Cross Checks: Blake Wheeler

Morning Links: Day 44 of lockout

October, 29, 2012
We are a little late, but it's still morning somewhere.

  • Jack Johnson posted a passionate blog about the lockout expressing his desire to play hockey, his limited opportunity to do his job and his disappointment that owners are trying to dismantle existing contracts – all on a site linked off of (USA Today)
  • Ken Dryden said both sides are to blame if the NHL loses the entire season to labor negotiations. “They have to understand this is not make-or-break. … This is not survival – real or imagined – on either side of it. Both are doing well enough. … And after you’ve lost one season in 2004, you can’t lose another without it being a defeat for both sides, a failure for both sides.” (Calgary Sun)
  • Blackhawks players believe the NHL’s canceling of November’s games was just a scare tactic. “If there’s a deal reached tomorrow, they can un-cancel those games, so I don’t think it really means too much,” said Patrick Kane. Jonathan Toews added,” It’s been proven over time they’re on a timeline and they’re waiting to see how much they can squeeze us for.” (Chicago Sun-Times)
  • Roberto Luongo refused to speculate about where he will be playing next season when talking to the media at a World Series of Poker circuit event, but said he never game the Canucks a list of teams he was willing to be traded too, they simply spoke about certain teams. (Vancouver Sun)
  • With plenty of time on their hands during the lockout, Rangers teammates Brad Richards, Henrik Lundqvist, Brian Boyle and Michael Del Zotto did a fashion spread in Esquire magazine. (Esquire)
  • Brian Gionta didn’t believe the NHL was serious about saving an 82-game season with its last proposal. “If they really wanted to save 82 games, they should have started the process back in August or September or, at the very least, been willing to hash things out between the [players’] offers. To recess for 10 minutes then come back and say, ‘No, on all accounts,’ then say, ‘We have nothing new to say,’ and then sit for a week, it seems kind of like a scare tactic or posturing on their side.” (Montreal Gazette)
  • Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov injured his ribs in a collision at the boards and may be returning to Montreal. (Montreal Gazette)
  • Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback will play in Finland for Ilves Tampere for the duration of the lockout, according to his agent. (Tampa Bay Times)
  • The Jets’ Blake Wheeler signed with EHC Red Bull Munchen of the German Elite League and is expected to join the team this week. (Winnipeg Free Press)

Morning Links: Day 11 of the lockout

September, 26, 2012
  • Victor Hedman's agent said the Lightning defenseman signed a contract with the KHL’s Barys Astana and he will report on Friday. (Tampa Bay Times)
  • Locked-out Predators players hired Shawn Allard, who runs an Ontario-based skating organization that works with hockey players of all levels, to coach them during the lockout. (The Tennessean)
  • Claude Giroux is "getting bored" without games to play and is considering going to Europe to help stay in shape during the lockout. (Ottawa Sun)
  • About 40 locked-out NHLers renting ice in Minnesota were kicked off the ice by a figure skating instructor for her private lesson. (Star Tribune)
  • Milan Michalek is caught in the middle of the lockout as he skates with locked out Senators players, but is allowed to use team facilities and will still get paid since he had surgery on Sept. 11 while players were still under the old CBA. (Ottawa Citizen)
  • With the lockout separating Jimmy Howard from mentor Chris Osgood – who became a goaltending development coach after retiring – the Wings’ goalie is doing drills with Todd Bertuzzi, who dreams of being a goalie. (Detroit Free Press)
  • Kevin Bieksa and Mason Raymond are taking part in an NHLPA initiative where players will drop in on kids’ hockey practices to help coach. (The Province)
  • The Jets’ Blake Wheeler is waiting until after Nov. 6 to decide if he will go to Europe to play because he and his wife are expecting a baby boy. (Winnipeg Sun)
  • Two young local goaltenders are living the dream as they were asked to workout with the group of locked-out NHL players skating in Nashville. (The Tennessean)

Wheeler on post-Valentine's Day run

March, 6, 2012
Blake Wheeler scored the Jets' second goal in their 3-1 win over the Sabres Monday night. Wheeler has recorded 16 points over his last nine games, dating back to February 16 (five goals, 11 assists). Only two players have more points than Wheeler since that date: Teddy Purcell (19) and Steven Stamkos (18).
From the official NHL release:


NEW YORK (February 20, 2012) – Anaheim Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller, Winnipeg Jets right wing Blake Wheeler and Ottawa Senators center Jason Spezza have been named the NHL's 'Three Stars' for the week ending Feb. 19.


Hiller posted a 3-0-1 record, 0.98 goals-against average, .961 save percentage and one shutout as the Ducks continued their playoff push by earning seven of eight points on the road. Hiller began the week making 17 saves in a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild Feb. 14 and stopping 25 shots the following night in a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. He recorded 25 saves in a 3-2 shootout loss to the New Jersey Devils Feb. 17 and recorded his 14th career NHL shutout as Anaheim defeated the Florida Panthers 2-0, Feb. 19. Hiller improved his season record to 22-19-10 with a
2.62 goals-against average, .910 save percentage and three shutouts in 53 appearances. Having trailed the #8 seed in the Western Conference by 20 points on Jan. 6, the Ducks enter the final stage of their eight-game road trip within five points of the West's final playoff position.


Wheeler tallied a League-leading eight points (one goal, seven
assists) as the Jets won three of four games and pulled even in points with the #8-seed Toronto Maple Leafs in the Eastern Conference standings.
Wheeler recorded one assist in a 4-3 shootout win over the Minnesota Wild Feb. 16, notched one goal and two assists in a 4-2 victory over the Boston Bruins Feb. 17 and recorded four assists in a 5-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche Feb. 19. Playing in his fourth NHL season, the 25-year-old native of Robbinsdale, Minn., leads the Jets in scoring with 46 points (11 goals,
35 assists), surpassing his single-season career highs in assists and points.


Spezza recorded seven points (three goals, four assists) as the Senators swept a pair of games in the state of Florida and climbed to seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings. Spezza tallied three goals and one assist in a 4-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning Feb. 14 and notched three assists the following night in a 6-2 win over the Florida Panthers. The nine-year NHL veteran has appeared in each of Ottawa's 60 games this season, ranking sixth in the League in scoring with 63 points
(25 goals, 38 assists).