WINNIPEG - Blake Wheeler has no problem with where he ended up.
However, that doesn’t mean it didn’t sting to see his former team, the Boston Bruins, capture the Stanley Cup a few months after trading him to the Atlanta Thrashers.
“That was tough and it was a lesson right there,” said Wheeler, who inked a two-year contract extension with the Winnipeg Jets this summer. “You learn pretty quick. I’ve been in this league only three years, but to see the guys who I played 200-and-some straight games with and to miss out on that opportunity, it hurts. It really does, there’s no question about it.
“But ultimately, it makes you want it even more and makes you want to be part of something special like that. That’s something to build for here. We need to make that first step of playing hockey in the spring.”
Wheeler, who skated informally with the Jets for the first time on Thursday, is stoked about what’s around the corner.
“There’s no reason we can’t be in that Top-8 for a good part of the season,” said Wheeler. “When we have our first meetings, I’m sure it’s something we’re going to be talking about. You want to be playing when the (regular) season is over with. I learned that the hard way last year.
“(The playoffs) are our goal and that’s what we should be working toward.”
TWO THUMBS UP: Count Jets forward Evander Kane among those who likes the new-look jerseys.
“Yeah, I saw it on TV and was pleasantly surprised,” said Kane. “The colours look really good and personally, I think they’re some of the sharpest uniforms in the league. It’s a pretty simple, straightforward jersey and that makes it stand out.”
AFFILIATE NAMED: The Jets also announced that the ECHL affiliate for them and the St. John’s IceCaps will be the Colorado Eagles.