Kukla's Korner Hockey
via David Pollak of Working the Corners,
... there’s been a lot of speculation across the NHL that Ryan Miller might be a good fit in San Jose now that the St. Louis Blues have told him his services were no longer required.
I’ll agree that he might be if the Sharks were in their usual mode, looking for that one last puzzle piece to get them over the hump.
But Wilson has said that is not where the team is this off-season. That this is the year the Sharks may have to take one step back to eventually move two steps forward. And hard to see their interest in Miller (or his interest in them as far as that goes) because of that.
Sure Wilson could scrap his blueprint if the Sharks were 100 percent certain they were getting the right puzzle piece after all these years. But Miller time in St. Louis – both late in the regular season and in the playoffs – only points them in a different direction.
from Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea,
Adding Miller would run counter to Wilson’s stated goal of getting younger, but the general manager would still have Stalock, who will turn 27 over the summer, as well as prospects Harri Sateri and Troy Grosenick, both 24, getting more experience at the AHL level.
Miller could command between $5-to-$6 million per season, a number that likely dropped after his performance in St. Louis. Term could be an issue, too, as the Sharks probably wouldn't want to go more than two or three years on an aging goaltender. Still, depending on what other moves Wilson makes – he’s already cleared more than $11 million in cap space with Dan Boyle's departure and a buyout Marty Havlat looming – looking into Miller’s potential interest in the Bay Area may be worth doing.
ST. LOUIS (MAY 19, 2014) – - St. Louis Blues President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced Monday the club has re-signed goaltender Brian Elliott to a three-year contract.
Elliott, 29, appeared in 31 regular season games last season, posting an 18-6-2 record while ranking 11th in both save percentage (.922) and shutouts (4), and second with a 1.96 goals-against average.
The 6-foot-2, 209-pound goaltender has spent his past three campaigns with the Blues, including 2011-12, when he set single-season franchise records in save percentage (.940), goals-against average (1.56) and shutouts (9) en route to earning the 2012 Jennings Trophy.
Over the past three seasons, Elliott ranks second overall (at least 50 games played) with a .680 win percentage (55-24-7), while his 16 shutouts not only lead the League, but are tied for second in Blues franchise history.
(MAY 13, 2014) – St. Louis Blues President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced today the club has named Kirk Muller an Assistant Coach.
“We are excited to add Kirk to our staff,” said Armstrong. “He was a Stanley Cup-winning player, and as a coach, has shown excellent communication skills, and the ability to relate to both young and veteran players.”
(MAY 7, 2014) – St. Louis Blues President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced today the club has extended the contract of Head Coach Ken Hitchcock for the 2014-15 season. Associate Coach Brad Shaw and Assistant Coach Ray Bennett will return for this upcoming season as well. In addition, the club announced that Assistant Coach Gary Agnew and Goaltending Coach Corey Hirsch will not rejoin the team. A search to round-out the coaching staff will begin immediately, and the club will have no further comment until replacements are named.
Well what a night that was! Three Game Sevens and now we start the second round later today.
Before the second round starts let’s take a look at how we did predicting the first round.
Huge night for hockey fans out there! Kings, avs and rangers are my picks!— anthony brodeur (@abrodeur30) April 30, 2014
I will put my own predictions up to bat:
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from Dan O'Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Something is missing, something that has allowed a wounded opponent to recover and turn the playoff tables on the Blues two years in succession.
Amid the disappointed souls and unfulfilled hearts at Scottrade Center, coach Ken Hitchcock will spend the next many weeks trying to find the missing ingredient and install it.
“To me, it’s … when you’ve got your foot on the throat — step,” Hitchcock said, trying to explain an intangible killer instinct the Blues have been unable to apply the past two Aprils. “That’s what we’ve got to do. I don’t know any other way to describe it.
“The end result is you’ve got to go further, further in every aspect of your game, further on checking, further on special teams, further on scoring. … And it’s hard to do, but you’ve got to do it.
“You can add 10 pieces to a hockey club, but you have to have commitment to go further. Those are the hard conversations that you have to have, the hard things you have to do.”
Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch transcibed the meeting between GM Doug Armstrong and the media...
Q: How are you going to move forward with the goaltending for next year?
Armstrong: "I'm going to obviously let things settle in here. I'm trying to come up with a good analogy. It's like going to the dentist. The freezing is coming out and now it hurts. I'm going through that freezing coming out and it's really painful. Today is a lot harder than it was yesterday, I know that. We got to figure out a way to get better. With the goaltending, Jake Allen is going to be here next year. He’s earned the right. He’s the top American League goalie. He's got that team in the playoffs, now we're going to see how far he can take it. He will be one of two. Who his partner will be will be discussed at the appropriate time and that will be over the next few weeks. It's a two-way street with Ryan at this time. He has opportunities. I want to sit and talk to him, I want to get his feelings about our organization, how he felt about coming in, where he thinks we're at ... see if he even has any interest being a St. Louis Blue."
Craig Custance of ESPN held an online chat earlier today..
If you are Doug Armstrong, do you try to sign Miller or get someone else and keep the draft pick?
Craig Custance I'm keeping the draft pick. Using the money on goal-scoring and giving Jake Allen the opportunity to be my starting goalie while signing a veteran backup as insurance.
do you see the kings bringing back gaborik? He's looking great out there, and I think he loves LA with the little pressure on his shoulders. You think he is still in a position where he can find that shell of his old self? How much do they bring him back for?
Craig Custance I think they'd like to keep Gaborik. Dean Lombardi was definitely open to the idea after the trade and Gaborik has proven to be a nice fit there. Better than I thought he would be. That said, he's not a player I'd feel great giving a lot of term to. It would have to be the right price.
from Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
* I feel bad for Blues fans. They're the most loyal in town. Generations of Blues fans have invested their emotions and dollars in a franchise that's been around since 1967 without winning a Stanley Cup. The Blues haven't made a Stanley Cup Final since 1970, and haven't advanced past the second round since 2001. The fans deserve better. One day, my friends ... one day.
* I had no problem with the Blues' effort and commitment in this series ... until the third period of Game 6. To go into the third period of a 1-1 game with your season on the line and get outscored 4-0 over the final 20 minutes? Disgraceful. And it takes away from everything they put into this.
* Obviously, Ryan Miller didn't come up large for the Blues in this series. He wasn't able to steal a game, and his team needed that. Miller was awful in the 3rd period of Game 6, allowing four goals on 16 shots. Needless to say, Chicago's Corey Crawford won the battle of the goalies. The gamble by GM Doug Armstrong didn't pay off. I supported Armstrong's move, his willingness to go for it all by acquiring Miller. So I won't be hypocrital and phony and pretend otherwise. But the bottom line: the hopes, dreams, ambition (and trade pieces) that went into this deal were all for naught.
Some additional topics too also via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch...
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