Mark Scheifele spoke to the media again today. It is the second time he has done so since being given a four game suspension by the Department of Player Safety (DoPS) for a late charge which led to Montreal Canadiens forward Jake Evans being taken off the ice on a stretcher. Both times Scheifele failed to take any responsibility for the hit itself and seemed to blame everyone else for his absence.
When the suspension came down, it was more games than most people were expecting. A lot of people had the response: good, but now DoPS has to use this as the standard. We know that they won’t, but they should be. However, the most troubling development is how quickly Mark Scheifele abdicated any responsibility for the hit and seemed to blame DoPS for him missing games and not realize that his actions directly led to his suspension.
This comes after it came out that Scheifele refused to take any responsibility for the hit in his hearing and after he abdicated responsibility the day after he threw the hit (I think, life is a blur right now). If Scheifele was to learn anything from his suspension, he would have already realized that the hit he threw was unnecessary and that he could have made a play on the puck instead.
However, Scheifele’s lack of acceptance for his suspension is a microcosm for a lot of the Jets issues this season: they have an abdication for their play and believe that it is always the cause of something out of their control that they lost. They think that they lost to the Montreal Canadiens because the Habs played better and not because they lacked any type of effort even when facing elimination. They think that they have played well all season. They think that Paul Maurice is a good coach even as he continues to get middling results at best. The players on the Winnipeg Jets have accepted that they are mediocre and that mediocre results are a sign of success.
It was not outside forces that made Scheifele hit Jake Evans and never take responsibility for his actions and it is not outside forces that make the Jets think that they are the team they were three years ago. They are worse off in almost every position save for goal where Connor Hellebuyck is still an absolute force. Hellebuyck did his part against Montreal when no one else stepped up.
The Winnipeg Jets look to certain players to lead. One of those players is Mark Scheifele. Based on what he has said not only about his suspension, but about the play of the Jets overall point towards a leader not seeing anything wrong with the season. The Jets will only fly as high as they can if they are willing to be critical of their play. The leaders on the Jets fail at that point and are unable to see how they could be better.
To drive that home, this was Scheifele’s response to a question about Paul Maurice and where the Jets stand as a team:
I asked #NHLJets Mark Scheifele for his thoughts about Paul Maurice and the current state of his club.— Mike McIntyre (@mikemcintyrewpg) June 9, 2021
He came out firing.
"You guys didn't have any hope for this team from Day 1 and we proved you guys wrong."#wfp
I don’t know why the media needs to be brought into this. The Jets got swept in the second round by a team whose own fans don’t know how they are winning right now. On paper the Jets were who they should be on paper: a team that was better than their lineup because they have Connor Hellebuyck in net. Most of the team, save for Pierre-Luc Dubois, came ready to justify their playoff sweep and any poor play in the season. They came mad that the media didn’t believe in them more. They came as victims and Mark Scheifele was the biggest victim of them all.