Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Louie Korac at NHL.com,
Can the Blues compete for the Cup with their revamped goaltending? -- The Blues allowed Ryan Miller to leave via free agency and will confidently turn to veteran Brian Elliott and rookie Jake Allen, who has 15 games of NHL experience under his belt.
The Blues feel like Elliott, who signed a three-year, $7.5 million contract, earned the right to go into the season as the No. 1.
"[Ellliott's] watched two other guys [Miller and Jaroslav Halak] get the ball," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Now he feels like it's his turn. There's still going to be competition, but I think Brian's going to start as the incumbent based on experience and all the work he's put in."
Will the additional depth at center pay off? -- Adding Stastny, Jori Lehtera, Peter Mueller and Joakim Lindstrom to a group that includes David Backes, Patrik Berglund, Steve Ott and Maxim Lapierre gives the Blues strong reinforcement despite losing Vladimir Sobotka to the Kontinental Hockey League.
"We wanted to add depth, we wanted to add competitive depth, we wanted to strengthen the middle of the ice and that's what we've done," Hitchcock said. "We've added scoring depth and we added real definitive depth at the center ice position."
“I don’t like Brett turning 50. To me, that’s sort of like a realization that your kids are growing up. I always saw Brett as a big kid. But I guess the truth of the matter is that it probably doesn’t matter that he’s turning 50. He’s probably the same big kid.”
-Brendan Shanahan on Brett Hull turning 50 on August 9th. More on Hull from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Let's take a look at one of the legends of our game, goaltender Glenn Hall who played 502 consecutive games in goal.
I can't imagine this record will ever be broken.
Ken Hitchcock, head coach of the St. Louis Blues took to Twitter today (the full chat) to answer some questions...
Then this zinger...
from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
In five NHL seasons, Gunnarsson has produced 15 goals, 86 points and a plus-minus rating of plus-15. In 2013-14, he played in a career-high 80 games and was a plus-13, despite the fact that Toronto ranked No. 26 in the league in goals-against per game (3.07).
“I try to do my best,” Gunnarsson said. “I’m more of a team guy than anything. If guys can play their game when they play next to me, that’s what I’m there for. I’m not a flashy guy who shows off any super skills or anything like that. I just try to come to work every day and make everyone else better — whatever is good for the team.”
The Blues have been searching for a lefthanded shooting defenseman to play with Kevin Shattenkirk and perhaps also take some of the load off Jay Bouwmeester by playing with Alex Pietrangelo.
“We’ll see how that works out during training camp,” Gunnarsson said. “I guess they have a plan with me, but whoever I play with, it’s going to be fun. Shattenkirk and Pietrangelo — two great D-men — if I play with any of those guys, it’s going to be a fun season.”...
Gunnarsson is not skating yet this offseason. After dealing with multiple issues in his left hip the past two seasons, he had surgery in late April to repair a labrum tear and help facilitate a condition which he’s had since birth.
ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Blues President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced today that forward Vladimir Sobotka has been awarded a one-year contract through arbitration.
Sobotka will play the for Avangard Omsk in the KHL for the 2014-15 season. The terms of his arbitration contract will be enforced when Sobotka returns to the NHL.
“We are looking forward to having Vladimir in a Blues uniform when he returns to the NHL,” said Armstrong. “We wish him the best of luck in the upcoming season.”
At the American Century Championship yesterday...
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
This time last year, the St. Louis Blues were the sexy pick to run the table and capture the first Stanley Cup in franchise history. They lived up to the billing early, playing like the NHL's best team for a good part of the season before stumbling down the stretch and flaming out in a first-round loss to the Blackhawks.
It was a familiar story to the team's long-suffering fans. Good ... but not good enough. Again.
That frustrating finish revealed some obvious flaws in the makeup of the club. Compared to conference heavyweights like Chicago and Los Angeles, there wasn't enough talent in the middle. There wasn't enough depth up front. There was an awkward mix on the back end.
To compete with the big boys, St. Louis needed more than a fresh coat of paint. General manager Doug Armstrong has delivered. After his active summer, the Blues may finally be ready for their close-up.
from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
On July 6, one day after Sobotka chose not to file for arbitration, the Blues did, “hoping to expedite the process,” Armstrong said.
Meanwhile, Sobotka had switched agents again, leaving a frustrated Bartlett. He hired Petr Svoboda, the former NHL player, of Sports Associates International.
With the KHL being a legitimate option, Svoboda and Armstrong began negotiations.
“He started at $2.4 million (for one season) and he came up to $2.7 million, so he gave me his best number,” Svoboda said. “We were at one year, $3 million. So basically it was over $300,000. There was no room for negotiation. It was one year at $2.7 (million) — take it.”
Armstrong acknowledged that $2.7 million was the Blues’ last offer for one year, because the team would be unwilling to pay more knowing that Sobotka would then be an unrestricted free agent next summer, but added that a two-year proposal paying $3 million per season was also on the table.
Sobotka, who averaged $1.3 million the last three years, was not interested. Being UFA eligible in 2015, his camp believed that he was worth more than $3 million in Year 2.
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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