MONTREAL — When Blake Wheeler arrived in Montreal Thursday afternoon, his sticks didn’t.
Then an attempt to get his extra sticks to Montreal via teammate Marc Savard failed.
So when the rookie arrived at Bell Centre today for the All-Star practice in preparation for the YoungStars Game presented by Upper Deck, he assumed he’d have to borrow some sticks. Lo and behold, his sticks were at the rink waiting for him.
“I didn’t expect them here this morning. Magically, they showed up,” Wheeler explained after he scored three goals and added one assist in a 9-5 win by his squad of rookies over a team of sophomores. “I guess somebody from the airline made a special stop at the rink. But it was a good thing to have your own sticks.”
The four twigs the airline originally lost served Wheeler well. He started the game by assisting on a goal by St. Louis’ Patrik Berglund. He ended the game with a failed breakaway attempt that concluded with him crashing into the end wall after he avoided Montreal goaltender Carey Price.
“I probably just fell. I just wanted to make sure I didn’t slide into him and take him out,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler joked that all you get for a performance like his is the trophy and a pat on the back. But on a serious note, this was an experience that will last him throughout the rest of his career.
“It was awesome. It was fun to be out there in front of all those people,” he said. “That was probably the best part of the whole experience was just seeing the atmosphere and the Montreal fans.”