Rangers forward issues unusual statement following tough overtime loss

Hunter Bowman
May 29, 2024  (7:51 PM)

Ranger forward Blake Wheeler
Photo credit: NHL.com

New York Rangers veteran Blake Wheeler played his first game In about three and half months and didn't quite get the outcome everyone was expecting.

Wheeler had a tough time during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Amerant Bank Arena, at first it was the bad pass from his teammate Mika Zibanejad that ended up being turned over, not entirely his fault but it did happen.
Then he chases down Florida Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov and hooks him to prevent a scoring change, but earns a penalty on the play. Leaving it a 5 on 4 during OT before Sam Reinhart scores and ties up the series at 2-2.
For a veteran player who has 1,238 combined regular-season and Stanley Cup Playoff games, to make a play like this, is definitely tough for the team. However, this is what Wheeler had to say on the situation:
"I mean, I wish I wasn't racing back down the ice especially with the guy that I'm chasing," Wheeler said at the Rangers' team hotel Wednesday morning. "I've replayed it a million times between last night and this morning and I own that play. I talked to [goalie Igor Shesterkin] about it after and asked him if he would prefer me to just let him take that look. If there's anyone I trust to make that save it's him. But if I had to do it all over again, I'd do the same thing.»

«You know, hindsight is 20-20. You never know, right? He might make a big save or not. Let him go and he score [versus] putting them on the power play and maybe we stop them. Tough situation, but like I said I own my actions and I think I would have done it all over the same way."

After suffering a gruesome leg injury on February 15, while playing the Montreal Canadiens. Wheeler managed to get 15 shifts throughout game 4 and played up to 9:18 minutes on the ice.
It's hard to know if Wheeler's playoff appearance was just a one time thing or if he'll join the Rangers for game 5, only time will tell especially with Rangers morning skate tomorrow.
Source: NHL.com
Wheeler regrets end of Game 4 for Rangers, but happy to be back in lineup
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Rangers forward issues unusual statement following tough overtime loss

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