Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Collectively, the hockey staff decided to exile veteran goaltender Manny Legace to Peoria. That was a difficult decision. Legace is a pretty good guy. But Manny wasn’t happy and he wasn’t playing well.
Since his exit, the Blues have seldom lost.
Collectively, the hockey staff elected to keep Tkachuk at the trading deadline and not collect some additional future assets.
Since then, the Blues have seldom lost.
This run from 15th to eighth place in the Western Conference has taken on a life of its own. The Blues transformed into an entirely different team.
Sometimes it seemed supernatural forces were at play -– like when the team rallied improbably at Boston for one of the most freakish victories in franchise history.
And here is the best news: The fun has just begun.
“He’s going to see the doctor and go through a couple of days of testing. If he’s good, and we expect good things, we’ll see ... if he needs another two weeks, he needs another two weeks.”
“I don’t think there’s any risk. He won’t play if there’s any risk. Paul is a smart guy. As long as the doctors say he can play ... if the doctors said that Erik Johnson could play, we’d look at that too, but he can’t. If the doctors say he’s ready and he says he’s ready, he’ll be ready.”
-Blues President John Davidson on Paul Kariya. More on the Blues from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Will the Blues make the playoffs?
“We’ll make it. We’ll play well (in Phoenix), then have Columbus at home and then we go into Colorado. Obviously now we need help. But we’ll get there. Our guys actually play better from behind.”
from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
The club hasn’t locked itself into a playoff spot officially, but sitting in eighth place in the Western Conference after Chicago defeated Nashville 3-1 on Friday, the Blues are in position to end a three-year postseason drought with a strong finish.
“Now we can’t worry about what else happens around the league,” Blues center Jay McClement said. “Now it’s kind of up to us. As long as we take care of our own job, then things will work out in the end.”
Craig Custance of Sporting News today was busy with the Blues lately, with stories on Keith Tkachuk and T.J. Oshie.
Start here to read them….
from Jeff Gordon of Hockey Guy at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
By beating the Red Wings in frantic, hard-fought game Thursday night, the Blues told the world that they are, in fact, a playoff team.
The Blues still must finish well in their final four games, but that 5-4 victory at Detroit was an eye opener for their Western Conference rivals.
The Note had just suffered a tough loss at Chicago. The Red Wings had owned them all season. Detroit coach Mike Babcock leaned on his team, putting great focus on this game.
Everything was stacked against Andy Murray’s squad. The Blues even lost key center Patrik Berglund to injury during the game.
But the Blues won anyway, leaving the Red Wings muttering to themselves.
“I don’t know what happened there. Kind of one of those games where you black out and then next thing you know, people are patting you on the back.
“A great effort by a few of my linemates, setting me up on goals, and a great team effort there at the end to clamp down against a team that never gave up against us.”
-David Backes of the St. Louis Blues after his 4 goal performance last night. More on the Blues win from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
NEW YORK (April 2, 2009)—St. Louis center T.J. Oshie, who helped spark the Blues’ playoff surge by recording 13 points (four goals, nine assists) and a +6 rating in 14 games, has been named the NHL Rookie of the Month for March.
Oshie edged Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (8-7—15 in 15 games), Toronto Maple Leafs center Mikhail Grabovski (5-9—14 in 13 games), New York Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo (5-8—13 in 13 games), Ottawa Senators goaltender Brian Elliott (9-3-0, 2.57 goals-against average), Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Steve Mason (8-4-2, 2.46 GAA) and Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne (7-2-3, 2.53 GAA) for the award.
from Brian Duff at The Hockey News,
To date, 19 players from this year’s Traverse Tournament have played at least a game in the NHL this year. As of Monday, five of those 19 were among the top 20 rookie scorers and four were in the top 11.
Bogosian will be an absolute force; Voracek is already responsible and productive; Neal trails only Bobby Ryan in rookie goals; Clutterbuck has set an NHL record for hits in a season; Berglund is the most prolific power play threat in this year’s Calder class.
And then there’s Oshie.
During one of our tournament broadcasts St. Louis’ president of hockey operations, John Davidson, joined us for an entire period to give us an overview of the organization’s prospects.
I’ll never forget how passionate he was when describing Oshie, who was expected to make the Blues after three consistent, productive years at the University of North Dakota.
“He’s tireless,” said Davidson glowingly. “He just never stops working.”
from Chris Pinkert of St.LouisBlues.com,
It’s been a busy few months for Larry Pleau, the team’s Sr. Vice President and General Manager. With the trade deadline passing in early March and the team’s recent surge toward the postseason, we thought now was a good time to catch up with Pleau to discuss a variety of Blues topics.
Q: Considering how the team has battled since early January, do you think they are “playoff tested” already?
A: We’ve been playing ‘desperate’ hockey, I would say, since the end of December. I think the coaches have done a great job of keeping the players focused on the game-to-game situation, preparation, the opponents they’re playing against and understanding how important the games are: even if it was a game in January, it (was) going to affect where we end up in April.
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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