When Boston Bruins rookie Blake Wheeler heaped all the blame for Monday’s loss to St. Louis on his shoulders, he might have also been venting his frustrations over what has been his least productive stretch of play in his first NHL season.
The left winger, who missed an empty net and rattled a shootout attempt off the post in the loss to the Blues, hasn’t scored a goal in 11 games. That’s the first double-digit goal drought of his first pro season. Head coach Claude Julien made sure to have a heart-to-heart with his prized freshman Tuesday. And basically he wants the former University of Minnesota star to keep his head up.
“I thought maybe for me, it was about having a chat with him and making him understand he’s a first-year player, he’s had a great start. Hitting a bit of a wall at one point is normal for those players that are used to playing 40 games a year. … But they get out of it and they usually get their groove back again,” Julien said after Tuesday’s practice. “Right now, for him, he just has to take a step back, try to keep his game simple as best as he can and not get discouraged.”
“When I say hit a wall, you lose maybe that momentum that you had … and sometimes those guys put so much pressure on themselves that it takes them longer and it makes it harder,” Julien continued. “So for him, it’s just about him knowing that the coaches understand what he’s going through and we’re going to help him through at long as he stays positive and doesn’t get down on himself.”