Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the News-Democrat,
“To me, the work ethic of our penalty-killing players is not matched by the work ethic of our power-play players,” Murray said. “The power-play guys can say it’s easier to kill penalties, and it is. But we’re also paying some guys some pretty good dollars to make our power play work.”...
For the season, the Blues are successful on 13.3 percent of their power-play chances (17-for-128). And while the team’s overall play has improved since Murray’s arrival last December, the power-play remains a major concern.
“We’re not seeing enough goals on our power play,” Murray said. “We’re not seeing the extra work to battle for pucks, to come up with loose pucks, to make sure you outnumber your opponent around the puck.
“There were some guys trying to be difference-makers, but there weren’t enough of them.”
more on the Blues…
from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Talking informally Tuesday about how good he feels, Legace said he’s not worried about remaining healthy the rest of the season but added he’ll have postseason surgery to put a “plug” in his right knee. That’s the same knee on which Legace had arthroscopic surgery last spring to repair cartilage.
“I have a defect in my bone and my cartilage,” Legace said. “We knew about (the defect) before we went into the surgery last year ... the consensus was that it wasn’t big enough that the plug was necessary.”
“So, we hoped it would be OK like it was last season, and it ended up that it got a little worse over the summer,” Legace said. “The cartilage probably wore away to the bone. If it wasn’t for these Don Joy braces, I don’t think I could play. But if I jam it too hard, it just swells right up.”
Davidson was caught off guard by Legace’s certainty that he’d need surgery.
“I would think that at the end of the season, he’d re-evaluate the situation and see if he needs surgery or not. As far as I know, I don’t think there’s anything in stone,” Davidson said.
From the CP via TSN,
Murray employs a tough style that is ‘‘demanding not demeaning’’ and puts a lot of responsibility on the players. After arriving in St. Louis, he found a group of men that felt as if they had let down Mike Kitchen, the man Murray replaced behind the bench.
The Blues have gone a combined 43-28-10 since - including 16-10-1 so far this season. His message to the players has been simple.
‘‘Basically we just tried to sell a belief system that if we played hard every night and competed that we would have an opportunity to be successful,’’ said Murray. ‘‘Losing is misery ... I think the players were just fed up with the way they were feeling here.’‘
From Jeremy Rutherford at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
“He’s a young guy, and he’s big,” Blues President John Davidson said. “He has good work habits, and he’s a good person. We expect him to be a really good goalkeeper, and he is. He’s a pup, but there’s a future there.”
It was less than eight years ago that Toivonen chose hockey over soccer, a difficult decision that changed his life for good.
“I was like 15 or 16, and there were two camps at the same time,” Toivonen said. “There was a soccer camp, the top select camp in my area, and there was a (Finnish) national team camp for hockey.
“The hockey guys basically laid it out to me. They said, ‘If you go to soccer, catch you later.’ I just decided to go to hockey. I thought I had a better chance making it as a hockey player where I was from ... because of the money and support that was being put into hockey. I don’t think I ever played a soccer game after that.”
from Pierre LeBrun of the CP,
Only one division in the NHL can boast having every single team over the .500 mark. Surprisingly, it’s the Central.
Widely considered the weakest of the league’s six divisions over the last few years, where Detroit has captured six straight titles, the Central has some spine this season.
The Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues and Columbus Blue Jackets are vastly improved while the Nashville Predators have not tumbled badly as many had predicted.
“They’re all good teams,” Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock told The Canadian Press this week.
from the CP,
The Blues, who play the Flames on Tuesday and the Oilers on Friday, are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games and playing some of the best hockey in the league right now.
“We, as a team, feel we can play with anybody,” Blues president John Davidson told The Canadian Press on Monday. “And we should feel that way. Last year we were just hoping to survive and stay in the hunt as long as we could. This year it’s different.”
The 15-8-1 Blues sit fourth in the tightly contested Western Conference, making a major statement two months into the season after missing the playoffs two straight years.
“And we’re going to be around for a long time,” said Davidson. “We’ve got eight players 24 and younger. So we’re going in the right direction. We feel good about the way we play the game, we feel good about the way we’re committed. Our team is well prepared.”
from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
However, as Tkachuk’s opportunities get fewer, he is beginning to appreciate the career accomplishments that are coming his way. One of the most significant will come tonight when he plays Game No. 1,000 in the NHL….
“When we came in, nobody thinks they’re going to be in the league that long ... it’s an amazing accomplishment,” Weight said. “But you know ‘Walt’ ... he’s too cool for school. You know, he’ll say, ‘Ah, it’s not that big of a deal.’ But deep down, Walt knows it’s a great accomplishment and he’s excited.”
from the Buffalo News,
There will be 18,690 waiting in HSBC Arena. The Buffalo Sabres host St. Louis tonight, and it’s a long-awaited outing for McKee and Blues teammate Lee Stempniak. McKee hasn’t played in Buffalo since Game Six of the 2006 Eastern Conference finals, while West Seneca’s Stempniak has never played professionally in his hometown.
“It’s special,” McKee said Tuesday. “I was very fortunate to grow not only as a player but as a person here in this town. To come back and play here is going to be a pretty neat feeling. The fans were great, stuck behind me over the 10 years I was here, and that doesn’t always happen with players. I felt very fortunate for that.”
from Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
“You have the Patriots right now, (Bill) Belichick last week was pretty hard on them, I understand,” Murray said after the Blues edged the Predators 2-1 Monday night.
“We’re pushing our guys to get better as well. We’re not comparing ourselves to the Patriots by any means, but no matter how good you’re playing, there is always room for improvement. We’ve got quite a bit of room for improvement. Which is encouraging.”...
“I don’t know if I’m holding guys accountable,” Murray said. “I’m just trying to come up with 20 players on a given night to give us the best chance to win. I believe players make those kind of decisions for you.”
from the News-Democrat,
Fast forward to Monday, and Perron began the day as one of the NHL’s hottest scorers with four goals and five points in his last five games. He has goals in four of his last seven contests and pumped some much-welcomed offensive life into a Blues team that followed up a three-game losing streak with four consecutive one-goal victories.
“He’s something special,” Blues President John Davidson said. “He’s got a great passion for the game; he’s a rink rat. There’s no question he’s got the ability to score goals and pass the pucks, plus he has no fear of going into any area on the ice.”
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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