Wheeler, Stuart return to Boston for first time since trade

BOSTON — Blake Wheeler admitted that he and Mark Stuart had a little trouble finding the proper entrance to the TD Garden, their last home arena before being traded to the Thrashers.

The former Bruins practiced at the rink Friday for the first time as visiting players since the February trade that also sent Rich Peverley and Boris Valabik to Boston. On Saturday afternoon, the Thrashers visit the Bruins in need of a victory to avoid elimination from the playoff race.

“Extra incentive to play well,” Wheeler said of the stakes.

Both players had played their entire NHL careers with the Bruins.

“It’s going to be different,” Stuart said. “I’ve only known the other bench for five or six years. It will be a little different. I will be excited but when it comes down to it, it’s just another game that we have to win.”

Wheeler, who played 221 games over three seasons with the Bruins, was immediately put on the Thrashers’ top line with Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little. The forward has 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in 18 games since the trade.

“There are mixed feelings,” Wheeler said. “You walk around the city and you feel like you haven’t left at all. … I’m excited more than anything. I don’t think it will be that weird. The weirdest thing will be playing against those guys, the guys I’ve played with the last few years, and actually competing against them. After the first shift, things will fall into place.”

Stuart, who played 283 games over six seasons with the Bruins, said he immediately felt at home with the Thrashers. The defenseman signed a three-year, $5.1 million contract extension just 10 days after the Feb. 18 trade. He appeared in 31 games for the Bruins this season and had been a healthy scratch prior to the deal.

Peverley adjusting

Peverley said he was surprised by the trade, especially after he signed a two-year contract extention with the Thrashers last season.

However, the forward is adapting to a new role with a deep Bruins team, where finding playing time can be difficult. Peverley has two goals and two assists in 18 games and is averaging 14 minutes of ice time. He has been playing on the penalty kill unit.

“I found a role and I’m pretty happy with it,” Peverley said. “We have a really good team and we’ve played really well so far.”

The trade will mean a return to the playoffs for Peverley as the Bruins have clinched a postseason berth.

Peverley spoke to most of his old teammates in between the team practices Friday and expected to go out with several later in the day.

“You develop some pretty good relationships when you live with guys for two years,” Peverley said. “They are good friends.”

Ladd contract

Andrew Ladd said talks continue on a contract extension with the Thrashers. The team captain has previously said both sides are “on the same page.”

Ladd said Friday he has wanted to concentrate on the season as the Thrashers fight for a playoff spot rather than a new deal.

Dvorak out

Forward Radek Dvorak did not practice again on Friday and will not play Saturday against the Bruins. Dvorak suffered an upper-body injury in the first period against the Canadiens on Tuesday. He has not played nor practiced since.

18 comments Add your comment

Brett

April 1st, 2011
4:53 pm

The Ladd situation sounds awful familiar to some of our former players! I hope he truly is concentrating on making the playoffs. Or do you think he is concerned about the Winnipeg winters?

ThrashFan80

April 1st, 2011
5:22 pm

Ladd is an RFA. He’ll be here no matter what.

Brett

April 1st, 2011
7:47 pm

True TF80……but a signing would give us fans one less thing to be concerned about! what with all the relocation talk!

sisu

April 1st, 2011
10:12 pm

team will not move anytime soon or ever…

lordstan57

April 2nd, 2011
12:19 am

Love what these two guys bring to our team. Damn good trade!
Want our boys to finish strong, play w/ pride, continue to build for next season.

Looking forward to the Draft, Free Agency, Prospect Camp Etc..
ALWAYS a loooong hot Summer!!

GO THRASHERS!!!!!!

Eric Belanger

April 2nd, 2011
6:50 am

Here are some comments about relocating to Winnipeg from a former Thrasher currently playing for the Yotes, “The guys have been talking about it a bit more every day, and the one sure thing is that we want to play in Phoenix and not in Winnipeg,” Belanger told Sun Sports. “Personally, and I won’t name any names, but I’ve chatted with guys that have played (in Winnipeg) and don’t want to go back. There are reasons why hockey wasn’t working in Winnipeg at the end, I don’t see how that would have changed.”

Belanger went on to say “I doubt that my family would follow me out there (Winnipeg) for a holiday”.

l.o.l

[...] as it’ll only be a cap hit of just over $466K for next season and over $666K for 2012-13.ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION: Chris Vivlamore recently reported forward Andrew Ladd said contract extension talks with the [...]

[...] Vivlamore du Atlanta Journal-Constitution rapporte que l’attaquant Andrew Ladd, des Thrashers d’Atlanta, a mentionné que les [...]

[...] Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Andrew Ladd and the Atlanta Thrashers continue to talk contract. Both sides are “on the same page”, but he’s been more focused on trying to help the Thrashers get into the playoffs than on the contract. [...]

Brendan

April 2nd, 2011
2:49 pm

Thrashers 2, Bruins 2, after two periods. Season hangs in the balance.

Brendan

April 2nd, 2011
3:26 pm

Ryder scores for Boston, it’s 3-2, late in the 3rd period.

Next year

April 2nd, 2011
3:35 pm

It’s over.

Brendan

April 2nd, 2011
3:41 pm

Playoffs officially dead, for 2011. They gave it a good shot. The 7-16-6 stretch of 29 games from December 21, 2010 to March 3, 2011 killed the season. Team is now 7-5-1 since that nightmare ended. Team is now on pace for 82-points.

Here’s your boxscore. Bogosian was a -2, and Burmie, Ladd, Little, and Enstrom were a -1. The only plus player was Mark Stuart, at +1. http://www.nhl.com/ice/boxscore.htm?id=2010021164

Big Wally

April 2nd, 2011
3:47 pm

It’s always a power play for the other team, when Bogosian is on the ice.

Midfield

April 2nd, 2011
3:49 pm

This is a perfect moment to send Bogosian a message. Sit him down for a few games and bring up Postma or Kulda to play in his spot. Enough is enough. It’s time to grow up or go find a real job, pal.

Thrashy Thrashy

April 2nd, 2011
4:26 pm

It’s never a good idea to flip the puck into a forward’s chest. I don’t know if anyone else saw Rammer barking during that timeout, but I sure hope it was about Bogo. He really had a couple of boneheaded plays today that cost his team a great chance to win. I also didn’t care for Oduya’s penalty on Ryder after Bogo’s biggest mistake. There’s no need to get the stick in there. Steer the man in one direction with your body and let your goalie make a save. Don’t give your opponent two chances to score on a breakaway.

Bart

April 2nd, 2011
7:18 pm

The team is closer to deadlast/15th in the East (8 points out as of this afternoon) than playoff/8th place (9 points out).

[...] Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal Constitution went over the return of Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart to Boston. Little did they know that their former team would have them officially eliminated from the playoffs. Laura Astorian at Bird Watchers Anonymous has chosen to already move on, discussing the Birds’ pre-season plans opposed to lamenting their recent loss. [...]