After a disappointing marketing campaign, Nikolaj Ehlers went to high school on himself, finding out every certainly one of his shifts from the 2018-19 season in an effort to take his recreation to the subsequent degree.Nikolaj Ehlers|Bruce Bennett/Getty ImagesComing off the worst season of his NHL profession, Nikolaj Ehlers of the Winnipeg Jets modified his bedtime ritual over the summer time. This had nothing to do with the scientific method to sleep skilled athletes and groups appear to be taking now, however there was nonetheless an enormous factor of self-improvement to it.
Each night earlier than turning on this low season, Ehlers would take his iPad with him to mattress and watch every certainly one of his shifts from one or two video games final season. By the top of the summer time, he had considered every certainly one of his 1,299 shifts – 1,190 within the common season and 109 within the playoffs – from the 2018-19 season. And it appears as if it has already paid off. Ehlers has roared out of the gate for the Jets with a objective and 5 factors in 4 video games. Within the Jets’ first recreation of the season, a 6-Four loss to the New York Rangers, Ehlers had eight pictures and completed the sport with three assists. The objective got here Tuesday night time in opposition to the Pittsburgh Penguins and couldn’t have come at a greater time. Together with final yr’s disastrous playoffs when he was shut out within the Jets’ first-round loss to St. Louis, that was Ehler’s first objective in 19 video games. But it surely wasn’t a lot that he scored it as the way in which he scored it, leaping on a tender move by the Penguins in their very own zone and utilizing the Pittsburgh defender Marcus Pettersson as a display screen earlier than firing a low snapshot into the online
Principally, these had been the sorts of issues he was seeing himself not doing when he watched his shifts over the summer time. “It’s a whole lot of small particulars,” Ehlers stated in the course of the NHL’s pre-season media tour. “It’s small issues like are available along with your stick on the forecheck on the blokes and possibly not…I wouldn’t say panic, however possibly not simply throw the puck away. Attempt to have some persistence with it. A bit extra persistence than I do have, shoot a little bit bit extra. Stuff that I do know, however I even have to really work on it.”
Up to now, so good on the capturing other thing. Via 4 video games, Ehlers leads the Jets with 17 pictures, which places him fourth within the league and within the firm of Alex Ovechkin and Auston Matthews. And it’s no simple feat having that many pictures when you’ve got guys similar to Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor and Blake Wheeler in your crew. The dangerous information is that Ehlers has only one objective to indicate for it, however the analytics persons are fairly fixed of their perception that this stuff do are inclined to even out over time. They actually didn’t in the course of the playoffs final spring when Ehlers trailed solely Laine with 16 pictures within the sequence in opposition to St. Louis, however had zero objectives. The regarding factor is that Ehlers has truly performed 21 profession playoff video games and has zero objectives.
“I’d be mendacity if I stated it didn’t contact me in any respect,” Ehlers stated. “Not scoring within the playoff sucks. There’s no different phrase for it. It sucks. But it surely’s not like I get to the playoffs and I simply shut myself down. I work as onerous as I can to assist this crew win each single day. I’m pleased with the place I’m at proper now. I wasn’t pleased with my season final yr due to accidents and I wasn’t going the way in which I wished to, nevertheless it’s a brand new season.”
One factor that Ehlers noticed himself doing loads final yr was eliminating the puck too rapidly, each on pictures and passes. And if this season is any indication, that a part of his recreation is altering. Two of the assists in his first recreation got here as a result of he was keen to hold onto the puck and wait to search out an open man. Getting enjoying time on the highest line with Mark Scheifele and Wheeler actually helped, however Ehlers is aware of he has the expertise degree to have the ability to play and produce with high gamers.
“Like I stated, simply throwing the puck away once I do have time and a little bit little bit of house to have some persistence and hold the puck on my stick,” Ehlers stated when requested what he noticed on these late-night highlights. “Stops and begins, (issues) that Paul (Jets coach Maurice) retains telling me to do. Positioning within the defensive zone. There’s a whole lot of small issues. I’m able to work on it. I believe it’s one thing that’s hopefully going to assist me.”
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Tags: winnipeg jetsConnect: Concerning the AuthorKen CampbellKen Campbell, The Hockey Information’ senior author, is in his second tour with the model after an eight-year stint as a beat reporter for the Maple Leafs for the Toronto Star. The Sudbury native as soon as tried out for the Ontario League’s Wolves as a 30-year-old. Evidently, it did not work out.