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Category: St-Louis-Blues

The St. Louis Blues Face Elimination Today In Minnesota

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

Let’s get this out of the way up front: I’m not counting the Blues out. The Note is certainly up against it, trailing the Minnesota Wild 3-2 in the best-of-seven series. The Blues must win Sunday’s Game 6 to haul the series back to St. Louis for a final showdown.

I don’t rule out a win in St. Paul. Since the calendar flipped to 2015 the Blues have played their best hockey on the road, revving up for an impressive 16-4-3 record that includes Games 3 and 4 of this series.

We’ll see how the Blues will choose to confront their potential demise in Game 6. Can they win two consecutive games, survive and advance to a spot in the second round?

I’m highly skeptical, because this team is so fragile.

I really believed that would change after the Blues’ emphatic statement in their 6-1 victory in Game 4. Refusing to slide into a 3-1 series deficit, a skittish team that had been so easily dismissed in three previous Stanley Cup tournaments finally put up a fight and trounced the Wild.

But just when you thought it was safe to believe the Blues would show up and doggedly protect their home-ice advantage in Game 5, they had another letdown.

continued

from Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune,

Continue Reading »

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

The St. Louis Blues Now Face Elimination

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

There they go again, your St. Louis Blues, the most appropriately named franchise in professional sports. I can’t figure them out. Can you? Why do they insist on giving us the blues? They don’t need a better coach or game plan; they need to go sit on Dr. Phil’s couch. Maybe he can holler at them.

With a wonderful chance to take a crucial 3-2 series lead over the Minnesota Wild at home on Friday night, the Blues scored early and then skidded on their own flop sweat, losing 4-1 before a full house of oh-no disbelievers at Scottrade Center.

Instead of returning to the Twin Cities with an opportunity to put the Wild down and advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Blues will seek to avoid elimination from the tournament for a 47th consecutive season.

With the galloping Wild up 3-2 in the best-of-seven series, perhaps this will motivate the Blues to play their best hockey again. For some reason, the Blues require desperation for adrenaline, and their wake-up call is the sound of a crises. The Blues absolutely refuse to make it easy for themselves.

And of course it makes no sense. By now, any attempt to psychoanalyze the Blues will result in even more confusion and frustration.

continued

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

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.

more

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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

Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: vladimir+tarasenko

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.

more

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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

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

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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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