I'll admit it.
When I heard Mark Scheifele's comments at the end of the 2021/22 season, I thought he was going to be gone, in fact, I thought he should go.
Here's some of what Scheifele said:
"There's a lot of big questions to be asked this off-season...about where the team's going and what's all gonna happen and that'll happen tomorrow, and you know I'd love to be in Winnipeg, but you know, I also have to see where this is all going and what direction this team's going in and I guess we'll see this summer.
I think I just have to understand where this team is going. I'm in the prime of my career...I still have so much to improve on, too, I like where my game's at, I like the physical nature that my body's at, I think I'm only improving, I'm only getting better, I'm only gonna be a better player next year than I was this year.
I just have to know where this team's going and what the direction is and what the changes are going to be, if any, and I have to think about my career and what's going to be best for me and I think those are going to be...I have to talk to my agent and everyone in my family...and figure out what I really want and so it'll be a tough talk tomorrow."
Check out the video below.
Winnipeg sports media thought Scheifele might be gone.
And I wasn't the only person who thought Scheifele would be or should be gone.
A lot of the "experts" in the media thought the same thing I did.
Andrew "Hustler" Paterson thought that media appearance might be Scheifele's final one as a Winnipeg Jet.
On Winnipeg Sports Talk, Paterson stated: "I don't know, from my opinion, I think if anyone was even on the fence, got a pretty good dose of reality yesterday, in what all likelihood could very well be Mark Scheifele's final comments as a member of the Winnipeg Jets."
Paul Friesen, of The Winnipeg Sun, wrote in May, 2022:
"The Jets have a significant mess to clean up, and it starts with the Freedom 55 plan. Rid themselves of their first ever draft pick (Scheifele), find a coach who demands accountability — and makes it public if he has to — and they’ll have taken a big step in the right direction. As for Cheveldayoff, his actions will have to be far more clear than his words."
Mike McIntyre, of the Winnipeg Free Press wrote that Scheifele was making his desire to leave the Jets known publicly and he expected Scheifele to be gone this past summer.
Did we all misunderstand Scheifele?
Here's what I think now.
The problem is that when we watch these media appearances we can't see or possibly know what's going on inside any player's mind or heart.
And after the season they had in 2021/22, try putting yourself in the skates of any one of the players on that Jets team.
How would you have felt?
- Your coach quits because he says the team needs a new voice.
- You and your teammates have been playing through almost two years of COVID protocols.
- You failed to make the playoffs for the first time in five years even though at the beginning of the season you were one of the teams that the hockey "experts" thought would be a contender.
So, is it possible that we all misunderstood Scheifele's words?
Could it be that we really didn't understand the emotions that each of those players was dealing with at that time?
My answer is a resounding "Yes!"
We all hear what we want to hear
You hear what you want to hear and so do I. And when we don't hear what we want to hear, we make sure that we hear what we want to hear.
When Scheifele expressed publicly what was going through his mind during that media appearance, everyone was shocked and upset.
- "How dare he not take accountability for his own play?"
- "It was all me, me, me."
- "Here's a guy who wants the puck, but isn't willing to play the back-checking, defensive game that he should be playing."
Those things were all true.
But what do you think we would have heard from Mark Scheifele if the media and the team had given the Jet's players one week to process everything that had happened during the season before making them appear in front of the cameras?
There's a reason you've been told to "sleep on it."
It's because when human beings express themselves in the heat of their emotions, they often say things that others don't wish to hear.
If the Jets players had been given a week, or even a couple of days, to calm down, think things through, get past their exit interviews, and then appear in front of the media, it's likely that they would have spoken quite differently.
The media always needs a great story
Funny how the media personalities always ask questions like: "What were you thinking when....?" or "How do you feel knowing that....?"
And when a player expresses his feelings and thoughts, and those feelings and thoughts aren't what the writers and broadcasters expected to hear, they write that person off.
- Andrew Paterson thought we very likely weren't going to see Scheifele in a Jets uniform for this season.
- Paul Friesen wanted Freedom 55 - thinking the Jets should "rid themselves of their first ever draft pick."
- Mike McIntyre expected Scheifele to be gone.
It made for great conversation, speculation, radio, podcast, and newspaper content because, let's be honest, the media always needs a great story.
And Scheifele's comments gave them the perfect kind of story to speculate on, write and talk about for months.
Hey, I'm as guilty of writing Scheifele's career as a Winnipeg Jet off as they all were. I believed he was gone. I thought they should "get rid of him."
Good thing we don't run the Winnipeg Jets
There's a good reason that Andrew Paterson, Mike McIntyre, Paul Friesen, and a whole lot of other people, including myself, aren't running the Winnipeg Jets hockey team.
You see, we don't know what we're talking about, most of the time.
Oh, it's easy to look at a team's performance and decide that this player or that player needs to play better, or this player or that player should go.
But based on how the Jets have played so far this season, the people running this team have made some very good decisions, including hiring Rick Bowness, and KEEPING Mark Scheifele.
The Jets sit in a tie for 2nd place with Colorado in the Central Division. Who knew?
The Jet's have the second-lowest number of goals against in the entire NHL. Only Boston is ahead of them.
Connor Hellebuyck has the second-lowest goals against average in the entire NHL and sits at the top of the league for his save percentage (.935) and number of shutouts (2).
And Mark Scheifele has 10 goals in the first 17 games of the season. He's currently on pace for a 40+ goal season.
My public apology to Mark Scheifele and the Winnipeg Jets
So, here I am admitting that I didn't know what I was talking about when I thought the Jets should get rid of Mark Scheifele.
I didn't know what I was talking about when I said that there's no way they would be able to turn this team's culture around without making some major moves during the offseason.
It's a good thing that I don't run the Winnipeg Jets hockey club and that it's in the hands of people who REALLY know what's going on behind the scenes with the players and in the locker room.
And it sure is a good thing that none of the media personalities who had Scheifele written out of the Jets roster for this season run the team.
Sorry, Mark, for doubting your commitment to the team, and for questioning your attitude. I was wrong.
You and the entire team have proven us all to be a bunch of speculating idiots!
Go Jets Go!