By Scott Taylor
December 4, 2017
WINNIPEG — Winnipeg Jets captain and native Minnesotan, Blake Wheeler, had himself quite a week. So did his team.
Wheeler’s stretch was so good, in fact, that on Monday, the 31-year-old winger from Plymouth, Minnesota, was named the NHL’s First Star of the Week for the week ending December 3.
Wheeler had two goals and 10 points in four games last week, and he led the Jets to a 3-0-1 record. Winnipeg is now 17-6-4, first in the Central, first in the West and tied with Tampa for first overall.
Wheeler now leads the NHL in assists with 28 and is fourth in the league in scoring with 35 points.
Wheeler scored a goal and added a pair of assists in a 7-4 win against the Minnesota Wild on November 27. He didn’t score in a 3-2 OT loss in Colorado, but he had three assists in Winnipeg’s 7-4 win over Vegas on December 1. He then finished the week with a goal and three more assists in a slick 5-0 victory against the Ottawa Senators at Bell MTS Place on Sunday.
After the Sunday game, he paid tribute to his power-play linemates.
“Mark Scheifele and Patty Laine are two of the best right-shots in the world and they’re on the same power play,” said Wheeler, after being informed that he now led the NHL in assists. “Yeah, it (the league-lead in assists) showed on the board and guys started saying stuff. But that’s not what I’m trying to do, to be honest with you. I’m trying to play how we’re trying to play every single night. Play hard, play fast every single night. It’s December, we’re not slapping ourselves on the back. I think where we’re at right now is that we’re excited with where our team is at. It’s the best we’ve done since we’ve been back in Winnipeg and we’re excited about that.”
This is the second time in his career that Wheeler has been selected in the NHL’s Three Stars of the Week. He was the Second Star for the week ending Feb. 20, 2012. That was way back in his first full season with the Jets.
The last Winnipeg player to be named to the NHL’s Three Stars of the Week was Nikolaj Ehlers, who was First Star earlier this season for the week ending Oct. 16, 2017.