Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Josh Cooper at the Morning Skate,
At today’s morning skate, Blues players confirmed the team had a closed-door meeting following their 6-3 loss to Tampa Bay. Sources have told the Post-Dispatch that in the meeting, general manager Larry Pleau laid into the club.
Defenseman Barret Jackman was not caught off guard, and in fact sensed something would be said sooner rather than later.
“Were not shocked that anything happened, closed door meetings or anything like that,” Jackman said. “It is something that has come to a boiling point and its everybody in our room that has to change things right now.”
Added forward Keith Tkachuk: “It had got to the point where something had to be said, and it was said, and now we move on.”
from Norm Sanders of the News-Democrat,
Perhaps it was only fitting that on a night when former St. Louis Blues star Brett Hull was honored, ex-Blues coach Mike Keenan found a way into the ceremony.
During a pause in Hull’s speech with the arena quiet, a fan in the lower bowl screamed “I hate Mike Keenan!”
That not only brought a smile to Hull’s face, it sparked an impromptu ovation from fans who remembered Keenan trading away fan favorites Brendan Shanahan and Curtis Joseph and feuding constantly with the Golden Brett.
“I saw Mike this summer and we have made amends,” Hull said. “I’m way too old, I’m too old to hold grudges. We had a great talk.
“I always said this—I hated him as a coach but he’s a really good human being. We had a great talk.”
continued and Brendan Shanahan comments on Keenan too…
from Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Will the Blues ever deploy another forward combination that thrills fans as Hull and Oates once did?
Will the Note ever find another rugged superstar capable of winning hearts as Shanahan did?
Will this team ever find a goaltender capable of single-handedly stealing big games with insane saves, as CuJo once did?
The new regime tried to add some sizzle by signing Paul Kariya, who used to be one of the NHL’s most dazzling performers. But injuries, advancing age and declining skill have relegated Kariya to this team’s supporting cast.
He is a private guy who generally avoids the media and public interaction. He seems likely to get through his three-year stint in St. Louis without leaving much of a mark.
from Darren Pang at FoxSportsMidwest,
The next day it is what is called a “bag skate”. Skate real hard, no pucks, and the point is real clear.
This is where good teams bond. this is the type of negative situation that has to be turned into a positive for the players in the room. It is up to them, in my opinion. The players, at the end of the day, have to get it done. They play the game. The coaches job is to prepare the team. The Blues coaching staff does that every day.
In all my years of playing the game, and being in the broadcast booth handling Stanley Cup play-off assignments, Olympic competitions, I have NEVER seen win’s come easy. They don’t just arrive on your door step with a free Bud Light. They are all cherished, they are all earned.
The doubter’s are out there now. It was a “Meltdown on Market Street”. The fan’s are getting restless, witnessing far too many home losses, yet seeing the Blue’s win so strongly on the road.
This is why these player’s the game. They didn’t choose an individual sport like tennis, golf or bowling. These great athletes chose a team sport. When they get ready for the next game, and the one after that, they better be able to look across the room at their teammates and not let them down
“I’m never embarrassed of my teammates, because they’re all great guys who play hard, but, the effort we put in that last period. ... I hate the word embarrassing, but it’s more of a disappointment, or if there is a worse word than disappointment, that’s what we’re feeling right now.
“We sit back and let a team skate all over us and make plays all around us while we watch (in the third period). They pretty much walked in the front door and took the two points off our kitchen counter and walked out, and we just sat at the kitchen table and watched them.”
-David Backes of the St. Louis Blues after they blew a 3-0 lead to Edmonton. More on the game from Dan O’Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Blues President John Davidson announced today the club has acquired forward Pascal Pelletier from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Brendan Bell and Tomas Kana.
Pelletier, 26, has played in 25 games this season with the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Syracuse Crunch, recording 16 points (three goals, 13 assists) and 23 penalty minutes. Last season, the 5-11, 197-pound left winger notched 55 points (29 goals, 26 assists) and 45 penalty minutes in 71 games with Rockford of the AHL. Pelletier led the team in goals and power play goals and was second on the club in points.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
They walk toward the cancer clinic at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and he reaches for her hand, an instinct no more conscious than the last breath he took. He opens the door for her, his hand gently in the small of her back, retracing steps traveled many times over the past three years.
It’s quiet here on a sunny Sunday morning, and the couple is greeted warmly like old friends by the staff at the clinic. Tim, one of the health care staff, who has been here for so many of these visits, tells Larry Pleau and his wife, Wendy, that he’s sorry they missed his homemade turtles the day before. They joke about the missed opportunity before Tim disappears and returns a short while later with a box of the candy for Wendy.
Jane, another staffer, works on the three-pronged catheter that has been embedded near the tip of Wendy’s aorta since June 15, 2007, drawing blood and then redoing the dressing around the device.
The device has made the regular blood transfusions and tests and administering of antibiotics easier, but it also has been a constant reminder of what has been taken from her.
from Dan O’Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
The Blues are saddled with a 5-9-2 mark at home, a stat that is deceptively good. As mentioned, one of those “home” wins was a 5-3 victory over the Red Wings in Sweden. Moreover, the Blues’ stagnant offense has been even more impaired at home. The Blues have just 33 goals in those 16 “home” games, or 28 goals in 15 games at Scottrade, less than two goals a game.
“I don’t know, I don’t know why it is,” said forward T.J. Oshie. “Maybe guys get a little too comfortable at home ... I don’t know. But we have to do something about it. We have to turn it around.”
There was no time like the present on Monday, what with Dave Checketts in the house. The last time the chairman was in town, his hockey team lost at home to Nashville and Checketts responded by addressing the boys with a “not good enough” speech. The Monday Night Meltdown might have left him speechless.
ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Blues President John Davidson announced today that defenseman Eric Brewer will be sidelined two to four weeks with a back injury suffered on Nov. 25 at Dallas. The injury is unrelated to the previous back injury that required surgery.
from Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
The Blues are scoring just 2.4 goals per game, which is fifth-worst in the league. Given the talent mix this team has up front -– young and old, with both size and speed -– there is no excuse for that.
Injuries to puck-moving defensemen Carlo Colaiacovo and Eric Brewer haven’t helped matters. Due to its ever-changing lineup, this team hasn’t developed the necessary defensive zone cohesiveness….
“For sure we have the talent,” Boyes said. “That is not a question. It’s a matter of execution.
“When we get everyone going, everybody playing their roles, we’ll be all right.”
But when will that happen? The Blues can’t wait until the end of December, as they did last season. Their rivals won’t make way for them as they did in 2008-09.
Earning a playoff berth this season will be tougher than it was last season. The Blues will need to make a big push, soon, and sustain it for months.
We’ll know soon enough if they have it in them . . . or whether major changes must occur.
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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