Kukla's Korner Hockey
ST. LOUIS - St. Louis Blues President John Davidson announced today that the club has named Davis Payne as Interim Head Coach. Payne becomes the 23rd coach in the history of the St. Louis Blues replacing Andy Murray, who was relieved of his duties.
“Davis is very knowledgeable of the players in our organization and we feel he is the best candidate to coach our team,” said Davidson. “He has nine winning seasons at the minor league level which includes an ECHL Championship in 2006.
“I would like to thank Andy Murray for the job he has done here the past four seasons,” continued Davidson. “He was an intergral part in turning the St. Louis Blues around. He is a true professional and I wish him the best of luck in the future.”
from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
The club fell to 0-3 on a four-game home stand and 5-13-3 at Scottrade Center, where they also surrendered a 3-0 lead to Edmonton in a 5-3 loss Dec. 11.
“We’ve been here before and they all hurt,” Blues coach Andy Murray said. “I don’t qualify losses. This hurts just like every loss that we’ve had.”
Murray wore a bullish expression after the game, saying countless times in his postgame press conference that the Blues would only focus on gearing up for Chicago at home on Saturday. But the mood in the locker room was one of disbelief, as players wondered how it could happen again.
Rick Rypien and Cam Janssen battled tonight in the first period.
from Jeff Gordon of the Hockey Guy at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Blues fans are drooling about the prospect of dealing for free-agent-to-be Ilya Kovalchuk, who could demand maximum NHL dollars over a decade on his next deal. We’re talking nine digits here.
Can the Thrashers afford to play that? Can they afford NOT to pay that?
No team will give much to acquire Ilya without getting a contract extension in place, so he will control the process. Bigger markets like Philadelphia – where the Flyers need a big overhaul – may make more sense for Kovy.
More realistic targets are big Hurricanes center Eric Staal and/or winger Ray Whitney, since Carolina got old all at once and needs to start over from scratch. Staal, 25, is trying to reestablish his goal-scoring touch in time to earn a Team Canada role in the 2010 Olympics.
To make a move, the Hurricanes would want to shop from this group of players: David Backes, David Perron, T.J. Oshie, Lars Eller, Ian Cole, Alex Pietrangelo and Patrick Berglund.
more and I don’t understand why people think Staal is going to be moved., it just isn’t going to happen…
from Josh Cooper at the Morning Skate,
At today’s morning skate, Blues players confirmed the team had a closed-door meeting following their 6-3 loss to Tampa Bay. Sources have told the Post-Dispatch that in the meeting, general manager Larry Pleau laid into the club.
Defenseman Barret Jackman was not caught off guard, and in fact sensed something would be said sooner rather than later.
“Were not shocked that anything happened, closed door meetings or anything like that,” Jackman said. “It is something that has come to a boiling point and its everybody in our room that has to change things right now.”
Added forward Keith Tkachuk: “It had got to the point where something had to be said, and it was said, and now we move on.”
from Norm Sanders of the News-Democrat,
Perhaps it was only fitting that on a night when former St. Louis Blues star Brett Hull was honored, ex-Blues coach Mike Keenan found a way into the ceremony.
During a pause in Hull’s speech with the arena quiet, a fan in the lower bowl screamed “I hate Mike Keenan!”
That not only brought a smile to Hull’s face, it sparked an impromptu ovation from fans who remembered Keenan trading away fan favorites Brendan Shanahan and Curtis Joseph and feuding constantly with the Golden Brett.
“I saw Mike this summer and we have made amends,” Hull said. “I’m way too old, I’m too old to hold grudges. We had a great talk.
“I always said this—I hated him as a coach but he’s a really good human being. We had a great talk.”
continued and Brendan Shanahan comments on Keenan too…
from Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Will the Blues ever deploy another forward combination that thrills fans as Hull and Oates once did?
Will the Note ever find another rugged superstar capable of winning hearts as Shanahan did?
Will this team ever find a goaltender capable of single-handedly stealing big games with insane saves, as CuJo once did?
The new regime tried to add some sizzle by signing Paul Kariya, who used to be one of the NHL’s most dazzling performers. But injuries, advancing age and declining skill have relegated Kariya to this team’s supporting cast.
He is a private guy who generally avoids the media and public interaction. He seems likely to get through his three-year stint in St. Louis without leaving much of a mark.
from Darren Pang at FoxSportsMidwest,
The next day it is what is called a “bag skate”. Skate real hard, no pucks, and the point is real clear.
This is where good teams bond. this is the type of negative situation that has to be turned into a positive for the players in the room. It is up to them, in my opinion. The players, at the end of the day, have to get it done. They play the game. The coaches job is to prepare the team. The Blues coaching staff does that every day.
In all my years of playing the game, and being in the broadcast booth handling Stanley Cup play-off assignments, Olympic competitions, I have NEVER seen win’s come easy. They don’t just arrive on your door step with a free Bud Light. They are all cherished, they are all earned.
The doubter’s are out there now. It was a “Meltdown on Market Street”. The fan’s are getting restless, witnessing far too many home losses, yet seeing the Blue’s win so strongly on the road.
This is why these player’s the game. They didn’t choose an individual sport like tennis, golf or bowling. These great athletes chose a team sport. When they get ready for the next game, and the one after that, they better be able to look across the room at their teammates and not let them down
“I’m never embarrassed of my teammates, because they’re all great guys who play hard, but, the effort we put in that last period. ... I hate the word embarrassing, but it’s more of a disappointment, or if there is a worse word than disappointment, that’s what we’re feeling right now.
“We sit back and let a team skate all over us and make plays all around us while we watch (in the third period). They pretty much walked in the front door and took the two points off our kitchen counter and walked out, and we just sat at the kitchen table and watched them.”
-David Backes of the St. Louis Blues after they blew a 3-0 lead to Edmonton. More on the game from Dan O’Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Blues President John Davidson announced today the club has acquired forward Pascal Pelletier from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Brendan Bell and Tomas Kana.
Pelletier, 26, has played in 25 games this season with the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Syracuse Crunch, recording 16 points (three goals, 13 assists) and 23 penalty minutes. Last season, the 5-11, 197-pound left winger notched 55 points (29 goals, 26 assists) and 45 penalty minutes in 71 games with Rockford of the AHL. Pelletier led the team in goals and power play goals and was second on the club in points.
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