Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
As the Blues prepare for game No. 67 of their season tonight, the team is in the same neighborhood in the Western Conference standings as it was a year ago.
In 2009, the Blues were in 12th place in the West with 68 points; before Friday’s games, they were in 10th place in the conference with 71 points. Like last season, only a few points separate them from the eighth and final playoff spot at this point….
We’ve been there before, and we’ve proven it to ourselves and everyone else that if we put our minds to it, the point deficit isn’t insurmountable,” Blues center David Backes said.
from Jeff Godon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Mike Babcock’s team is finally healthy. The Red Wings finally turned to Jimmy Howard as the lead goaltender, moving Chris Osgood aside.
They will fly past Nashville next, then take aim at Colorado and Los Angeles on the conference pecking order. Before the season ends, that team will secure a decent playoff seed and the opportunity to take another run at the Stanley Cup.
So what does that mean to the Blues?
Despite Detroit’s takeoff, the traffic between the Blues and postseason play is starting to clear. To reach the playoffs, the Note must overtake Dallas, Calgary, and Nashville and hold off Anaheim.
That will be a difficult task, but hardly impossible. Let’s look at those teams:
via Bob McKenzie tweet,
Vancouver acquires Yan Stastny. Confirmed.
for Cedric Labrie
No penalty on the hit.
ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Blues President John Davidson announced today the club has acquired goaltender Joe Fallon from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Hannu Toivonen and Danny Richmond.
ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Blues President John Davidson announced today that Blues forward Keith Tkachuk underwent successful surgery on his left pinky finger and will be sidelined 10 days. The surgery was performed today by Dr. Charles Goldfarb of Barnes Jewish Hospital.
via Tarik El-Bashir’s Twitter,
Cam Janssen has been suspended five games by the NHL for “a late hit to the head ...to an unsuspecting” Matt Bradley.
If you want to review the hit, you can watch it here.
from Tarik El-Bashir of Capitals Insider,
Janssen, who appeared to lead with his elbow, said: “I was just coming back and [Bradley] had the puck. He cycled it back, and he was looking back like he felt the puck was still on his skates. I finish my hits. I thought it was a good opportunity. His head was down and I was just trying to get the boys into it. I hope no suspension, but we’ll see what happens. If it happens, it happens and that’s the way it is.”
Scroll to around the 2:00 minute mark to see the hit a little more clearly…
from Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
A lot of folks wanted to blame the Blues’ erratic play on coach Andy Murray, and eventually team management came to the side of Murray’s critics by firing him on Jan. 2.
But what has changed since Davis Payne took over?
The answer: not much, really.
This isn’t a knock on Payne. I like him. He’s tried to emphasize the right things. He’s done about as well as could be expected. But as I have been saying all along, and the point needs to be reinforced, so here I go again: this is about the Blues’ players.
from Jim Kelley of Sports Illustrated,
No GM is going to send a coach off into his good night with the reputation of not being able to work with kids. That’s why you hear things like “the team was not progressing” even though many of the players currently on the St. Louis and Columbus rosters were simply going through the learning experience that comes with having success early and then falling back as teams play against them with greater intensity.
Still, you have to wonder if Murray or Hitchcock will get another chance in the now youth-conscious NHL. You also have to wonder if once the Blue Jackets move past Noel (or the 54-yer old shows them that he can relate to their kids), Howson won’t be placing a call to Filatov.
Mother Russia looks nice right now, but NHL money, a spot on Nash’s wing and no one harping about defensive play can be a powerful lure…especially for a GM who has lost a potential franchise player.
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.
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