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Maurice rebukes Wheeler critics: 'He's got f------ 11 points in 10 games'

Darcy Finley / National Hockey League / Getty

Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice is scratching his head at recent criticisms of Blake Wheeler.

Maurice spoke candidly to reporters Wednesday regarding recent jabs at Winnipeg's captain, who has been on the ice for more five-on-five goals against than any other Jets skater this season.

Wheeler has been out for three Winnipeg goals at five-on-five and 14 against through 10 games, and some reporters called out the 34-year-old for his lackadaisical effort on a goal scored by Matthew Tkachuk in Tuesday's game against the Calgary Flames.

"The goal that you're beaking him on (Tuesday) night, he got put in a real tough spot by a horseshit backcheck by somebody else," Maurice said, according to TSN. "I'm sensitive to it because I've been in awe of this guy since I got here.

"His worth (ethic), like he's unimpeachable, and his character. How he runs that room and how he plays. He's got f------ 11 points in 10 games."

Maurice added that while he doesn't have an issue with criticism, he does expect criticism to be accurate.

"I'd just like you to be right about it," Maurice said. "You'll do your deep dives and analytics, and god, they do a horseshit job of telling you what five guys do."

He continued: "So, I'm not so much protective of Blake Wheeler; I'm more protective of the Winnipeg Jets. You get a guy in your town that plays that hard and is such a fine, fine leader, and a fine man? Let's be real careful.

"If his plus-minus number isn't what you want - like he's prorated out at about 88 points, man. And we're 10 games in, we're 6-3-1, and you're beaking my captain. I'm offended by it."

Wheeler has notched three goals and eight assists this season while carrying a plus-minus rating of minus-9.

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