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Category: St-Louis-Blues

The St. Louis Blues Still Believe In Nail Yakupov

from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

In October, the Blues acquired Yakupov for forward prospect Zach Pochiro and a conditional third-round pick, hoping that a change of scenery would help the 23-year-old, who floundered during four seasons in Edmonton.

Yakupov had a decent start with the Blues, with four points in his first six games, but soon his ice time diminished and he was dropped to the fourth line before becoming a healthy scratch for the first time Nov. 5. He’s sat out seven of the Blues’ past 12 games and isn’t expected to be in the lineup when they host Tampa Bay on Thursday at Scottrade Center. But apparently that doesn’t have the club second-guessing the deal.

“We felt it was a worthwhile gamble,” Armstrong said. “We gave up a third-round draft pick and he’s come in, and quite honestly, someone like Dmitrij Jaskin is really playing great hockey right now and he’s taken away his ice time. That’s just the nature of competition. You’ve got to push and prod and find your way in, and other guys are trying to do it.

“I have a lot of confidence in Yak that he’s going to keep his nose to the grindstone and when he gets his opportunity, he’s just got to make the most of it. We look at it from how our team is doing, not how each individual player is doing, and our team is doing well. He’s part of our team.”

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Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nail+yakupov

Ken Hitchcock’s Job

from Benjamin Hochman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

I think it’s fair to have an honest discussion about this now.

Should the Blues remove Ken Hitchcock and promote Mike Yeo to head coach?

If this weekend goes as bad as the past couple weeks have, man, the Blues brass should consider it.

Hitchcock is a delightful fellow and a smart hockey mind, sure to be enshrined. But because of the current circumstances, the team isn’t disciplined, the team isn’t scoring, the team isn’t meshing and the team isn’t inspiring. The Blues are still clinging to a playoff berth, but a fear is if something doesn’t change, the season could become a lost one.

continued

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Blues Scoring Woes Continue

from Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

There are only so many points you can expect to get when you score as little as the Blues are right now. They snuck out one point on Wednesday against Chicago when they scored just one goal but on Thursday, one goal was not enough to get anything.

Even though the Blues took a rare early lead, scoring less than four minutes into the game, they never scored again and gave up three goals in about 6 ½ minutes spanning the second and third periods and fell 3-1 at Bridgestone Arena.

“I think after a while you start living on one goal, you’re not going to win many games,” coach Ken Hitchcock said.

“We had chances to score more than one goal,” said left winger Jaden Schwartz. “We couldn’t find a way and only end up scoring one. It’s tough to keep winning when you only score one or two goals.”

It has become the theme of this season for the Blues, and considering the struggles have spanned pretty much the whole season, this may soon no longer be a slump and start being the team’s identity.

continued

Watch highlights from the 3-1 loss by the Blues to the Predators.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Morning Line- Nail Yakupov

“It’s not my decision I’m not playing, obviously I couldn’t be happy about it. So, it’s a coach’s decision and nothing I can do about it.”

“I’m not shocked, I just want to play. The four lines are playing good, winning the games and it’s coach’s decision to not put me in the lineup. So I can’t say anything. But the team played good, guys are working hard ... but I couldn’t be comfortable with that.”

-Nail Yakupov after being scratched by the St. Louis Blues for three straight games.  Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has more.

Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nail+yakupov

St. Louis Blues Finally Score More Than One Goal But Lose 6-2 To The Dallas Stars

from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

... the Blues scored twice in a game for the first time in their last five outings and just the second time in their past eight. They had to overcome an overturned goal in the third period to get there, but they did it....

Dallas picked up four assists from Tyler Seguin and three from Jamie Benn to rout the Blues 6-2 in the Central Division matchup, sending the visitors to their second straight defeat. They both came on the road, and including Tuesday’s 5-0 loss in New York, the Blues were outscored 11-2 on the trip.

“There was a lot more good stuff (than the Rangers’ game), but still the end result is not better than it was and that’s all we look at in hockey,” Blues forward David Perron said. “We’re going to have to turn this thing around pretty quickly.”...

As the story continues to unfold, the Blues outshot Dallas 30-27 but came up on the short end after missing on more scoring chances. And the areas that have saved the Blues in recent weeks — goaltending, defense and penalty-killing — now have holes. The PK gave up another goal Thursday and goalie Jake Allen has given up nine goals on 46 shots in two games.

