Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the News-Democrat,
With the St. Louis Blues on a three-game losing streak and struggling to find offense, center Doug Weight is more than willing to help.
But with no goals and three assists in the first 14 games, Weight is pressing to find a way to do it.
“I’ve had these points in my career before, where you go 10 or 12 games and you can’t buy anything,” said Weight, who has two assists in his last 11 games. “This is frustrating because the team needs it and we’ve lost some games where I could have helped.”
from Michael Farber at Sports Illustrated,
The new motto of the organization is Whatever It Takes, and the Blues have already done enough that on Oct. 30 there were 14,222 in attendance to see a team that had won six of its first nine games. That was still 5,000 short of capacity but, says Davidson, one of Checketts’s first hires, “last year, on a Tuesday in October against Phoenix, we probably would have had six [thousand].” Revenue from tickets sold this season has already surpassed the ticket revenue from all of 2006-07, a solid start for a team that was 7-5 through last Saturday.
The resurgence truly began last winter when the Blues hired the person with the foresight to include every employee in the team picture: coach Andy Murray.
from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
“We’re three games above .500,” Weight said in reference to the team’s 6-3 mark before the 2-1 loss. “If I didn’t produce much in the first nine games, which is my job, then I’ve got to do something about it. But I’m going to try to be upbeat. All you can do is work as hard as you can and get the coach to get you back out there.”
Weight is referring to his challenging relationship with Blues coach Andy Murray, who has limited the center’s playing time and kept him off the No. 1 power-play unit as a result of his slow start.
From Jeff Gordon at the St Louis Post-Dispatch,
The new Blues management team has done many things right while rebuilding this downtrodden team.
Near the top of that list was the decision to send offensive defenseman Dennis Wideman to the Boston Bruins for versatile forward Brad Boyes back on Feb. 27. This was wasn’t a big move, but it was very important.
“One of the best trades I’ve seen,” Blues goaltender Manny Legace said with a chuckle. “He’s been a key part of the team since he got here. I’m glad he’s here.”
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
As (Andy) Murray said, “I thought there was parity there last year, too, between Chicago, Columbus and St. Louis. The only difference is that the parity is at a higher level.”
The three teams were a collective 79-77-21 after their coaching changes last season. They are 15-11-1 this morning. The Central Division is no longer comprised of Detroit, Nashville, Curly, Larry and Moe. The Stooges are gone.
As Hitchcock said, “Somebody has to make the playoffs other than Detroit. Whether you get a second- or a third-place team in the playoffs, it’s going to be somebody.
From Rusty Miller at the AP,
It was the type of move a player usually tries late in a long practice. The right situation presented itself in a game for Columbus’ Rick Nash, however, and it will undoubtedly be a staple on all the highlight shows.
Nash scored in his fifth straight game, this one an almost indescribable goal on a shot between his legs…
Watch the video…
from the CP via TSN,
The veteran forward saw enough potential for a bright future to put his name on a three-year contract.
“I thought it was a really good fit hockey wise,” said Kariya, who signed an US$18-million deal with the Blues on July 1 after spending the last two years with the Nashville Predators. “When (head coach) Andy Murray took over the team last year, in my opinion, they were a playoff team. And with the young group of players, you knew that they not only were going to be a good team now but two or three years down the road, they were going to be even better.”
From Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune,
Morning skates on game days are a part of NHL tradition. But [Andy Murray] Murray isn’t a big fan, calling them one of the most overrated things in hockey. Murray rarely makes the skates mandatory. In St. Louis they’re called “necessary skates,” in that players who think it’s necessary will skate.
Turns out Wild coach Jacques Lemaire doesn’t entirely disagree.
“Myself, the morning skate is for the player that doesn’t play a lot,” Lemaire said. “Or the player that wants to shoot a couple pucks, players that want to feel their legs. That’s it.”
Lemaire runs a quick morning skate, and makes more of them optional as the season wears on. The players have varied views of them. Brian Rolston isn’t a big fan; Pavol Demitra loves to get in his morning skate.
From Jeremy Rutherford at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Rookie defenseman Erik Johnson will miss the Blues’ home opener tonight with a hairline fracture in his right foot.
Johnson, 19, suffered the injury in the season opener at Phoenix on Oct. 4. An X-ray taken after the game did not reveal the fracture. He played in the Blues’ second game two nights later at Los Angeles and scored the game-winning goal.
“I took a (shot) off the foot in the Phoenix game, and didn’t really notice any pain in the Los Angeles game or any practices until yesterday,” Johnson said this morning.
An X-ray taken Tuesday revealed the hairline fracture.
From John Glennon at the Tennessean,
When Paul Kariya signed with the Predators two summers ago, general manager David Poile called it a groundbreaking moment for the franchise. Sure enough, Kariya boosted the team’s ticket sales, led the Predators twice in a row in scoring and helped guide Nashville to two straight regular seasons of more than 100 points.
But largely because of the uncertainty involving the Predators ownership situation, Kariya has taken his talents a few hours away, where he’s already made an impact on a St. Louis organization seeking to regain respectability on the ice and in the community.
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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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