The status of Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine is unknown for the Winnipeg Jets for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers against the Calgary Flames on Monday at Rogers Place in Edmonton.
Each forward was being evaluated Sunday after leaving a 4-1 loss to the Flames in Game 1 on Saturday. Neither took part in practice.
“We’re still going to wait till we get some opinions on it,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said. “We should know later today.”
Scheifele was helped off the ice at 5:39 of the first period on a play along the right boards in the Flames zone after dumping the puck behind the net while being pursued by Calgary forward Matthew Tkachuk.
Laine did not play the final 14:16 of the third period after an exchange with Flames defenseman Mark Giordano. Laine has an apparent upper-body injury.
As part of the NHL Return to Play Plan, a team is not permitted to disclose injury or illness information.
Scheifele and Laine each were to see a specialist Sunday, according to Maurice, who said he believes Scheifele was injured when kicked by Tkachuk.
“It was intentional. It was a filthy, dirty kick to the back of the leg,” Maurice said following Game 1. “You can’t see it on the program feed, but take the blue-line feed and you zoom in. He went after the back of the leg. He could have cut his Achilles. He could have ended the man’s career. It’s an absolutely filthy, disgusting hit.”
Maurice had more to say Sunday.
“I don’t know, if you sin once are you a sinner?” he said. “You know. Sin 10 times? I don’t think he came off the bench and said, ‘Hey I’m going to see if I can go stab the back of Mark Scheifele‘s leg with my skate.’ I think he got to that point and I think that’s exactly what he did. But I don’t think he’s skating across the ice thinking that’s what I’m going to do. I think he plays at a level he’s on the edge, he crosses it sometimes. He crossed it in my mind clearly. That’s exactly how I feel.”
Flames coach Geoff Ward said that Maurice’s comments were meant to try to gain an edge for the Jets.
“I understand what Paul’s doing. He’s defending his player,” Ward said. “He’s trying to get an elite player in our lineup intentionally taken out or suspended. And he’s trying to create some energy, probably, in his own room. He’s a veteran coach. He’s a really good coach. He knows exactly the way he wants to posture himself and the way he wants to do this.
“Is it an unfortunate situation? Yes, it is. But was it intentional? No.”
Tkachuk said he did not intentionally kick Scheifele.
“Absolutely not,” Tkachuk said after Game 1. “I’m backchecking on him, and it’s such an accident. I felt terrible from the result of it. I remember he was turning away. I just went in and my left skate had a little bit of the speed wobbles, and I was moving probably too fast for myself and was going down, and my leg just collided with it, looked like it jammed him up. His body was going one way, but the way I hit him his leg was going one way.
“I feel terrible. He’s a top player in the NHL and someone I’ve come to know the last couple summers training with Gary Roberts. He’s such a great guy. Just a top player in the League. It’s not good for the game when somebody like that isn’t in the game.”
A penalty was not called on the play.
Scheifele has 26 points (16 goals, 10 assists) in 28 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He tied Kyle Connor for the Jets lead in points (73) and led them in assists (44) and power-play goals (10) this season. Scheifele scored 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in the final 11 games before the NHL season was paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.
“Ate with him after the game. I think we were all extremely worried for him. You never want to see a guy go down and to see how much pain he was in,” Jets forward Adam Lowry said. “Right there your heart sinks and you’re thinking the worst. We were still waiting on results at the time, so we’re not sure the extent. We’re hoping it’s more of a scare and not as severe as we first thought, but he was just trying to keep our spirits up. He’s such a good team guy and he’s such a good person that even with all that going on he’s more about making sure that we’re ready for the next game.”
If Scheifele is out, Winnipeg would be without its top two centers. Bryan Little has not played since he was hit with a shot against the New Jersey Devils on Nov. 5. He had surgery in February to repair a perforated eardrum.
Laine was third on the Jets with 28 goals and fourth with 63 points in 68 games.
“You saw it for chunks. When we lost Mark, our power play suffered mightily,” Maurice said. “[Laine] is such a threat over there and you cover off differently if he’s not on the ice in that 5-on-4 situation. You’re talking about two guys that are in our top six and high point producers, so you miss the offense for sure.”
NHL.com staff writer Tim Campbell contributed to this report