WINNIPEG – Mark Scheifele was back on the ice today for the first time since suffering a concussion during a Boxing Day practice at MTS Centre.
Scheifele was placed on the injury reserve the morning after, meaning he is ineligible to return until the weekend at the earliest, but things are most definitely looking up just four days after colliding with a teammate.
“I’m feeling good,” Scheifele said after participating – in an orange, ‘non-contact’ jersey, mind you – for the entirety of the half hour-long practice. “I’ve felt better and better ever since it happened. That’s the biggest thing I’m looking for. Hopefully it continues like this and I can be back soon.”
The injury occurred when Scheifele got crossed up with Andrew Ladd during an odd-man rush drill, leaving the young centre bloody and in need of immediate medical attention. After being helped off the ice, tests confirmed he was concussed, but the severity was unknown until he began doing
light activity in the days since.
Scheifele said he’s been resting up and “taking care of (his) body,” but isn’t, as he put it, sitting around like a bump on a log. Each day he achieves a new physical milestone and as a result,
he’s been increasing the workload as he continues to progress, symptom-free.
“Our trainers are unbelievable. They know what to do and how to keep it in check,” he said. “Obviously I want to play. When you’re sitting out and watching games, you’re dying to be in the lineup, but I’m following the protocol and they’re only looking out for my best interest, so I have trust in the system.”
Scheifele has dealt with this once before, back in his junior days with the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League. The difference then was that it happened late in a playoff series. The Colts were eliminated the following game, meaning he had months before the next one, giving him ample
time to recover.
Still, neither Scheifele nor the Jets are looking to rush the process. As Head Coach Maurice alluded to the other day, the 22-year-old will not return until he’s officially, unequivocally, 100-percent healed.
Immediately after practice, the Jets left the comforts of Winnipeg to begin a season-long five-game road trip that will see them visit the Arizona Coyotes, San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks, Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars.
After going 6-1 on home ice in the month of December, the Jets are looking to improve on their record away from MTS Centre, beginning tomorrow in the desert. The Jets have won just one of their past 12 road games, but are confident with their game and believe better results are on the
“It’s not as night and day as what the numbers are,” Maurice said. “In our last five road losses, four of them were on a back-to-back. The one that wasn’t, we played a hell of a game in Edmonton (generating 45 shots on goal). We’ve changed the lines, changed some roles, got a little rest
and a little more confidence.”
Let’s get the show on the road.
– Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com