Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 02/1/2014 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
It would seem that once a player pulls on his country's colours at the Winter Olympics, all sense of loyalty and friendship among NHL teammates from rival nations is instantly scrapped.
Case in point, we give you Blake Wheeler -- proud member of the Winnipeg Jets and Team USA -- when asked by Global's Joe Pascucci Friday whether he would reveal any secrets prior to a game against the Czech Republic about how to beat Ondrej Pavelec:
"Absolutely," said Wheeler with a grin. "Hopefully, I can show 'em."
Asked about that being a Catch-22 -- providing inside info on a teammate -- Wheeler gave the same answer any player representing his country in a major event would likely offer.
"At that point in time I'll be playing for Team USA," said Wheeler. "All the more knowledge you can share with your teammates at the time, I say all the better. I'm sure there will be whispers on their side, too, about some of our guys. That's just the way it goes. You're trying win. And when we get to Winnipeg, hopefully they forget all the advice you give them."
When Pavelec was told of Wheeler's take he grinned, then added:
"Yeah? Can't wait. They have a great team. We'll see. Our first game is against Sweden so that's what I'm looking forward to and then we'll go from there."
FAMILIAR FACES: Alexandre Burrows was one of six Canucks in the lineup Friday night with Manitoba Moose games on his career resumé.
Burrows graduated to a full-time role with the Moose in 2004-05 after playing three years in the ECHL and all told, played 134 games in Manitoba.
"When I played for the Moose, they gave me my first chance, my first shot at becoming a pro player and obviously I owe a lot to Craig Heisinger and Mr. Chipman for giving me the chance to play in the AHL and then the NHL," Burrows said.
"It reminds me of good memories, good times I spent here in Winnipeg and hopefully tonight we'll be able to have a good game for them."
Those memories included the opening days and first season of the MTS Centre.
"Obviously the last game at the old building was pretty neat," he said. "I remember that one and the first one at MTS here was in front of a packed crowd, two of the games I remember for sure.
"But for me the most special was the playoff run we had during the lockout year, to the conference final and the league was pretty strong back then and against a lot of good players that are now stars in the NHL.
"The entire ride, with the fans supporting us, a sold-out crowd for most of those games, that was a lot of fun."
The Jets announced Friday they will host an outdoor practice at The Forks on the Assiniboine River on Sunday, Feb. 23. The workout starts at 1:30 p.m. and is open and free to the public.
The Jets along with the full coaching staff will skate for approximately one hour as they prepare for the final stretch of the regular season after the Olympic break.
The St. John's IceCaps won their fifth straight Friday night, scoring a team record five power-play goals en route to a 7-4 win over the Portland Pirates in Lewiston, Maine.
Jerome Samson scored twice, John Albert registered a goal and two assists with singles from Brenden Kichton, Adam Lowry, Jason Jaffray and Will O'Neill. Michael Hutchinson was busy in making 33 saves for his fifth win in six games this season.
Kichton, FYI, has seven points (2G, 5A) in his last three games.
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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 1, 2014 C4
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