Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Sometimes we talk in terms of Superman and Kryptonite when we're talking about the effect the Montreal Canadiens have on the Boston Bruins. The same dynamic is at play when the St. Louis Blues visit the Los Angeles Kings.
The Blues jumped out to a 3-0 first-period lead at Staples Center Thursday night only to have the Kings outscore them 6-1 the rest of the way en route to a wild 6-4 win. According to the Kings' PR staff, the win was the sixth in a row for the Kings over the Blues on home ice.
The Blues have not won in Los Angeles since March 2011. More importantly for a Kings team just hanging around in the Pacific Division, the win marked an explosive night for the team's top players as Anze Kopitar had a five-point night (1 goal, four assists) and Marian Gaborik extended his goal-scoring streak to three games with a pair. He has five goals and one assist over that period. Both Gaborik and Kopitar have been beset by injuries and their production has been uncharacteristically tepid through the first 30 games of the season. If Thursday is any indication, though, look out Blues and look out Western Conference.
read on for Custance on Mike Green and the Capitals, LeBrun on Saku Koivu and Strang on the Jets...
from Craig Custance of ESPN,
Before the season, St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said he was going to pay especially close attention to how his team performed against the league's elite teams. Putting up points during the regular season hasn't been St. Louis' problem, it's been finding that extra gear in the postseason against the best teams in the league like the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings.
So Tuesday night's 5-2 win over the Kings must have been gratifying. The Blues scored five unanswered goals, continuing to roll at home behind a hat trick from emerging superstar Vladimir Tarasenko.
If the Blues are going to finally break through and advance past the best in the West it will be because of the maturation and improved play of the young core -- players like Tarasenko. Things certainly look promising on that front so far this season.
read on for Burnside on the Panthers, LeBrun in Justin Williams and Strang on Columbus....
from Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Paul Stastny was greeted by a throng of reporters in front of his stall in the Blues dressing room at the Pepsi Center on Saturday, the next step in his Colorado homecoming.
While it's the second time the Blues have played Colorado this season, it's the first time Stastny has faced them. He missed the first meeting with a shoulder injury.
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock has seen similar situations before and knows it's not going to be an easy day for the center.
"I think it's really uncomfortable for players," Hitchcock said. "I think you have a very difficult time. You need the first one in the books. It's unfortunate the first time, he was hurt. That could have made this one easier. I think he just has to go through it and be better for it when we finish the game and get on the bus and get back to St. Louis. I think it's a very difficult challenge for somebody who was an impact player on a good hockey club. I think it's going to be really difficult for him."
from Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post,
“I don’t know if anyone saw his ear there, but he lost a piece of it and they sewed it back,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “Say what you what you want about hockey players, but they’re tough SOBs.”
Klein said he got “about 13-14 stitches, we didn’t have time to count.”
more on Klein and the Rangers OT win of the Penguins..
from Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
from Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Now this team needs to sustain offensive pressure with its second and third groupings -- which haven't measured up to the fourth line for much of the season.
This team needs more from the power play, too, so a second strong unit would be a huge help.
Down the road, the Blues will have to clear out some of this offensive depth to fit Tarasenko's massive contract under the salary cap.
Down the road, players like Oshie and Berglund -- and their salaries -- will draw extra scrutiny as GM Doug Armstrong solves his payroll puzzle.
(It is probably not a coincidence that the offensively challenged Bruins, a team in the market for scoring help, is keeping an eye on the Blues.)
In the meantime the players in place need to play to their full offensive ability, something most of the Blues forwards have failed to do to this point of the season.
more on the Blues plus some around the league talk...
Pittsburgh, PA – St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie and Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick will be coming to a breakfast table near you. Starting today, “Oshie O’s” cereal and “Quick Crunch” cereal will be available for a limited time.
“Oshie O’s” is a Honey Nut Toasted Oats cereal that comes packaged in a 14oz. Limited Edition Collectors box featuring a custom illustration of T.J. Fans can order the cereal at www.oshiecereal.com. “Oshie O’s” t-shirts are also available for a limited time.
from Jonathan Willis of Sportsnet,
Last week, the St. Louis Blues signed future Hockey Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur to a bonus-laden one-year contract—he earned $20,000 for his win Saturday. The interesting point wasn’t so much that Brodeur had found a major-league job, but rather in the Blues’ handling of the signing.
The team treated the addition of Brodeur not as the quiet add of a veteran backup, but rather as the coronation of a new starter. Head coach Ken Hitchcock told the Blues’ official website that Brodeur would play if he was on the roster, that “he’s not going to back up.” That same website was reworked so that anyone going to stlouisblues.com first landed on a full-page “Welcome Marty” graphic.
It’s an interesting tack for the team to take. While Brodeur’s career obviously commands tremendous respect, it isn’t at all clear that his current level of ability deserves an NHL contract, let alone the level of fanfare the Blues lavished on him. There really isn’t much history of goalies contributing meaningful games as they get into their 40s; even Hall of Famers aren’t immune to the ravages of time.
Two minutes, tripping.
Carl Gunnarsson did not return to the game and the Blues listed him with an upper-body injury. No penalty on the play.
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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