Scheifele 'pretty happy' to beat ex-Jets head coach Maurice
Jets fans may have given Paul Maurice a warm welcome in his return to Winnipeg on Tuesday night, but Mark Scheifele was content to beat his former head coach's new team.
"I'm not going to lie, that was a good win in my books," Scheifele said after Winnipeg's 5-2 victory over the Florida Panthers. "Pretty happy with that one. At the end of the day, we've moved on. We're a different team this year than we were last year. It's been exciting for a lot of us. You see the rejuvenated faces in this room.
"(Head coach Rick Bowness) has really been on us a lot each and every day. Whether it's a good game or a bad game, he's always looking to help us. I think it's been awesome for me, it's been awesome for a lot of us. We're being challenged, we're being pushed to reach our full potential, and I think that does a lot for our team."
Scheifele enjoyed a strong performance Tuesday, logging two goals in almost 22 minutes of ice time.
Maurice resigned as head coach of the Jets on Dec. 17, 2021. He'd been the franchise's bench boss since 2014 and accumulated a 315-223-62 record to go with five postseason appearances.
Maurice said it was his decision to step down and that he thought the team needed a "new voice."
"This is a good team, I'm a good coach," Maurice said last December, per the "Tim and Friends" show. "But sometimes, when you take over a team and it's kinda like you're starting at the bottom of a mountain and you're pushing a rock up to the top, you can only get it to a certain place. That's where I feel I'm at."
Dave Lowry replaced Maurice on an interim basis, and the team finished the season with a 39-32-11 record, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2017.
Scheifele questioned his future with the Jets in May but changed his tune and expressed excitement for a fresh start after the franchise hired Bowness in July.
So far, the new head coach has been a good fit in Winnipeg. Bowness raised eyebrows when he announced the team would enter the 2022-23 campaign without a captain - ending Blake Wheeler's tenure donning the "C" - but the Jets are currently tied for first in the Central Division with a record of 16-7-1.
Scheifele has 21 points in 24 games this campaign and is already up to a team-leading 15 goals, which puts him on pace for a career-high 51 tallies over 82 contests. He lit the lamp 29 times in 67 matchups last season.
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