Blake Wheeler

Jets re-sign Blake Wheeler to two-year, $5.1 million deal

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You can knock another potential arbitration case off the books. Winnipeg will be keeping Blake Wheeler around for a little while longer as they re-signed the restricted free agent to a two-year, $5.1 million deal.

Wheeler was set to go to arbitration with the Jets on August 3, but thanks to the new deal he’ll get to avoid the awkward dance in court between GM Kevin Cheveldayoff and himself. Last season with the Thrashers and Bruins, Wheeler scored 18 goals and added 26 assists in what was a bounce back season after his sophomore campaign the year before.

Throughout his three years in the NHL, Wheeler has been a steady producer averaging nearly 20 goals per season and over 40 points per year. While that kind of offense is good for a third liner, it doesn’t make him worthy of the draft position he was taken at back in 2004 as the fifth overall choice by Phoenix.

With a new start with the same team in a new location in Winnipeg, Wheeler will get top six forward minutes. Last season in Atlanta, Wheeler averaged nearly 19 minutes of ice time per game. Comparing that with what he had in Boston, it’s easy to see why Wheeler have 17 points in 23 games with the Thrashers. Through 58 games with Boston last season, Wheeler averaged less than 16 minutes and scored just 27 points.

With the opportunity to grow and get more ice time in Winnipeg, the two year commitment could pay off in the end for Wheeler. When this new deal ends he’ll be a restricted free agent once again with the chance to cash in better. Playing along side Evander Kane, Bryan Little, and Andrew Ladd should help him be more productive than not.

Despite tough fight, Stars hand Wild their sixth straight loss

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The Minnesota Wild put together the kind of effort that would beat a lot of NHL teams on Tuesday. Unfortunately for that beleaguered group, it wasn’t enough to edge the Dallas Stars.

Despite generating 40 shots on goal and generating 1-0 and 2-1 leads, the Wild lost to the Stars 4-3 in overtime. With that, they’ve lost six straight games.

(The view doesn’t get much prettier if you pull away a little further, either, as Minnesota’s only won once in the last month, going 1-9-2 in their last 12.)

Ultimately, the Stars’ big guns were too powerful. Tyler Seguin generated two assists and so did Jamie Benn, who set up John Klingberg‘s overtime game-winning goal.

Again, the effort sure seemed to be there for the Wild, even if they’re far beyond the point of accepting moral victories.

As frustrating as this must be, Minnesota’s not that far from a playoff spot. Still, it has to sting to see “Close, but not good enough” as a prevailing theme as of late.

Royal beating: Lucic, Kings crush Bruins 9-2

As Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron (37) looks on Los Angeles Kings' Milan Lucic waves to the crowd after a tribute to him was played on the screen during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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The Boston Bruins welcomed Milan Lucic back on Tuesday. Maybe they shouldn’t have extended such a warm welcome to the Los Angeles Kings overall, however.

You won’t see many games as lopsided as this one, at least in 2015-16, as the Kings walloped the Bruins by a humbling score of 9-2.

Lucic wasn’t just there, either, as he scored a goal and an assist in his quite triumphant return to Boston.

Tuukka Rask had a short night in Boston’s net, yet it wasn’t as if Jonas Gustavsson enjoyed his time. It was a pretty sound beating by all accounts.

This dominant win is a heck of a way for the Kings to begin an imposing seven-game road trip, which continues against the New York Islanders on Thursday. The Bruins probably want to burn the tape on this one themselves, as they’re about to head on a six-game road trip.

Video: Evander Kane believes he won his fights vs. Alex Petrovic

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The Florida Panthers are beating up the Buffalo Sabres where it counts – on the scoreboard – but Evander Kane was happy to highlight his perceived victories in a couple bouts.

Buffalo’s power forward fought Alex Petrovic twice on Tuesday, and Kane wasn’t shy about holding up a “2-0.”

You can watch the second fight above, and the first one below, via Hockey Fights by way of MSG:

This GIF might just say it all, really:

Update: Apparently they fought again moments after this post went up.

Probably safe to call it a rivalry between the two, right?

The Panthers ultimately won 7-4.

Fight video: Yes, a visor-breaking punch

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Some hockey players resist the urge to wear a visor, at least if they’re given that choice.

Perhaps a few will say “Hey, Nathan Beaulieu will just punch it off anyway.”

Maybe not, but Beaulieu provided a rather unique moment in his fight with Cedric Paquette during the Montreal Canadiens – Tampa Bay Lightning game. You can watch that bout in the video above, and see a cut on the Lightning pest’s face from that blow.

Want it in GIF form? OK then: