Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Wheeler does best to clobber Subban

Habs' blue-liner yapping as usual

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MONTREAL -- He's not the most popular player around the National Hockey League. In fact, a lot of players in the league would have killed for the opportunity Blake Wheeler was afforded on Sunday:

A chance to drop the gloves and go after the Canadiens' gifted, trash-talking defenceman P.K. Subban.

"I asked him to fight," said Wheeler, "and he didn't do anything. He did his old fake-fight thing where he skates to the bench and then starts throwing punches. Whatever. He wants to fight he can fight, but there's a right way to do it."

It was Wheeler's first fight this season and spoke volumes as to his, and his team's, level of frustration.

"It's good on (Wheeler)," said Jets' captain Andrew Ladd of the fight. "Obviously he's emotional. I know him, he wants to win and be a big part of this team. That's him stepping up and showing his frustration and that's he's trying to do something to pick the team up."

Asked if Subban was yapping at the Jets during the game -- he and Ladd also exchanged verbal pleasantries -- the captain added:

"He's always talking. That's just his game and what he does. For me you try to leave guys like that alone, let them do their thing and try to play your own game."

-- Ed Tait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 6, 2012 C3

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