Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jeremy P. Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
In his third NHL season, the Russian right winger has become the Blues’ go-to player. His 24 goals, which rank fifth in the league, include four game-winners and five that were either scored in overtime or the last 10 minutes of the third period when the difference in the score was one goal or less.
The Blues have not seen the likes of Tarasenko since Brett Hull roamed the rink in St. Louis. Tarasenko is on pace for 42 goals, a far cry from Hull’s career-high 86, but gone are those high-scoring days in the NHL and plus, he’s just getting started.
“He is unselfish, has a very high hockey IQ and has a cannon for a shot,” Hull said. “He’s going to be a star because of his skills.”
In 46 games this season, Tarasenko has already set personal bests in goals and points (47), the type of production that will see him, at just 23 years old, play in his first All-Star Game Sunday at Nationwide Arena.
Surveying everyone from fellow NHL stars to league scouts, Tarasenko’s trajectory is one that many believe will continue trending upward.
from Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
As Hitchcock said: the Blues are good, but there’s more to do. “There’s times when guys say ‘Is he ever happy? Is he ever pleased?’ It’s not that,” Hitchcock said. “It has nothing to do with that. It has everything to do with moving the process forward. Playing and marching. Playing and marching. And keeping the team focused.”
Nearing the NHL All-Star break, the Blues are in an interesting spot. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a Blues lineup with this dosage of firepower.
But the Blues have been dragged down by a few negatives including their indifference (until recently) in the sweaty task of killing penalties.
The Blues also have a tendency to get frustrated when opponents apply tenacious checking. And when they feel pressured, the Blues resort to going for “home runs” — to use Hitchcock’s term — instead of leaning on a foundation of hard labor and discipline.
That’s a big reason behind their mediocre record against the NHL’s better squads. The firepower is a tremendous asset. But it’s often nullified by the desperation born out of frustration, with players getting careless with the puck and turning it over in an impatient thrust to make magic.
ST. LOUIS - St. Louis Blues President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced today the club has given goaltender Martin Brodeur a one-week leave of absence from the team.
Brodeur will rejoin the club in one week and his future will be addressed at that time.
The 42-year-old Montreal, Quebec native has appeared in seven games for the Blues this season, posting a 3-3-0 record to go along with a 2.87 goals-against average, a .899 save-percentage and one shutout.
The Blues and Brodeur will have no further comment at this time.
"There's some high-end players on our team that really have to pick it up, and there's also some role players that have to pick it up. We all have to grow as a group, and we have to get better in a lot of areas if we expect to compete against teams like St. Louis."
-Todd McLellan, head coach of the San Jose Sharks, after a 7-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues. More on the game from David Pollak of the Mercury News.
“The general feeling is the identity flows from year to year but the reality is you have to create a new identity every year because you’re bringing in different player. We’ve taken our style of play maybe for granted, but you have to get new players to understand and have the same philosophy. Sometimes that takes a little bit longer. I would say I think our identity has been set now. Now we just have to put it into place on a regular basis.”
-Doug Armstrong, GM of the St. Louis Blues. More on the Blues from Jeremy P. Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
The good news for the St. Louis Blues is that netminder Brian Elliott returned to action after missing more than a month to injury and didn't appear to miss a beat, stopping 44 shots in the Blues' 3-2 loss to Nashville on Tuesday night. The bad news is that the normally stingy Blues gave up 47 shots and are now in a 1-4-1 funk over their last six games.
The Blues will have to decide what to do with veteran Martin Brodeur, who pitched a shutout in his last start against the Colorado Avalanche on Monday -- colleague Pierre LeBrun reports the Blues have told Brodeur he will start one of the next two games -- but the team has other issues in terms of consistency and overall play.
The Blues have allowed at least three goals in five of their last six games and been outscored 21-14 during that stretch. Although Vladimir Tarasenko has been a revelation with 22 goals and 39 points, only one other player -- line-mate Jordan Schwartz, who is injured -- has more than 10 goals.
The sideways action has seen the Nashville Predators and Chicago Blackhawks pull further ahead in the Central Division and allowed the Winnipeg Jets to move to within two points of the Blues.
continue for Custance on the Oilers, LeBrun on Eichel/McDavid and Strang on the Panthers...
Brodeur on playing elsewhere in the NHL: "It would be another big change. One big change a year could be enough for me. But we'll see.
Brodeur cont'd: "We'll cross that bridge if it happens."
(Dec. 30, 2014) – St. Louis Blues President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced today the club has activated goaltender Brian Elliott from Injured Reserve (IR). In addition, the Blues have placed forward Chris Porter on IR after he suffered a lower-body injury in the Blues' 3-0 victory over the Colorado Avalanche last night. Porter will be re-evaluated in six weeks.
Elliott, 29, has appeared in 14 games this season, posting an 8-4-1 record while pacing the NHL overall with a 1.82 goals against average and ranking fourth with a .931 save percentage. The 6'2, 209-pound goaltender has missed the past 14 games after suffering a lower-body injury on Nov. 25 against the Ottawa Senators.
“Ultimately, the fans want to win. They don’t care who’s here when we do it, they just want to see the team win. If you’re worried about looking bad, you’re probably never going to have the ultimate success. Until we have it, we deserve all the criticism we get.”
-Doug Armstrong, GM of the St. Louis Blues. More on Armstrong and his theory on trades from Dan O'Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
"I look at it a bit differently in the sense that we're a good team and I get a lot of phone calls because people want our players, and that's a positive. You're always nervous when you're a GM and your phone never rings because that means the opposition doesn't want your players, and that's not a good feeling.
"So, I'm excited about our team. I don't think we're going to be overly active. I like the way the guys are playing. When you look at the (Patrik) Berglund's and the (Alexander) Steen's and (T.J.) Oshie's and these guys, these guys are starting to find their rhythm.
"We're a team that was built in the summer, and with the caveat that if we can improve our team, we'll always look at doing it. But we can't control the rumors and things like that. It's just today's society, with cell phones and the digital age, it's easy to get some traction, but that's just the nature of the beast."
-Doug Armstrong, GM of the St. Louis Blues on trade talk. More from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
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.
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