Blake Wheeler fires back at Rick Bowness on Saturday.

Blake Wheeler fires back at Rick Bowness on Saturday.

The former captain of the Winnipeg Jets responds to the fiery tirade from his head coach earlier in the week.

Jonathan Larivee

Former Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler and his teammates were raked over the coals by their head coach Rick Bowness after being eliminated from Stanley Cup playoff contention, and now Wheeler is firing back.

On Saturday, Wheeler called out Bowness for publicly bashing the Jets players, implied Bowness had been dishonest, and suggested that his comments would have been better received had they been delivered in private.

"I thought Bones had an opportunity to address us as a team," said Wheeler on Saturday. "He could’ve been honest with us, handled it behind closed doors… I didn’t like how he handled himself after the game.”

Earlier in the week, Winnipeg Jets head coach Rick Bowness unloaded on his players after they were eliminated in 5 games at the hands of the Las Vegas Golden Knights.

Bowness went off on a tirade that you don't often see from modern day coaches in the National Hockey League, one in which he made no effort to spare the potentially hurt feelings of the players in the Winnipeg Jets' locker room.

"Overall thoughts? I'm so disappointed and disgusted right now... that's my thoughts." said a noticeably irate Bowness after Game 5. "No pushback, but it's the same crap we saw in February," said Bowness.

Although Bowness did not specifically call out any players by name during his rant, he made it clear that he wasn't directing his ire at the team's fourth liners.

"Their better players were so much better than ours, it's not even close," said a genuinely disgusted Rick Bowness. "Their better players were so much better than ours tonight, they deserved to win. They were the better team in the regular season, they were the better team in this series."

It would come as a surprise to no one if Wheeler was included among the group of players that Bowness was calling out in his tirade and it may even be a sign that Wheeler, who was stripped of the captaincy prior to the start of the season, has worn out his welcome in Winnipeg.