The official scorer will say that it took 119 days before the NHL lockout came to an end.
Saturday night finally saw the NHL and NHLPA sign the memorandum of understanding, bringing the work stoppage to an official end and opening the door for training camps to open on Sunday.
Many Jets players took their medicals and physicals on Saturday and there were only eight skaters and goalie Al Montoya taking part in an informal workout.
But among those to hit the ice were Evander Kane and Mark Scheifele, who will garner plenty of attention during the coming weeks.
The other newcomer was Nik Antropov, who I hope to speak with on Sunday.
I handled the Scheifele story for the paper, while colleague Kirk Penton handled the Kane piece, though I listened to the final five minutes of his scrum as well.
Kane addressed a myriad of issues, some of which I had spoken to him about during the lockout (including the Cash Call photo on Twitter).
His take on being a lightning rod for criticism:
“It comes with the territory. I’m pretty comfortable with who I am and I think the people around me are as well,” said Kane. “I don’t really have to defend myself and fix that.”
When asked if he received a signing bonus with his new deal, Kane quipped: “I don’t know, you can look at capgeek.com and see for yourself.” (He didn’t).
The fourth-year left-winger is excited to skate alongside Olli Jokinen and made it crystal clear he was committed to the Jets organization.
“That’s what my signature means,” said Kane, who signed a six-year deal worth $31.5 million just before the previous CBA expired.
Scheifele , meanwhile, is eager for training camp to begin and feeling quite confident as he tries to make the opening roster for the second consecutive season, only this time he’s planning to stick around for good.
The 2011 first round pick and seventh overall selection has been lighting it up in OHL for Barrie Colts (22 goals, 49 points in 30 games) and was also productive during the 2013 World Junior Hockey Championship, picking up five goals and eight points for Team Canada.
Scheifele will be given an opportunity to show that he belongs over the next few weeks and you can tell he’s going to do whatever he can to avoid being sent back to junior.
He said he’d play anywhere and basically do anything (even play goal) to show he deserves to be here, but made it clear he wasn’t going to get ahead of himself — even though Barrie Colts fans gave him a heart-warming standing ovation after he was named third star in Thursday’s game.
“It was pretty good, they gave me a little extra, maybe they were giving me a little farewell,” said Scheifele, who doesn’t want to get ahead of himself. “I still have a lot of work to do to stick with this team and I’m going to do whatever it takes to make it. That’s the only thing on my mind really.”
Colts head coach and former original Jet Dale Hawerchuk offered up some words of wisdom for his prized pupil.
“He just said good luck and hopefully, I don’t want to see you back here,” said Scheifele, who has 22 goals and 49 points in 30 OHL games this season. “Play your game and do what it takes to stick there.”
Here are three other subjects I wasn’t able to work into my Scheifele column:
On adjustment to playing right wing at world junior tourney?
“At first it was a little tough, but as the days went on I thought I got better and better and got more comfortable. it just helps my versatility as a player, being able to be put in different situations to help the team. I thought I got better each day.”
Does he need to be selfish, shoot more?
“This year I definitely focused a little more on shooting. You have to bring both aspects to it. If you’re shooting the puck all the time, they’re going to know you’re going to shoot and if you pass all every time, they’re going to know you’re going to pass. It comes hand in hand, being a little more evasive. I’ve been using my shot more this year and it’s been helping for sure.”
What are the differences in this camp compared to last year?
“You don’t have to learn what to do and you’re not coming in a fresh person. You’ve gone through it once before and that’s probably the biggest thing.”
Saturday night also brought the announcement of the official Jets schedule, which can be found here: http://jets.nhl.com/club/schedule.htm
The Jets season and home opener goes Saturday, Jan. 19 with puck drop scheduled for just after 2 p.m.
We’ll talk more about the schedule as the week wears on. What games are you most looking forward to seeing?
In closing, Jets camp is open to the public on Sunday from noon to 1 p.m. at MS Centre, with doors opening at 11:30 a.m. and several perks being offered to those in attendance.
Be sure to check out our entire package — which includes my 5 Burning Winnipeg Jets questions — in Sunday’s paper and at www.winnipegsun.com.