Kukla's Korner Hockey
(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...
This pretty well sums up the series and now the question will start, will soon to be UFA Ryan Miller sign with the Blues or go on the open market on July 1st?
added 6:53pm, If you missed the game or want to review it, highlights are below...
Most of us have been there, probably numerous times too.
An online friend, who happens to be a huge St. Louis Blues fan right after their OT loss to Chicago last night...
The only thing we as fans can do? Wait, wait, wait for the next game and hope the results are different.
Patrick Kane goes short-side on Ryan Miller to even up the series at two games...
- David Backes did not skate with the team today but Ken Hitchcock said...
via Mark Lazerus tweet,
"He’s not going to play unless he’s healthy. You never know, he could be skating in another rink. Lot of rinks in Chicago."
So going by Hitchcock's remark, Backes is a game time decision.
Hitchcock also menioned Brenden Morrow is out for the series. Morrow was seen wearing a walking boot today.
- The Anaheim Ducks announced Teemu Selanne will be a healthy scratch for the Ducks tonight.
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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