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My Road: Blake Wheeler

Friday, 06.04.2012 / 10:15 AM / Feature
By Chris Kreviazuk

Blake Wheeler

Robbinsdale, MN – Earliest hockey memories:
“I had skated a bit before, but the first real memory was my first practice with my first team. My mom just kind of threw me out there and I went for it. I also remember my dad took me to a North Stars game at the old Met Center, but I was a bit too young to really follow the team at all.”

Plymouth, MN – First game: “I was playing Squirts in the Wayzata Youth Hockey Association. My dad was never big into hockey, and didn’t know too much about it. He brought a newspaper to keep himself occupied but then he saw me wheeling around out there, and the newspaper was put away pretty quick. I remember putting a few (goals) home and thinking ‘this is a pretty cool sport.’”

Plymouth, MN – Minor hockey with the Wayzata Trojans: “I played for the Wayzata Trojans all the way from Squirts right up until I was about 15, when I started playing high school. We had different coaches for each age group, but it was pretty much the same group of guys all the way up. Every one of my coaches had an impact on me, but my bantam coach Hal Tearse was the first one who was hard on me and really helped me to begin to become a more complete player.”

Golden Valley, MN – Breakout at Breck High School: “My junior year in high school was a crazy time. The year before I had tried out for the US national team and was cut, but after playing my junior season at Breck I was drafted fifth overall into the NHL, so that was kind of my taking-off season. My coach was Wally Chapman and he took me aside a couple of times and made it clear that I could either be a good player or a really great player, and taught me to expect more out of myself. It was a huge learning year, but also a really fun year.”

Raleigh, NC – Picked Fifth overall by Phoenix at the 2004 NHL draft: “I had heard whispers that I may go in the first round. My agent had a pretty good idea that I would go that high but never let me know. I was a fan like anyone else when Wayne Gretzky stepped to the podium, and when he called my name I was in shock. It was pretty crazy.”

Green Bay, WI – Growing up with the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL: “I left high school before my senior year to play in the USHL. I felt I had accomplished all I could at the high school level, and wanted to test myself against bigger and older players. It was a good growing up year for me too, because I had to move away from home for the first time, so that played into it as well. It was a big year developmentally for me.”

Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN – Three years with the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers: “I went from playing college right to the NHL, and a lot of that has to do with the coaching staff of the Gophers. The whole staff including (head coach) Don Lucia was great. They pushed me really hard to become a complete player. I think I went there with some bad habits and came out of there ready to play in the NHL so I can’t say enough good things about the staff there.”

Blake Wheeler with the Boston BruinsBoston, MA – Great rookie numbers with the Boston Bruins: “I think (my having a good year personally) was a product of how good the team was. We were the second-best team in the NHL that year. We had some great players there, and when you are put in a situation with those types of players it helps a lot.”

Atlanta, GA – Dealt just before 2010-11 deadline to the Thrashers: “I had heard rumblings that I may be traded, but it’s still a bit of a shock whenever you’re traded. Right after it happened I could see that it was going to be a really good thing for me. It was a chance to come into a new environment and potentially be a bigger part of the team.”

Winnipeg, MB – Becoming one of the Jets marquee players: “The coaching staff has given me a lot of responsibility, and a big role. I’m playing a lot of minutes and playing with really good players. All of that put together has really given me a lot to be excited about every game and when you are excited and having fun playing hockey, that’s when you play your best.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
B. Wheeler 82 28 41 4 69
B. Little 82 23 41 8 64
D. Byfuglien 78 20 36 -20 56
A. Ladd 78 23 31 8 54
O. Jokinen 82 18 25 -8 43
M. Frolik 81 15 27 8 42
E. Kane 63 19 22 -7 41
M. Scheifele 63 13 21 9 34
T. Enstrom 82 10 20 -9 30
J. Trouba 65 10 19 4 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Montoya 13 8 3 .920 2.30
O. Pavelec 22 26 7 .901 3.01