Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Norm Sanders of the News-Democrat,
When the St. Louis Blues were searching for backup goaltenders last summer, they had several options.
They could sign a current NHL goalie with experience, simply go with Ben Bishop from their own organization, or make a trade.
With a lot of scouting homework from goaltending coach Corey Hirsch, the Blues set their sights on Brian Elliott.
“He deserves the lion’s share of the credit,” Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong said of Hirsch. “His job responsibility was to scour the available players and he had Elliott high on the list of the players he chose.”
Hirsch and the Blues apparently did their homework extremely well.
Coach’s Corner touched on numerous topics last night, including the play of Brian Elliott, Sidney Crosby should just play the game and the Buffalo Sabres…
from Dan O"Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
You could give the Blues credit for a number of things, but timing is not one of them, at least not this week.
Just two days after Sidney Crosby’s return to active duty, the Blues travel to Pittsburgh tonight to play the Penguins. Crosby sat out 320 consecutive days before returning to action in spectacular style, scoring two goals and four points in a Pittsburgh win on Monday. And the Blues make only one trip to Pittsburgh this season. Had they made that trip sometime sooner, they would have missed “Sid the Kid.”...
“There are leaders and then there are leaders of players, and he is a leader of players,” said Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, who coached Crosby in the 2010 Olympics. “He’s a guy that people rally around. ... My first-hand experience with him is he’s a leader of players, so he’s always going to inspire the rest of the group to play at a higher level. That’s very difficult to coach against.”
Drew Doughty received 2 minutes for cross-checking and after the game reports were T.J. Oshie was OK.
from the Blues website,
Perron, who has not played since he suffered a concussion on a hit by San Jose’s Joe Thornton Nov. 4, 2010, was given clearance to be a regular participant in practice, thus engaging in full contact.
Perron, 23, missed the final 72 games last season and has sat out the first 18 this season. Although there is no timetable for a return to the lineup, taking another step means he’s that much closer to gaining entry into the lineup for a hot Blues team, which is 4-0-1 since Ken Hitchcock took over as coach.
“I feel good. I feel that it was time to take that step,” Perron said Friday. “It’s just another step, obviously. I’m just going to keep moving forward, which I’ve been doing. There’s still more steps to go, obviously. It’s kind of like getting my conditioning up with the guys and being just a player instead of being the guy you can’t do anything with.
“I’m a long ways from where I was when I started skating. There’s still a ways to go, but we move forward.”
Brendan Shanahan explains the suspension.
from Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
“The coaching part and going with the players and going over systems and looking at tape, I enjoy that, that’s the easy part. That is the simple easy part. The constant verbiage and having to be on time for everything is tough. I miss my coffee and relaxing sometimes. I’ll get used to it.”
He must adapt quickly because there is no time to waste on this job. Although the regular season is a marathon, every game in the hyper-competitive Western Conference is critical.
“Even though we’ve gone 3-0-1 in the last four hockey games, we haven’t made up much ground,” Hitchcock said. “We have to deal with that reality. It’s going to be this compacted.
“What’s really surprised and thrown a wrench into it is some unsung teams have really had great starts and look like they are not going way. It has thrown 14 teams in the pack instead of 11 or 12. It’s going to make it even more difficult.”
Hitchock addressed the biggest Blues concerns immediately and got quick results. Both the power play and penalty kill have improved dramatically.
Stewart received five for hitting from behind and a game, Kronwall returned in the 2nd period.
from Norm Sander of the News-Democrat,
Since coach Ken Hitchcock took charge, the St. Louis Blues have nailed down five of a possible six points in three games.
Among the big differences in their overall game have been a quicker, up-tempo style and a better, more responsible effort defensively.
The Blues (8-7-1) will be put to the test tonight with a home game against the Detroit Red Wings (9-5-1). The Blues are 5-0-1 in their previous six games at Scottrade Center as they enter the fourth game of a five-game homestand.
“If you’re going to win in this league, you’re going to have to have a definitive game plan and follow it for 60 minutes,” Hitchcock said. “If you do that, eventually the other team cracks—and the idea in this league is to make the other team crack.
“Find a way that you expose a weakness and then jump all over it. But if you’re the first to crack, then you’re going to end up chasing games.”
via Nick Kypreos tweet,
Confirmed #NHL trade tonite. #Bluejackets (Kris) Russell for #Blues prospect Nikita Nikitin
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.
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