Scheifele sleepless in Winnipeg


, Last Updated: 3:25 AM ET

WINNIPEG - Hes using a soothing sounds application on an iPad just to get to sleep and stay asleep these days.

Mark Scheifele was hoping the trick would work one more time, on the night before his first NHL game, which also happens to be the debut of the Winnipeg Jets, version 2.0.

Just to get to play in an NHL game is a dream for me, an unbelievable feeling ... Ill be having dreams about it (Saturday night), Scheifele said after the Jets final practice before their season opener Sunday afternoon against the Montreal Canadiens.

Im anxious to get those first few shifts over with.

Scheifele, an 18-year-old rookie who was drafted seventh overall by the Jets this year, surprised many people by making the teams opening-day lineup with his outstanding training camp and pre-season.

He not only performed well in the exhibition games, but was the Jets leading scorer and was the best player on the ice in a pair of games.

This, of course, is different. Now the games are real and very meaningful.

Ill be very, very nervous, Scheifele said. Just to get to play in your first NHL game, Ill be shaking all day and shaking on the ice during the warm-up. But once I get into the game, everything will be good and Ill get the jitters out the first few shifts.

Scheifele said he is feeling pressure to perform during the nine-game window the team has to evaluate him before it needs to decide to keep him or send him back to junior.

I kind of use that as motivation just like I did in camp and the pre-season, he said. I have determination to work hard and play even harder.

While its an exciting day for citizens of Winnipeg and everyone involved with the Jets organization, its even more special for Scheifele, who is only one season removed from playing junior B hockey.

Playing the first Winnipeg Jets game and playing my first NHL game, its both unreal feelings. Its going to give me butterflies for sure but its great to be a part of it.

I will remember this for life. Its historic for the city, the whole NHL and for me because its my first game.