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Category: St-Louis-Blues

Afternoon Line- Mike Yeo

I think there’s still pressure on that team over there. I think that the way things have gone for them the last few years, we know the word redemption is coming into play for them, and obviously it’s a very motivated group over there. I do think that they think that they’re much better than us and it's our job to prove that we’re up at that level. So we’ve got an opportunity tomorrow to be a good test, but we’re excited about it.

-Mike Yeo, head coach of the Minnesota Wild.  More from Yeo and some Wild players from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+yeo

A Dominating Win For The St. Louis Blues Over The Minnesota Wild

from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,

In a league where even the best teams get blown out once in awhile, the Wild was competitive nightly for three consecutive months.

Tonight, not at all, from the goaltender on out. Parise said the Wild got cocky, started to think they were unbeatable after such a quality Game 3 win, and that's precisely what Mike Yeo worked the past few days to caution against. It's why he said the Wild didn't dominate and had to move on from the win, etc., and it's probably why Ken Hitchcock spent the past few days pumping the Wild's tires incessantly.

But after this one, the Blues coach took a new strategy as his team regained home ice and turned this 2-2 series into a best-of-three with Game 5 in St. Louis on Friday night at 8:30.

“We knew how we were going to play yesterday,” Hitchcock said covertly.

Why did you think that? “It's between us and the players,” Hitchcock said.

“It looks like we've joined the tournament now and we're dialed in,” Hitchcock said. “We've got home-ice back, we're dialed into our game, we're going to be hard to play against when we're dialed in this. Not fun to play against.”

more

Game highlights are below...

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The Pressure Is On In St. Lous

from Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

Hitchcock must find solutions or face the consequences. Core players on this roster must elevate their play or face the consequences.

This team entered the playoffs with great expectations. Tom Stillman’s ownership group spent to the salary cap on this roster.

General manager Doug Armstrong assembled a Hall of Fame braintrust to run the hockey operation. With input from his many aides, he made several moves to beef up the front lines and the back lines.

Clearly the Blues have enough talent to win a Stanley Cup. But actually winning the Cup takes tremendous focus, poise and effort.

The Blues have been lacking on those fronts too often in this series, which is why they sit in such a precarious position.

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Oh That Steve Ott

from Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune,

Wild fans will want to treat Steve Ott as a villain. He’s not. Villains are frightening. Ott is more like junk mail — annoying but meaningless, and soon to be stuffed in the proper recycling bin.

If the St. Louis Blues were intelligent, they would be feeding off the talent of Vladimir Tarasenko. Instead, they are feeding off the idiocy of Ott, a supposed enforcer who plays like a child, holding sticks and patting heads instead of just once hitting someone square.

When Ott actually had a chance to help his team with a third-period breakaway, he lost the puck, then fanned on a pass in the crease. He’s not a hockey player; he’s a rodeo clown.

Sometimes Ott mimics a tough guy late in games, when the hockey portion of the evening has ended. Monday, with his team down by three goals in the waning moments, he jumped on the smallest player in the game, Jared Spurgeon.

For Ott’s next act of bravery, he will taunt a sleeping kitten.

continued

Video of Steve Ott doing what he does below...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steve+ott

Some Adjustments Needed For The St. Louis Blues

from Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

The Minnesota Wild gained the upper hand in this series by skating past the Blues 3-0 Monday night and taking a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven battle.

The status quo didn’t cut it for the Blues in Game 3. After surviving the first period in the lively Xcel Energy Center, they capitulated in the second period.

They allowed two goals and nearly a few more.

The third period wasn’t a whole lot better.

“They checked us really hard and they got us to crack,” Hitchcock said.

Added Blues defenseman Barret Jackman: “We helped them beat us. We didn’t stick to our game plan.”

“That was a tough one,” fellow defenseman Jay Bouwmeester said. “We got what we deserved.”

So tactical, personnel and attitude adjustments are in order. The Blues do not want to fall into a 3-1 series hole against a such a confident, skilled opponent.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Evening Line- Vladimir Tarasenko

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The St. Louis Blues Should Have Been Ready To Play Game 1

from Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

What’s maddening is how the Blues lost.

“You get down one at home and hope to pick it up a notch and that would be a wake-up call,” Blues captain David Backes said after Game 1. “It almost took until the third period until we finally got our legs going and played our brand of hockey.”

Therein lies a fundamental problem: With so much at stake, including their own reputations as competitors, why do the Blues need a wake-up call?

If the Blues can’t get cranked up by the challenge of taking on the Wild and shutting up skeptics who expect another STL postseason collapse, then what will it take to get them going? This is perplexing.

Blues players are well aware of the team’s futile-franchise postseason rep and resent being linked to it. The players know that the long-suffering Blues faithful have experienced more playoff disappointments than any fan base should have to endure. But the current Blues don’t think it’s fair to dump historical grievances on them.

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The St. Louis Blues Could Not Keep Up With The Minnesota Wild

from Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

The Minnesota Wild played fast and the Blues couldn’t quite catch up, falling 4-2 in Game 1 of this best-of-seven series.

This was not how Blues coach Ken Hitchcock envisioned his team starting the postseason. They controlled stretches of the first period but fell behind 1-0 — and then they fell apart in the second period, taking penalty after penalty, falling behind 2-0 while getting outshot 14-4.

Fans who were roaring during the stirring pregame presentation were booing as that frightful period wound down.

The Blues staged a spirited third-period rally, twice getting within a goal. But they couldn’t quite undo the second-period damage.

How could this happen? The Blues knew what was coming in this series. The battle lines between these teams couldn’t be clearer.

The Wild want to play with speed, breaking out of their zone with crisp passes and sending their forwards into the offensive zone with control. They are at their best creating scoring chances off the rush.

The Blues want to stay on top of the Wild defense, force turnovers with their forecheck and tilt the ice with sustained pressure in the offensive zone. They value puck possession, cycling the puck down low to create havoc and scoring opportunities at the net.

more

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David Backes Is One Of The Nicest Guys Around

from Tom Powers of the Pioneer Press,

He's one of the nicest guys you'll ever come across -- smiling, polite and with choir-boy good looks. He's also a very talented and hard-working hockey player out of Spring Lake Park High School and Minnesota State Mankato.

Yup, he's a local boy and a proud former Olympian. Oh, and one other thing about him: Minnesota hockey fans hate his guts. Just the sight of him gets their blood-pressure rising and their pulses racing to dangerously high levels.

He's David Backes, captain of the St. Louis Blues. And he is Public Enemy No. 1 during this first-round series.

"I take that as a vote of confidence that I'm doing my job," Backes said. "That's part of the business, and I'm hopefully going to be Public Enemy No. 1 this summer. That's my goal."

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: david+backes

Is This The Year For The St. Louis Blues?

from Jeremy P. Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

“This year’s no more talking,” forward Ryan Reaves said. “It’s time to do.”

It’s not offbase to believe that of the 16 teams in the NHL playoffs, the Blues are among the few that have the most to prove. Montreal, Anaheim, Detroit and perhaps even Tampa Bay may be facing similar scrutiny, but the remaining clubs have either tasted success recently (Chicago and the New York Rangers), are breaking in new staffs and systems (Nashville and Washington), or they’re new to the scene (Winnipeg and Ottawa).

“We’ve got plenty to prove, there’s no question about it,” Blues captain David Backes said. “We’ve had shortcomings in the past few years. We feel we have a deeper team, a more prepared team, a team that’s playing better hockey, and healthier than we have been in the last few years in the playoffs. So it’s time to put all those things to fruition and show what we can do. All those things combined ... we should hit the ground running on Thursday.”

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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.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

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