Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Roger Hensley at STLtoday.com
Obviously injury-riddled all season, the Blues offered early hopes, sank in the standings, then made a big run right before the All-Star break. It even had some, myself included, talking playoff possibilities as recently as earlier this week. Of course it was a long shot. But since I mapped out the “Ten Nights in February” posting a couple days back about the import of the next ten games, beginning with Vancouver, the Blues have responded with a resounding thud.
That has brought me to the precipice of capitulation. Not on the team, mind you, but on the realities of this season. This decision did not come easily, but is one that had to be made. It was either that or I end up sticking a fork in my eye during one of these games.
Wade Belak of the Predators takes on Cam Janssen of the Blues.
from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Feb 10 is the 20th anniversary of Blues announcer Dan Kelly’s death. Below is Kevin Horrigan’s obituary for Mr. Kelly that ran Feb 11, 1989.
A voice that once was called the ‘‘purest, most knowledgeable, most accurate’’ in hockey was stilled Friday morning. St. Louis Blues broadcaster Dan Kelly, 52, died at his home in Chesterfield after a five-month struggle with cancer….
‘‘In sports, we talk a lot about ‘franchise’ players,’’ said Michael F. Shanahan, chairman of the board of the Blues. ‘‘Dan Kelly could easily be said to have been a franchise broadcaster. There were times in the last 20 years he was this franchise to the hockey fans. ‘‘He did what he wanted to do, and nobody ever did it better. How many of us get to say that?’‘
read on and watch Dan Kelly’s call of a famous Bobby Orr goal below…
ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Blues President John Davidson announced today that forward Andy McDonald has signed a four-year contract extension.
“St. Louis Blues ownership and myself realize how integral Andy is to the future of our organization,” said Davidson. “He’s a first line center who will play a major role in the development of our team.”
from Dan O’Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
His goal for the organization isn’t about making the playoffs, it’s about winning them.
“I won’t even say the word to the guys, to be honest with you,” Murray said. “I will say we’re playing for the Stanley Cup.”
There are two realities to what Murray says. First is his belief that you concede nothing, that you strive to win every game, win a championship. If you would have asked Murray to project how many points he hoped to get before the season, he would have answered 164, which would translate to an 82-0 record. To answer anything else would be to concede a willingness to lose a few games.
Ask him about the playoffs and you’ll get a similar response. He’s not suggesting these Blues consider themselves a Stanley Cup contender, per se. But there is a perspective to consider. At one point in their history, the Blues advanced to the playoffs 25 seasons in succession. And what did they have to show for it? Close your eyes and what do you see?
“We just have to have a night-by-night focus,” Murray added. “And at the end of the year, if we have enough points to be playing more games, then we will have earned it.”
more on the Blues…
ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Blues President John Davidson announced today that Paul Kariya will have surgery on his right hip on Tuesday, Feb. 10. The surgery will be performed by Dr. Marc Philippon in Colorado. Dr. Philippon performed surgery on Kariya’s left hip on Jan. 5.
From Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal via Faceoff.com:
Tkachuk is no stranger to trade deadline turmoil.
In 2007, with Tkachuk an unrestricted free agent, the Blues sent him to the Atlanta Thrashers, a team desperate to make the playoffs. The Thrashers did make it to the post-season with Tkachuk, but were swept in the first round by the New York Rangers. Tkachuk then re-signed with the Blues in the off-season.
At the 2001 trade deadline, Tkachuk went to the Blues for the first time in a trade with the Phoenix Coyotes for Michal Handzus, Ladislav Nagy, Jeff Taafe and a first-round draft.
from John Grigg of The Hockey News,
Watched some of the Detroit-St.Louis game on Versus last night. The panel was gushing over the Blues’ kid line of Patrik Berglund between T.J. Oshie and David Backes. Can’t say I blame them….
Most telling, the young trio is a combined plus-11 (with Berglund leading the Blues at plus-13 and Oshie second at plus-6), while Brad Boyes and Keith Tkachuk – the team’s veterans up front – have combined for a miserable minus-38 rating (Boyes’ minus-25 puts him at No. 814 in the NHL, third-last overall, despite a team-leading 41 points).
With Tkachuk likely on his way out – possibly for good this time – around the March 4 trade deadline, Andy McDonald an unrestricted free agent come July 1 and Paul Kariya heading into the final season of his contract in 2009-10, the Blues will be handed over to the kids soon enough.
“I was the worst player in the league tonight by far. We should have won that game 3-0. The guys played great. I’m the reason that we lost in a shootout.”
-Blues goaltender Manny Legace. More on the Blues shootout loss to the Wings last night at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
from Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
So Davidson is in an interesting spot. Some experts expected Legace to become available before the trade deadline, should the Blues’ front office decide to sell.
Right now, though, Legace ranks well down the list of available goaltenders.
Davidson could go the other way and add a netminder, since a LOT of them are available. Old friend Curtis Sanford and former Penguin Dany Sabourin are just two of the veterans who hit the waiver wire recently. Senators goaltender Martin Gerber, currently scraping off rust in the AHL, is also available.
It shouldn’t come to that, since Legace and Mason are capable of doing more. And this would be a good time for both men to prove it.
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