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Category: St-Louis-Blues

On The Road With The Blues

Scott Burnside is embedded with the St. Louis Blues, traveling on their three-game, five-night road trip to Detroit, Calgary and Vancouver.

CALGARY, Alberta -- The visiting coaches' room at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary is a first cousin to a broom closet.

By the time the St. Louis Blues' coaching staff and their bags and computers are in the room, there is quite literally no room for anyone to turn around. After changing for a late-afternoon practice following a four-hour flight from Detroit, the coaches' clothes end up hanging from door jams and cords powering laptops are snaking into the tiny washroom attached to the room.

"Do we want to do video or get on the ice and just practice? It's been a long day," head coach Ken Hitchcock asks his staff.

The coaches agree that the video can wait until Friday, when they will face the hometown Calgary Flames in the second of a three-game road trip, so the team hits the ice for a 45-minute skate.


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

A Day With The Blues

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

On this day, the Blues coaching staff was on board a bus that transported them from their hotel to Joe Louis Arena at 8:30 a.m. Their "office" at the arena is a AAA minor hockey team dressing room next to the team's dressing room. By 9 a.m., there are seven laptops up and running plus a big screen television with video capability. The staff -- associate coach Brad Shaw, who came over from the New York Islanders organization last summer, assistant coach Gary Agnew, Hitchcock's assistant with the Columbus Blue Jackets for four seasons; assistant Ray Bennett, who has been a member of the Blues' coaching staff since December 2006; goaltending coach Corey Hirsch, who once played junior hockey for Hitchcock in Kamloops; and video coach Dan Brooks -- are spread out at three long wooden tables.

Each of the coaches is responsible for at least one element of the game plan, so there is quiet chatter as they work on strategies for exiting the defensive zone, penalty kill and power play schemes and decide which video clips they will use to reinforce the message when they meet with the players later in the morning.

"Who's got scoring chances for from the first three games?" Hitchcock asks. "I want to see two or three clips where we got the sticks in the blue paint [the crease]."...

"I'm going to talk to Russell today just about his mentality, OK, Shawsy, just kind of [stuff] happens. He's got to have a warrior mentality and he's [frigging] good when he's like that," Hitchcock said, referencing Kris Russell, one of the Blues' young defensemen.


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

Blues Plan To Get Back To Work

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

Many observers liked the Blues to take another step forward with a long playoff run next spring. Some, including this scribe, liked the Blues to use last season's successes to catapult themselves to the franchise's first Stanley Cup championship, much like what Los Angeles did last season.

Forward T.J. Oshie and defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk admitted that hearing and reading those kinds of predictions might have seeped into the Blues' subconscious after the lockout ended.

"We've come to expect our game to show up a little bit too much" as opposed to working to produce the level of play that marked the Blues' of last season, Shattenkirk said.

One of the team's bright lights on the blue line, Shattenkirk noted that consistently good teams never assume they will be good again just because history suggests it will be so.

"They don't carry that with them. They leave what happened behind them," he said.

The Blues need to learn that whatever accolades they received as a result of last season are worthless now. That shouldn't be too hard after the past couple of weeks. Still, for some of the Blues, this is uncharted territory. Under Hitchcock, who took over 13 games into last season, the Blues never lost more than two games in regulation at any point in the season and that happened only once.


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

Morning Line

“This is the home stand from hell.  We lost our goalie, we didn’t play as well and now we’ve got to take this onto the road and we’ve got to be much more accountable to each other.”

-St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock after losing 4-1 to the LA Kings last night.  More on the Blues from Dan O'Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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

Video- Joe Buck With The Call

added 2/12/13, A better quality video has replaced the original video.

I am sure a better quality video will come out, but right now this is all we have.

Joe Buck called some of the Blues game tonight and while he was behind the mic, the Kings scored a goal around the 2:11 mark.


While we are on the Blues topic, Jaroslav Halak was scheduled to start tonight, participated in pre-game but was not in the net to start the game.

It's possible his groin injury could be the issue.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Halak To The Rescue?

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

The Blues are sinking in the Western Conference standings. After facing the Kings to finish a bleak four-game home stand, the Blues will be on the road for four of the next five games. Only 10 of their next 28 games will be played at Scottrade Center.

This is a critical time.

Starting tonight, the Blues desperately need Halak to emerge as a true No. 1 goaltender. He must stop the hemorrhaging, close a gaping wound and begin the process of saving his team’s season.


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

Blues Turn Their Attention To The Video

from Norm Sanders of the News-Democrat,

Asked what he might have done 10 years ago following a pair of lopsided home defeats like the St. Louis Blues suffered through this week, coach Ken Hitchcock showed how he has evolved.

"We probably would have done different things today," Hitchcock said Friday after putting the team through an informative video session highlighting the good, bad and the ugly from a 6-1 loss to Nashville on Tuesday and Thursday's 5-1 loss to Detroit. "But you learn. You learn over time that it's not the end of the world. If you treat it like the end of the world .... my job is to get them out of the ditch.

"You don't get them out of the ditch with a bunch of criticism and a bunch of conflict. My job is to get them back up and running and feeling good about themselves. As much as you want them to learn from the mistakes, they've got to see the good stuff, too."

As a result, there was no "bag skate" Friday where a hockey coach skates a team into the ground as punishment for misdeeds.

Instead, Hitchcock relied on video and the pride of a wounded team that began the season 6-1 before losing its last three games while being outscored 16-5.


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

All David Backes

from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,

What is the difference in mindset and pressure when you expect to make the playoffs, like the Blues do now, as opposed to the time when you were just hoping to get there?

"I think when you're hoping to make the playoffs, you think it's OK to fail and you think about, 'Oh, we lost tonight, but we were slotted to not make the playoffs anyway.' There is always a desire to win, but when it doesn't happen you say, 'If this was different,' or, 'If we had a better team.' There are excuses when you're not expecting it.

"When you're expecting to make the playoffs, it's, 'Let's see results.' If you're not getting them, you're in a mode where things are going to change. I don't think of it as pressure, I think of it as expectations, and when you're prepared for those expectations you don't see it as pressure. I don't think they're parallel by any means."


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

Video- Kent Huskins Must Have A Very Big Head

David Backes received a 5 minute major and a match for this hit to the head of Kent Huskins.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: david+backes

The Hockey Playing Owner

from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,

St. Louis Blues owner Tom Stillman initially thought a friend was playing a joke on him, but he knew that couldn't be the case because the name and number that came up on his phone was one that he had saved in his contacts folder.

Wayne Gretzky.

The Great One was indeed calling the new owner of the Blues to invite him to be his guest at the 11th annual Wayne Gretzky Fantasy Camp.

"It's maybe the most surreal experience I've had since I got involved with the Blues," Stillman told NHL.com Tuesday morning before playing in his first game at the Fantasy Camp. "Really, I can remember times when people used to leave phone messages for me saying it was Wayne Gretzky, ha ha, but it was him and he was asking me to come to the event, saying that they were planning to wear Blues uniforms this year so they'd like me to come.

"When the Great One calls, what are you going to do? You're going to go. This is the hockey fantasy camp of fantasy camps."


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

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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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