Kukla's Korner Hockey
"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.
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
There have been whispers of the Bruins and Blues circling each other for weeks now, but the initial scuttlebutt suggested something smaller was in the works—maybe a deal for the rights to malcontent center (and former Bruin) Vladimir Sobotka, who is currently plying his trade in the faltering KHL. But as the two teams struggle to meet preseason expectations, it's thought that the pot has gotten a little richer and could well include a swap of top-six wingers.
The appeal of Lucic to the Blues is obvious. If they hope to get past the Blackhawks, Ducks and Kings they need to be heavier up front. And Lucic, when he's on his game, is as heavy as they come.
Boston, meanwhile, needs someone that can help them set a higher pace. A bit of an edge would be nice, but speed and scoring touch are paramount. Oshie is struggling this season, but is coming off a 21-goal, 60-point campaign highlighted by his stunning performance in the Olympics for Team USA. He has the wheels and the tools to fill that hole.
more plus other NHL topics...
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...
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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