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Jets’ Wheeler: ‘I’m sick of going home’

Apr 26, 2013, 12:03 PM EDT

BlakeWheeler

The Winnipeg Jets won’t be participating in the playoffs for the second straight season — the sixth straight, if you go back to the Atlanta Thrashers days.

For some, that trend is getting annoying.

“I’m sick of going home right now and I think we have lot of guys that are sick of going home right now,” forward Blake Wheeler told the Winnipeg Sun. “I’m going to have a hard time drawing on any positives, when you’re going home and watching the important hockey being played from your couch again.

“That’s going to be tough to swallow.”

Wheeler’s been with the organization since the Atlanta days and knows what he’s missing out on.

He qualified for the playoffs in each of his first two seasons in the NHL — with Boston — and isn’t alone in postseason experience.

Jets captain Andrew Ladd has won a pair of Stanley Cups, one with defenseman Dustin Byfuglien (in Chicago). Kyle Wellwood‘s played in 40 playoff contests and Mark Stuart‘s played in over 20.

In short, the Jets are reaching a point where having great fans and playing an entertaining style simply isn’t enough anymore.

The team struggled mightily in some key areas (25th in goals against, 23rd on the penalty kill, 22nd in faceoff percentage), which essentially kept it out of a playoff spot.

All eight playoff teams in the East finished with a positive goals for/goals against differential.

Winnipeg finished minus-16.

Wheeler tried to stay positive in his outlook for the future, but acknowledged things need to improve.

“Hopefully, we can all look in the mirror and make a change,” he explained. “I think we’re on the right path.

“But ninth-place is a first-class ticket home again.”

  1. tfaltin - Apr 26, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    No fault of his own. He had a great season and seems to really get it and care. He played some of his best hockey down the stretch. Boston could sure use his scoring punch back this year.

  2. juice1818 - Apr 26, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    Come home to Minny Blake! The Wild would love to have this guy!!

    • nhloon - Apr 26, 2013 at 3:25 PM

      I would not recommend that, wheeler whined his way into an arbitration hearing, won, and did not perfrom, was shipped out of Boston (at playoff time) for Rich Peverley and a AHL defenseman.

      Long story short, guy plays uninspired hockey most of the time. I know he’s a MN native, but, after seeing his play in Boston, which at times was impressive, he does not bring it on a nightly basis.

      Plus, he’s 6’5 and hits like Mike Ribiero.

      • odj810 - Apr 26, 2013 at 4:05 PM

        he’s not the same player he was in boston. The move worked we won the cup but the guy can play.

  3. ironmike778 - Apr 26, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    Wheeler was HORRIBLE in Boston. Thank god he got traded because his replacements were huge keys to winning the Cup. No regrets whatsoever getting rid of him.

  4. 19to77 - Apr 26, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    Jets need a big overhaul on defense, same as Carolina. They’ve got decent scoring punch, but they HAVE to keep pucks out of the net better if they want to make the playoffs.

  5. pastabelly - Apr 27, 2013 at 5:04 AM

    Peverley was great in the Cup run. Wheeler has turned out to be the better player. Is this even debatable? Bad timing for Wheeler.

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