“This is a tough time for us right now,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “We’re not playing very well. We’re not all on board, where we should be. It’s a tough time for us right now. We’re going to have to build some momentum back with better play, more committed play. It’s a frustrating time for everybody right now, frustrating because we’re not scoring and we’re not keeping it out of the net our last two games.”

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Game highlights can be watched below...

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5-0 Loss To The New York Rangers Is A “Real Eye Opener” For Ken Hitchcock

from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

There wasn’t much support anywhere on the ice Tuesday when it came to the Blues, who are now 2-2-1 in their five games away from Scottrade Center this season. They will be in Dallas on Thursday.

Where the fault rested for Tuesday’s futility in New York depended on whom you asked. The players put it on themselves, but the coach credited the Rangers.

“It’s what we do in here,” Blues forward Paul Stastny said. “I think from top to bottom, we weren’t ready to play. Our leaders, my line, we didn’t play together. When we play together, we’re supporting the puck, we’re all playing as a unit of five. When we’re not, one guy is in no-man’s land, the other guy wants the puck, the other guy doesn’t want the puck, and you can’t do that in this league.”

Especially against the Rangers, who were the sole reason for Tuesday’s lopsided outcome according to Blues coach Ken Hitchcock.

“We weren’t on a different map, we played somebody on the right map,” Hitchcock said. “That’s a hell of a team and they gave us a hell of a lesson. They’re playing great team hockey and they just expose any weakness you have. They’ve done it to us and a few teams now. Real eye-opener for me.”

more

Game highlights are below...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

A Bright Future For Blues Defenseman Colton Parayko

from Mike Brophy at CBC,

Colton Parayko's potential is limitless.

So says his coach, Ken Hitchcock, who knows a thing or two about developing a stud on the blue-line.

When Hitchcock led the Dallas Stars to the Stanley Cup in the 1998-99 season, he had 6-foot-5, 225-pound Derien Hatcher leading the charge. As a member of Canada's coaching staff at various international competitions Hitchcock had 6-foot-6, 220-pound Chris Pronger at his disposal. Now, as Hitchcock prepares for retirement in his final season as coach of the St. Louis Blues, he is charged with helping Parayko take his game to the next level.

The 6-foot-5, 226-pound St. Albert, Alta., native was an impact performer with the Blues last season as a rookie, scoring nine goals and 33 points. Not bad for a guy who was passed over in the 2011 NHL draft, only to be picked in the third round (86th) in 2012.

"He hasn't hit his stride offensively yet," Hitchcock said. "He hasn't had the offensive numbers we think he is going to get to, but quite frankly neither have we as a team. We have done it with checking and defence and he's been at the forefront of that. But from a complete player side of things he has had a great start. From his ability to defend to exit pucks to play against top players, he has had a great start."

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: colton+parayko

Morning Line- Ken Hitchcock

“This game is the same as four or five games we’ve played already. We’ve played really well, had a lot of good stuff, but don’t finish. I think we’ve got to look at everything right now. I think we’ve got to look at combinations, what’s working, what’s not working, what we need to get more from. Can’t just keep living on scoring chances, you’ve got to finish at the end of the day. I think we’ve got to look at every aspect right now.”

-Ken Hitchcock, head coach of the St. Louis Blues after a 2-1 shootout loss to Detroit.  Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has more.

Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ken+hitchcock

On The Waiver Wire Today

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dylan+mcilrath, magnus+paajarvi

Blues In Trasition

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

This is a team, I would humbly opine, that is at an interesting crossroads.

After reaching the Western Conference finals last season and unburdening themselves of some playoff demons in doing so, the Blues finally turned a powerhouse regular season into a spring of substance.

But of interest to me now is where this team goes from here. Are the Blues taking that next step? Or is their window beginning to close? For one, this is Ken Hitchcock's last season behind the St. Louis bench -- with the team making the unusual arrangement that newly hired associate coach Mike Yeo will take over next season.

There's also the transition of leadership with longtime captain David Backes leaving via free agency, as did clutch playoff performer Troy Brouwer. And those departures came a year after star winger T.J. Oshie was traded.

This, more than ever, is now the team of new captain Alex Pietrangelo as well as Alexander Steen, one of the team's alternate captains and respected leaders.

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

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