhawks forward Jeremy Morin (11) and Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Scheifele (55) battle for the puck in NHL action at the MTS Centre, Nov. 2, 2013. (SHAWN COATES PHOTO)

Chicago Blackhawks forward Jeremy Morin (11) and Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Scheifele (55) battle for the puck in NHL action at the MTS Centre, Nov. 2, 2013. (SHAWN COATES PHOTO)

Scheifele holds confidence his team can beat the defending Stanley Cup Champions.

“Yeah we can, yeah,” Scheifele said. “Our mindset is that we can beat them and that is the only thing we can think about. We aren’t going to think about what we can’t do, we know we can beat them and that is the mindset.”

Scheifele hasn’t potted a goal in 22 games. Such a drought can decimate a players confidence, especially in a rookie, yet for Scheifele, his focus set squarely on playing a good team game and things will fall into place from there.

“That is not the focus, it is not about goals and assists, it is about doing the simple things and doing the things to help the team win,” said Scheifele. “I think I have been getting better every game, I think there are a lot of things that I have really focused on the last little bit and I think I just need to continue to have that attitude. It is a process and it is not going to come in a day, I just have to continue to focus on the things I need to focus on and go from there.”

Claude Noel. SHAWN COATES PHOTO

Claude Noel. SHAWN COATES PHOTO

Jets’ head coach Claude Noel said he is pleased with Scheifele’s game.

“I am happy with Mark,” said Noel. “I don’t measure Mark in goals and assists and points, I measure things in how he is progressing long. Is he learning? Is there growth in his game? When you measure growth, you got to understand there is going to be times when there is ups and downs in that growth, so that is just the way that goes.”

Noel talked about the challenge that faces him in the Chicago Blackhawks.

“They got a good team,” said Noel. “I know they lost 5-1 but it’s not like…they still have a good team. We haven’t played them that great — turnovers really hurt us all the time — and they capitalize even if you limit their chances. They are a little bit unlike other teams, they can finish them.”

Scott’s Scribbles: Jacob Trouba practised Wednesday, shedding his orange non-contact jersey, and said he felt good out there, no ill-effects…Mark Stuart practised again, this time with contact and said he also felt great…Evander Kane has not scored a goal in his past nine games…Blake Wheeler is in a similar slump and hasn’t scored in his past 10 games…There will be no helmets allowed at the MTS Centre on Thursday night.

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