TD Bank

Wheels Hit the Ice Rolling

Sunday, 09.13.2009 / 1:59 PM ET / Features
By Dyan LeBourdais  - Intern |
Share with your Friends

Wheels Hit the Ice Rolling
Boston, MA -- Blake Wheeler has the look of a man on a mission. Left unsettled by the conclusion of 2008-09, over the summer Wheeler made sure he did everything possible to come back to training camp as strong and as physically fit as possible.

“The way things ended last year it left sort of a sour taste in everyone’s mouth,” said Wheeler. “And it did for me especially.”

By all acounts, during his rookie season Wheeler had an excellent run. In 81 games, he logged 21 goals, 24 assists for 45 points as well as a +36 rating and 46 penalty minutes -- a heck of a season for any player, never mind one slotted to begin the year in the AHL by most pundits.

“I thought he had a good year and it’s unfortunate because people always remember how you finish and they forget sometimes how you start,” said head coach Claude Julien. “And I thought overall if I had to analyze it, he had a real good one.”

Despite his coach’s praise, Wheels remains angry about his production near the end of the regular season and in the playoffs.

“I felt like I could have done a lot more at the end to help our team,” he said on Sunday. “[It] hurt a lot.

"Especially when you have to go home and watch playoff hockey and you feel like you could be out there contributing.”

To Wheeler, the summer felt interminable.

“It kind of made me really anxious to get back here, but anxious to get back on the ice and it felt great to be back there today and kick things off again,” he said. “Tuesday we already got a game, so I just can’t wait to get back on the ice.”

In order to ensure success on that ice, Wheeler eschewed the links for the weight room. Already an accomplished offensive threat, Wheeler added 15-pounds of muscle in an effort to fill out his

“John Whitesides [the Bruins strength and conditioning coach] paid me a little visit this summer and any of you guys that have met Whitey know that he’s a pretty intense guy,” said Blake. “He and I kind of just had our own little program going -- really religiously sticking to his program everyday, running on the track everyday no matter what the weather and little things like that.

“You’d be surprised just staying dedicated to the small things and not skipping things everyday [pays] off.

“So far I’ve felt good out there and I’ve just got to maintain that. And I think that’s the key to success is maintaining throughout the year.”

Now Wheeler wants to make all of his hard work pay off.

“That’s why I kind of pushed myself to a different level this summer,” he said. “I wanted to take my game to the next level.

“So now it’s time to show it and we’ll see what happens.”

And when he took the ice at the TD Garden for the first time this season, fans could see an immediate difference. Wheeler looked stronger and, clearly, not shy about throwing his newfound weight around as evidenced by at least two thundering checks during the first session of practice.

As for the exhibition games that begin on Tuesday, Wheeler said the team will be ready.

“We can’t worry about what other people think of us, we can’t worry about teams being prepared to play us because we’re going to be prepared to play them,” said Wheeler. “So regardless of what they think of us, we’re going to give them our best game and hopefully that’s good enough.

“That’s all you can control.”




1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
3 DET 74 40 22 12 216 201 92
4 BOS 75 37 25 13 199 195 87
5 OTT 74 37 25 12 216 199 86
6 FLA 75 34 26 15 186 205 83
7 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
8 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48


P. Bergeron 74 21 32 2 53
L. Eriksson 74 19 24 2 43
M. Lucic 74 17 25 12 42
D. Hamilton 72 10 32 -3 42
C. Soderberg 75 12 28 10 40
B. Marchand 70 22 17 5 39
R. Smith 74 13 25 10 38
T. Krug 71 12 24 13 36
D. Krejci 40 7 21 6 28
C. Kelly 73 7 20 7 27
T. Rask 30 19 12 .922 2.33
N. Svedberg 7 5 1 .918 2.33
Hallmark Health System
Friendly's - Official Family Restaurant and Ice Cream of the Boston Bruins
Jack Links
NHL Ticket Exchange
Dunkin' Donuts Ultimate Bruins Experience Sweepstakes   AMI Graphics   Geico - Aim for savings

Click the instant ticket and enter to win Second Chance Drawings