WINNIPEG -- It is fair to say Winnipeg Jets first-round pick Mark Scheifele was nervous for his first on-ice NHL practice?
"Very, very nervous," Scheifele admitted. "But once you get on the, it kind of went away."
It is also OK to say Scheifele's smile won't be going away anytime soon.
"Probably not," he said. "It won't wear off for a while."
Winnipeg selected the 18-year-old Scheifele with the seventh pick at the NHL Entry Draft in June, and the centerman has impressed in the early going. After a busy summer spent in the gym building upon his 6-foot-2, 181-pound frame, he was among Winnipeg's best players at the prospects tournament in Penticton, B.C., earlier this week.
But now Scheifele, who recorded 22 goals in the 2010-11 season with the Ontario Hockey League's Barrie Colts, is competing against NHL veterans. He anticipated a far quicker pace once the NHL veterans joined him on the ice, and they more than confirmed that expectation.