By Scott Billeck – @scottbilleck
A day after watching their star rookie go down with an medial collateral ligament sprain, Paul Maurice and the Winnipeg Jets know now they will have to learn to live life without the services of Mark Scheifele.
“It is something you are going to have to handle now and for the next ten years,” said Maurice after the Jets optional practice at the MTS Iceplex. “You are going to be in key stretches of the season and an important piece is going to go down and you have to find a way to rally around that.”
Scheifele’s season appears to be over after the questionable hit from New York Islander’s defenceman Calvin de Haan, barring a playoff appearance, given the six-to-eight week timeline that comes with the injury. Maurice said that healing time varies from player-to-player but to not expect Scheifele back in action any time soon.
“I took a look at it on the video last night a little closer so the news is probably better than I thought,” said Maurice. “It came back and there is not going to be any surgery required for it so that is a real positive for us in a difficult situation. It turned out to be a better morning than I was thinking it was going to be.”
“But it’s never in three-to-four weeks (recovery time), so don’t check back too soon.”
The loss of Mark Scheifele comes at the worst possible time for the Winnipeg Jets, who find themselves in the thick of it trying to grind out a playoff spot. It also came on the eve of the trade deadline where there was little room to make a move to try and apply a band-aid.
“There is never a point in a season that it is a good time,” explained Maurice. “There are not a lot of hours on the clock to remedy the situation.”
The 21-year-old had been on a tear as of late with 29 points in his last 39 games and playing top minutes on the power play and 4-on-4 situations as well as his normal role as the centre on the Jets second line.
Time for some of his other players to step up, according to Maurice.
“Right now we are healthy enough,” said Maurice on whether he was going to call up a player from St. John’s. “I got to find someone to play centre ice and shave some minutes at the number that Scheifs was at. There is going to be some movement in positions, I got to talk to some players about role changes and lines. We will see.
“There will be opportunities for players.”