Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jeremy Rutherford of the Morning Skate at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Murray said that the Blues will have 56 players at training camp. The breakdown is six goalies, 20 defensemen and 30 forwards.
Murray said something interesting about how the final roster will be determined. He said it will be less about contract situations and more about which players deserve a spot on the team.
“There will be some battles,” Murray said. “Everyone can look at contracts and say, ‘Well, they don’t have many roster spots open.’ Well, as I’ve told a couple of guys coming to our camp, ‘Put a wedge in their for yourselves. It may look like it’s blocked off, but somehow stick a wedge in and open it up a little bit and push yourself through it.’
“We will keep the best players. If that means creating roster spots by moving guys that aren’t performing, then that will happen. We’ll ultimately find a way to get our best players in the lineup.”
more on the Blues…
from Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes at the St. Petersburg Times,
The agent for free-agent wing Alex Tanguay said his client will sign a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning after he passes a physical that will occur in Tampa on Monday or Tuesday….
Lecavalier, who played with Tanguay for Canada at the 1998 world junior championship, said he spoke to Tanguay twice, including Friday night.
“He asked me about Tampa and I told him about coming to the tam and the direction it is going,” Lecavalier said, and added, “Anybody that plays with a guy like Tanguay, he’s such a great passer and can score. He brings a lot to the team, so I’m excited.”
ST. LOUIS (August 27, 2009) – St. Louis Blues President John Davidson announced today that Blues Captain Eric Brewer underwent successful minor arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. The surgery was performed today by Dr. Brian Day in Vancouver.
from Jeremy Rutherford of the Morning Skate at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
I received a couple of phone calls earlier this week saying that Blues defenseman Eric Brewer may be out for the 2009-10 season, and that his sciatic nerve issue could be career threatening.
That much has been speculated in recent months, but neither the Blues nor Brewer have confirmed or even suggested that he could miss the entire season.
I spoke with Blues President John Davidson last night, and Davidson said that the rumor was not true. Davidson said that he spoke with Brewer yesterday and that Brewer was continuing to make progress and everyone was still hopeful he could play this season.
a bit more...
from Larry Wigge of NHL.com,
What makes last year’s electric run a potential precursor of even better things is that the Blues accomplished it without Erik Johnson, their most talented defenseman who was out for the season following pre-training camp knee injury, Paul Kariya, a seven-time All-Star who saw his season cut to just 11 games before having surgery on both hips, plus captain/defenseman Eric Brewer, whose surgically repaired back ended his season Dec. 11 after just 28 games.
“When I see Erik Johnson wind up and then rip one into the net now, I realize even more what we were missing last season and what we accomplished without him,” Blues President John Davidson said. “You don’t just assume that things are going to be better, but how can they not be with us getting Erik, Paul (Kariya) and Eric (Brewer) back this season?”
“I think we’re going to see a fired-up Paul Kariya,” added Murray. “I’m convinced, with his pride as a player, he’s going to come back very determined.”
via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Ed Belfour, a longtime villain in St. Louis as goalie for the Chicago Blackhawks, has been hired by the Blues as a goaltending consultant.
Blues fans no doubt recall with fondness the days when the derisive chants of “BELLL-four! BELLL-four!” rained down from the rafters at the old Arena on Oakland Avenue.
Belfour played 18 seasons in the NHL with Chicago, San Jose, Toronto and Florida.
“Ed is one of the winngest goaltenders in National Hockey League history and we’re thrilled to have him on our staff,” Blues president John Davidson said in a news release. “His knowledge of the position will be invaluable for our goaltenders in Peoria and the young goalies in our ogranization.”
“There’s no better place to be in the league right now. I think we’ve got the best group of young hockey players in the NHL, and I’m very excited to be a part of it and see where we can take it.”
-Paul Kariya of the St. Louis Blues. More on Paul from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
from Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald,
As he’s done everywhere in his career, T.J. Oshie wasted little time becoming a major fan favorite in St. Louis. His name became a verb, fans campaigned to vote him mayor of nearby O’Fallon, Mo., and he was a landslide winner in fan voting for the most popular player on the team….
“I’ve never had the opportunity to pick a Mario Lemieux, a player who has all the physical attributes and skills to step right into the NHL and dominate a game,” Blues head scout Jarmo Kekalainen told NHL.com. “Rarely, in fact, do you find any kid who is physically ready to step into the NHL and make an impact.
“To me, we’re charged with the opportunity to identify skill, hockey sense, character and intelligence in a youngster and then calculate his future. We try to find players with the upside who can become an impact player. You might get a guy that will make your team right off the bat. But you can’t get carried away with that. If it takes four years to get him to the NHL, but he plays 12 years in the league, I’d much rather take that guy than the guy that makes it in the league the next year, plays 100 games and then vanishes.”
from John Grigg of The Hockey News,
One squad I see having a good chance to surprise again this year is the St. Louis Blues, who finished an eyebrow-raising sixth in the Western Conference last season, but are still considered by many to have been the beneficiary of a weak second-half schedule and plain old good luck.
But in February, March and April last season, St. Louis managed to earn 68 percent of its possible points – winning 20 of 34 outright and earning a loser point in six others. Nine of those wins came against eventual playoff teams, so it wasn’t just about weak opponents and blind luck; the Blues were playing some pretty damn good hockey. And I think that’ll continue; the Blues are for real – a Central Division dark horse, even….
Would I bet my house on St. Louis finishing the season as a top-three seed in the West? No. But would I drop $25 on it in Vegas? You betcha.
from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Two months ago, Blues defenseman Eric Brewer was recuperating from his second back surgery in four months and readying himself to repeat a slow rehabilitation process. Both Brewer and the club were optimistic that he would be available at the start of the 2009-10 season.
They are still optimistic. But while Brewer has shown some improvement with the sciatic nerve issue that affects his right leg, the Blues are acknowledging for the first time that their captain might not be in uniform opening night in Sweden, on Oct. 2.
“Progress has been made, so we’ll live with that,” Blues President John Davidson said. “If there was no progress by now, we’d be nervous. I’m a glass half-full guy, so that’s how I’m looking at it. (But) if he can’t play, the emphasis for us will be to have a good start with healthy players.”
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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