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Category: St-Louis-Blues

Blues Looking For A Change In Momentum While The Sharks Just Want Another Win

from Craig Custance of ESPN,

The St. Louis Blues are hoping a goalie change will help change the momentum in a series that has leaned heavily in favor of the San Jose Sharks, who are up 2-1 in the Western Conference finals. Here’s what to watch for in Game 4, at 7:15 p.m. ET.

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock made it official on Friday when he announced that he was starting Jake Allen in goal in place of veteran Brian Elliott. It’s hardly Elliott’s fault that the Blues haven’t scored a goal in their last two games, but Hitchcock is hoping that the switch will help shake his team into focus for Game 4.

"This is a change in momentum," Hitchcock said of the switch. "We're playing a team that's got a bead in their game and a focus in their game that's been around for seven games now. We've got to change the momentum here."...

The Sharks are closer to advancing to the Stanley Cup finals than they’ve ever been and have to make sure the excitement of that possibility doesn’t become a distraction for a team that hasn’t been in this position before.

"It’s not easy," admitted Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon. "But that’s the way you have to think. You’ve got to take it game by game and that’s something we’ve done well. There were so many highs and lows in the Nashville series and L.A. series."

more

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

Ken Hitchcock Names Jake Allen As His Starter For Game 4

 

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Video- ‘ALL ACCESS: Quest For The Stanley Cup’ Premier Is Tonight

via a PR release from the NHL...

SHOWTIME Sports released the open/tease for the upcoming real-time, behind-the-scenes documentary series ALL ACCESS: Quest For The Stanley Cup.  Narrated by acclaimed Broadway actor and 2016 Tony Award-nominated Bill Camp, the highly anticipated series premieres TONIGHT, May 20 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME.

The docu-series is the first of its kind to nationally televise the championship of a major North American sport as it unfolds. The weekly episodes chronicle the four teams remaining in the quest for the Stanley Cup®: the St. Louis Blues®, the San Jose Sharks®, the Pittsburgh Penguins® and the Tampa Bay Lightning®.  The best-of-seven-games winners will meet in the Stanley Cup Final for the chance to hoist one of the most iconic trophies in all of sports.

ALL ACCESS: Quest For The Stanley Cup is produced by 54-time Sports Emmy® Award winning producer Ross Greenburg, who pioneered the sports documentary series genre.   

Watch a segment below...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The San Jose Sharks Are Getting Closer To The Stanley Cup Final

from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of NHL.com,

Joe Thornton leaned back in his chair and considered the question: Is this the closest he has ever been to the Stanley Cup Final in his 18-season NHL career?

He went through the past two times he had made the Western Conference Final with the San Jose Sharks. In 2010, they were swept by the Chicago Blackhawks. In 2011, they lost in five games to the Vancouver Canucks.

Then he broke out in a big smile, his white teeth shining amid his bushy, brown-and-gray beard.

"Yeah," Thornton said. "It's the closest, I guess."

The Sharks have been through so much over the years -- high expectations, bitter disappointments, captaincy changes, coaching changes -- and now they are in the conference final again, dominating the St. Louis Blues, two wins from making the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since the franchise began playing in the NHL in 1991-92.

continued

Below, watch highlights of the Sharks 3-0 win over the Blues....

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

Blues Need To Be Better, Including Tarasenko

from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

For the Blues, the Stanley Cup playoffs this season are about accomplishing a first in the franchise’s history.

Of course, that has to do with a trophy.

The club is not going to reach that goal by doing what it did for the first time in its playoff history in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals Thursday night.

The Blues were dumped 3-0 by San Jose, marking the only time the team has been blanked in back-to-back postseason games since its inception in 1967-68. On the heels of their 4-0 loss to the Sharks in Game 2, they are now behind two games to one in the best-of-seven series, the first time the club has trailed a series after three games in these playoffs.

The crowd of 17,562 at SAP Center and the folks back in St. Louis probably could agree on this: Heading into Game 4 Saturday, San Jose is thoroughly in control.

“They can think what they want,” Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. “We know we’ve got more in here, we know we’ve got another level. They took it up a notch and now it’s up to us to get some rest and take it up a few more notches on Saturday.”

continued

from Benjamin Hochman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

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

Blues Spend More Time Together Than Expected

from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

Hotel room in the city of San Jose were at a premium on Wednesday night because of a convention, and the Blues had to scramble to get enough rooms for the team. In the end, they couldn't get enough. While veteran players usually get their own room on the road, the Blues got so few rooms in the city that they had to double players up on Wednesday night, while non-essential personnel spent the night in San Francisco, about 50 miles away.

