Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
SCP Worldwide’s seven-month search for a major investor in the Blues could be over by the end of January.
Blues owner Dave Checketts is in New York today pouring over the documents that will keep SCP in control of the club and him as the front man of the organization.
Checketts would not disclose the identity of the investors, but said there is “more than one group,” and he also said publicly for the first time that TowerBrook Capital Partners would not be divesting all of its interest in the Blues, as TCP indicated it would in May.
“I can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Checketts told the Post-Dispatch. “Our investor group is 95 percent assembled ... now during the next few weeks, we’ll work on league approvals and getting everything done and wrapped up. I said in Florida at the (NHL) Board of Governors meeting that I thought this would happen in the early part of the year, and I think that’s still true.”
via Darren Pang tweet,
Nashville has claimed Marek Svatos off waivers from St Louis.
Svatos was signed by the Blues yesterday as a UFA but had to clear waivers first.
ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Blues Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced today the club has signed free agent forward Marek Svatos to a one-year contract.
Svatos, 28, has made 19 appearances with the Kontinental Hockey League’s (KHL) Omsk Avangard this season recording eight points including three goals and five assists. In 2009-10, the 5’10, 185-pound forward tallied seven goals and four assists for 11 points in 54 regular season games with the Colorado Avalanche as well as a goal and two penalty minutes in three playoff outings. For his career, Svatos has dressed in 316 NHL games, all with Colorado, accumulating 164 points including 96 goals and 68 assists.
from Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
By scoring just one goal in back-to-back losses at home, the Blues slipped off the pace in the Western Conference race. They have a tough game tonight at Atlanta and lots of back-to-back challenges on the horizon.
“It’s a lot tougher to climb up in the standings than it is to fall down,” Backes said.
Without injured forward Perron, T.J. Oshie and Andy McDonald, the Blues couldn’t match the skill level of the Sharks and Canucks. Even with defensemen Erik Johnson, Roman Polak and Alex Pietrangelo back in action, this team is at a disadvantage against the elite teams.
“Maybe we have a little bit of work to do to get their level,” Backes observed.
To scrape out victories, the Blues must play hard and smart. They must play fast and tenaciously, pressuring opponents into mistakes and creating havoc around the net.
from Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
And now, Erik Johnson? OK, we know that every team has injuries. It’s unavoidable. It’s part of the game, and all of that. But what kind of evil, wicked curse has fallen over the Blues? This is a new and different curse. A more virulent curse in some ways. This isn’t the Curse of Scotty Bowman, which kicks in during the postseason, preventing the Blues from winning the Stanley Cup. But what did this organization ever do to deserve this incredibly cruel run of injuries? There’s no crying in hockey, but at this point you can’t help but feel sorry for the Blues.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Alex Kovalev might not be singing the blues about Senators coach Cory Clouston the rest of the season.
While it’s a longshot because of the high risk for any team looking at Kovalev, league sources say there is one team — the banged-up St. Louis Blues — interested in acquiring the disgruntled Senators winger. But the Blues don’t have the cash to make a move right now….
Sources say there is an investor ready to put more money into the Blues. That won’t happen until Jan. 1 for tax purposes, which means the club can’t afford to take on the remainder of Kovalev’s $5-million (all terms US) salary for now.
Depending on Senators’ on-ice fortunes in the next month, Murray will have to decide whether he’s going to be a buyer or seller at the Feb. 28 trade deadline.
If it’s the latter, Kovalev could be moved for a draft pick.
from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,
The St. Louis Blues didn’t win Sunday with artistry or skating.
They had few perfect passes, and no perfect goals. They won ugly, choking out the Canucks by digging deep after losing five straight and finding inspiration from the back page of a local newspaper.
Pinned in their locker room was Sunday’s Vancouver Province. The back page blared:
“Time to abuse the blues; St. Louis is struggling and the Canucks are rolling - the perfect time to lay the smack down on a conference rival.”
Alex Steen, who had two goals, swears it made a difference.
“We were a little pissed off,” Steen said. “We have a reporter in Vancouver to thank for their nice title today in the paper. Let’s ‘abuse the Blues?’ It put a fire under us.
St. Louis’ David Perron has missed 13 games since a Joe Thornton hit on him, giving him a concussion. It was a good hockey hit, the type players grow up learning. Still, Thornton had to be suspended. You can’t take that hit out of the game, but the league has to try; concussion prevention simply hasn’t kept up with the strength of players.
-Jake Leonard of the San Francisco Chronicle
If you need a refresher, watch the hit below….
from Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
These are challenging times for Blues coach Davis Payne. His team is sputtering. The Note is playing hard enough, but not well enough.
There is no reason to panic. But there is no time to dawdle, either, given the hyper-competitive nature of the NHL’s Western Conference.
Payne must find ways to get his group back on the playoff-bound track. His job got a whole lot tougher the last few weeks.
via Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
So now we’ll see what Jaroslav Halak is made of.
His remarkable start is just a memory now, obscured by a flurry of goals allowed. The Blues goaltender went from unbeatable to hapless is a flash. He allowed 19 goals on 95 shots in his last four starts.
Such is the life of a NHL goaltender. Stuff happens. It’s the nature of the business.
But how will Halak deal with the dramatic downturn?
Will he battle on and clean up his game this weekend at Scottrade Center?
Blues fans will learn a lot more about him during the next few weeks.
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.
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