Kukla's Korner Hockey
ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Blues’ President John Davidson announced today the club has re-signed center Jay McClement to a multi-year contract.
“Jay played his best season in the NHL this past year on both ends of the ice and is one of the best defensive forwards in the league,” said Davidson. “He will continue to provide strength and experience on the penalty kill as we move forward.”
McClement, 26, led all forwards in the NHL with 315:08 of shorthanded time this past season. He was one of four Blues to play in all 82 games, a career-high and posted career-highs in points (26), goals (12) and assists (14). McClement recorded a career-high three-game goal scoring streak from Feb. 24-Feb. 28, scoring three goals over-the-span.
The Kingston, Ontario native has skated in 311 career NHL games, all with St. Louis, collecting 111 points (35 goals, 76 assists) along with 140 penalty minutes.
from Mick Kern of Home Ice XM 204,
A large number of books have been written about Bowman and his coaching style. Suffice to say, Bowman is arguably the greatest head coach in NHL history. His two greatest stretches of accomplishements happened in Montreal, and Detroit. Each incarnation was impressive to behold. My heart says Scotty Bowman is first-and-foremost identified with the Montreal Canadiens, but my head says that his most impressive coaching job was with the Red Wings.
The better question might be, who would win in a best-of-seven battle between the 1977 Montreal Canadiens and the 1997 Detroit Red Wings?
from Jeff Gordon of the Hockey Guy at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
If the Ducks don’t want to sign Chris Pronger to a contract extension, the Blues should wait a year and take their chances in free agency.
In a year, the Blues will be positioned to invest in another veteran player. Jay McKee and Paul Kariya will be headed to free agency, giving the Blues the option to reallocate some or all of that $10 million. (Moving either guy before then will be difficult, given their high pay.)
In a year, the Blues could free up lots of salary cap room while other teams face severe cap crises.
In a year, the Blues will know what they have in Alex Pietrangelo – a potential power-play quarterback currently lacking the strength to play at this level.
San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan and Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien, who led the NHL’s top two teams this season, and Andy Murray, who lifted the St. Louis Blues to a surprising Stanley Cup Playoff berth, are the three finalists for the 2009 Jack Adams Award in voting by the NHL Broadcasters’ Association.
from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,
“Overtime, boys. This is where legends are born.”Alex Burrows made that speech in the dressing room Tuesday night after regulation time of Game 4 ended in a 2-2 tie….
Bad goal? Weak goal? Series-winning goal, that’s all the matters, just as the four wins strung together to make a sweep obscured the closeness of the battle. The bottom line is everything.
Maybe that’s why the Blues’ dressing room was still closed 40 minutes after the game, in violation of league rules, and no one beat it down. Maybe they were crying in there, for Mason, who played so well and then let in a softie. Or for themselves, having gone 9-1-1 to close the regular season, only to be blunted by Roberto Luongo and a Vancouver Canucks squad that had an answer for every question they posed.
Alex Burrows scored the game winning goal with 19 seconds left in the first OT.
from Craig Simpson of Blogs and Columns at CBC,
In the Stanley Cup Playoffs everything is magnified. The battles, the intensity, the pressure, the energy, the excitement, they all rise to a higher level. The swings in momentum that can occur within a shift, a period and a game are often the moments that dictate the outcome of a series.
A hot goalie, or a streaky scorer can dominate a series, but there may not be a more important part of the playoffs than special teams.
All year teams work diligently to improve their special teams, understanding the importance of scoring a power play goal at a critical time, or killing off a string of penalties to preserve a lead. No series has exemplified that importance more than the Vancouver, St. Louis series.
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
When Keith Tkachuk calls it a career, which won’t be this summer, he will go down as one of the greatest Americans to have played in the NHL.
But there is an uncomfortable truth about the 37-year-old forward, whose hair and beard are now primarily grey, and it seems to be continuing this spring. The St. Louis Blues are facing playoff elimination, down three games to none to the Vancouver Canucks in a best-of-seven Western Conference quarter-final, and are climbing a mountain of history to erase that disadvantage.
For Tkachuk, first-round exits are par for the course. They have happened 10 times in his 12 postseason appearances, and it’s about to be 11 of 13 if the Canucks can win tonight in Game 4 at the Scottrade Center.
from the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs Blog,
Is there anything more tiresome or a greater waste of time than a Mats Sundin scrum? The man moved far more deftly than at any time he’s been on the ice by doging all the questions about his absence in Game 3 and the possibility of him playing Game 4.
He did make one slip however, admitting that in fact he did hurt himself in the third period not the first period (which Alain Vigneault claimed in his post-game news conference Sunday iin what appeared to be a deliberate attempt to mislead people).
“I haven’t spoken to the doctor yet today,” said Sundin after missing the Canuck practice Monday, he believed to have either a groin or hip problem. “We’ll see how it feels tomorrow.”
Given Vancouver is up 3-0 in the series, it’s unlikely he’ll play Tuesday night, for if Vancouver win they will free up at least another week for him to rest whatever ails him to get him ready for the next series
continue for more on the Canucks and Blues…
from Jeff Gordon of the Hockey Guy at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
It’s over now. This was the Note’s chance to get back into the series and the home team failed.
The Blues didn’t get their must-have game. They took a good run at it, but fell short.
Now they will be relegated to playing for pride in Game 4. Now they will be fending off an embarrassing sweep on their home ice.
After entering the NHL playoffs as one of the NHL’s hottest teams, this is not the scenario they envisioned. But it is what it is.
The Canucks are the more experienced and more talented team (even with Mats Sundin sidelined) and the Blues couldn’t knock them off their game.
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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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