“We've all had to do it, so we knew to expect,” said center Kyle Brodziak, who said he hadn't shared a room on the road since the lockout. “I think guys have just got accustomed to it the last few years. It was good though.”

Fortunately for the Blues, whatever was gobbling up all the rooms ended on Thursday, and for the rest of the team's time here, accommodations were back to normal and rooms that were costing $500 on Wednesday could be had for $139 on Thursday.

more on a few changes the Blues may make tonight...

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

Will The St. Louis Blues Sign David Backes Or Not?

from Travis Yost of TSN,

The cynic in me can’t help but look beyond this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs and toward free agency, where Backes, 32, will join a slew of other unrestricted free agents looking for the next payday. If you believe that recent postseason performance tends to correlate strongly with premiums paid in the subsequent free agency year (how could you not?), you have to wonder how much Backes is going to cost. You also have to wonder if the Blues could find themselves in the position of questioning whether or not it makes sense to retain their leader.

St. Louis has done a pretty nice job of managing the cap, and should have a fair bit of breathing room to acquire talent in the coming off-seasons. The $58 million already committed to next year’s team is a bit misleading when you consider that they have decisions to make on Jaden Schwartz, Troy Brouwer, Steve Ott, Kyle Brodziak,Magnus Paajarvi, and Scottie Upshall this summer, and Kevin Shattenkirk, Colton Parayko, Patrik Berglund, and Alex Steen a year from now. Not all of these players will be retained, but the overarching point is that the money available today is likely overstating what type of money will be available to retain an unrestricted free agent like Backes.

The curious part about the Backes situation from the St. Louis perspective is that his strong playoff run has masked what has been a bit of a decline in performance over the last couple of seasons. No doubt St. Louis loves his game and what he brings to the table today, but will they love what he brings a few years from now? And how much do you weigh that against St. Louis’ Stanley Cup window, which is indisputably closing?

read on

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

Thinking Of Fort McMurray

from Sottie Upshall at The Players' Tribune,

During warmups, I looked up into the crowd and saw my brother, Brent, tapping away on his phone. I could tell from his face that it was bad. This was right before Game 3 of our playoff series against Dallas. The series was tied 1–1. It was moments before one of the biggest games of my career, but all I could think about was the smoke and the fire.

I took a few shots and then looked up into the stands again. Brent had his head down. His face said it all. When it’s your brother, you just know.

Our hometown of Fort McMurray, Alberta, was being engulfed by a wildfire. Brent and his fiancée, Shannon, had flown in from Fort McMurray to see me play. Their daughters, Avery, Emma and Grace, were back there, 2,000 miles away, staying with our mother. 

continued

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

Not The Best Game From The St. Louis Blues

from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

Just about every area of the Blues' game you can name — energy, discipline, power play, etc. — it was as disappointing as the club has delivered in a long while, and the crowd of 19,596 didn't hold back, booing on several occasions during a 4-0 loss to the Sharks.

The only saving grace Tuesday was goalie Brian Elliott. If not for a few of his 20 saves, the game could have been more out of hand.

On 26 shots and a zero for six night on the power play, the Blues were shut out by San Jose goalie Martin Jones for the first time in the playoffs, dropping to 4-5 at home this postseason. The best-of-seven series is tied at 1-1 and headed to San Jose for the next two games, beginning with Game 3 Thursday at the SAP Center.

"I think we didn't play very well," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We've seen this at home a lot. I'm not sure why, I'm not sure the players even know why. We seem to want to play a little different at home than we do on the road. They were much better than us, probably in every aspect, especially on special teams. We tried to play the same way we did in Game 1 and didn't get away with it."

read on

Below, watch Ken Hitchcock post-game...

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

Blues Having Trouble Keeping Up With The Sharks

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

Nobody knows the San Jose Sharks better than their two California rivals.

Bruce Boudreau, while still coaching the Anaheim Ducks last month, was most afraid of one team entering the playoffs: the Sharks. He shared that with ESPN.com the day after the Sharks eliminated the Los Angeles Kings.

"Their speed," Boudreau reiterated Tuesday night via text message. "Their young guys have come so far this year."

The Sharks, you might argue, had no better tuneup for their Western Conference finals showdown with the St. Louis Blues than the team they beat in the opening round.

The Kings and Blues are two of the heavier teams in the West, and the speed that gave L.A. such headaches in the first round is now, through two games of the Western Conference finals, giving St. Louis issues as well.

continued

Game highlights are below...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, 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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