WINNIPEG, MB – NOVEMBER 9: Blake Wheeler #26 of the Winnipeg Jets gets set during a third period face-off against the Colorado Avalanche at the Bell MTS Place on November 9, 2018 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The Jets defeated the Avs 5-2. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

Blake Wheeler finds himself atop the National Hockey League in Assists with 43.  Pretty amazing based on the fact that he has just 48 points.  Wheeler is one of the most underrated players in the NHL.  He drives this powerful Winnipeg Jets team. The big power forward has been critical in the resurgence of the Jets.  After a slow start Jets have rallied lately winning 11 of their last 13 games.  The strong surge has put them a top the Central Division and has silenced the early season critics.

Last Saturday the big forward found himself in a great deal of pain as he took a 100 plus mph slap shot to the mid-section from Dustin Byfuglien. Not how the league leader wanted to start his Christmas vacation.

  • The Carolina Hurricanes hosted the Boston Bruins last Sunday and it was Hartford Whalers night. A tribute to the roots of the franchise.  The Hartford Whalers relocated to Carolina in 1997 and the Whalers have truly been missed.  Maybe it’s the jerseys and Brass Bonanza that most missed but Hartford was always a strong hockey market, much like Winnipeg was.  I just wish that somehow or some way this game could have been played back in Hartford.
  • The 2019 version of the World Junior Hockey Championships are underway. The United States and Canada are favored to win their respected pool.  On paper it looks as though they will meet for gold, but things rarely go as planned.  My prediction is the United States wins gold and Eeli Tolvanen of Finland leads the tournament in points.
  • The season of superstar Erik Karlsson has been far from positive since his trade to the San Jose Sharks. It got worse this week when he was suspended for a hit on Los Angeles Kings forward Austin Wagner.  He has now been suspended by the NHL Player Safety for two games.  I was a little surprised at this suspension.  He has a clean record and the hit was marginal. I thought maybe one game at worst, but the fact that he got two was very surprising.



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