Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jeff Gordon of Hockey Guy at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
By beating the Red Wings in frantic, hard-fought game Thursday night, the Blues told the world that they are, in fact, a playoff team.
The Blues still must finish well in their final four games, but that 5-4 victory at Detroit was an eye opener for their Western Conference rivals.
The Note had just suffered a tough loss at Chicago. The Red Wings had owned them all season. Detroit coach Mike Babcock leaned on his team, putting great focus on this game.
Everything was stacked against Andy Murray’s squad. The Blues even lost key center Patrik Berglund to injury during the game.
But the Blues won anyway, leaving the Red Wings muttering to themselves.
“I don’t know what happened there. Kind of one of those games where you black out and then next thing you know, people are patting you on the back.
“A great effort by a few of my linemates, setting me up on goals, and a great team effort there at the end to clamp down against a team that never gave up against us.”
-David Backes of the St. Louis Blues after his 4 goal performance last night. More on the Blues win from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
NEW YORK (April 2, 2009)—St. Louis center T.J. Oshie, who helped spark the Blues’ playoff surge by recording 13 points (four goals, nine assists) and a +6 rating in 14 games, has been named the NHL Rookie of the Month for March.
Oshie edged Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (8-7—15 in 15 games), Toronto Maple Leafs center Mikhail Grabovski (5-9—14 in 13 games), New York Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo (5-8—13 in 13 games), Ottawa Senators goaltender Brian Elliott (9-3-0, 2.57 goals-against average), Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Steve Mason (8-4-2, 2.46 GAA) and Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne (7-2-3, 2.53 GAA) for the award.
from Brian Duff at The Hockey News,
To date, 19 players from this year’s Traverse Tournament have played at least a game in the NHL this year. As of Monday, five of those 19 were among the top 20 rookie scorers and four were in the top 11.
Bogosian will be an absolute force; Voracek is already responsible and productive; Neal trails only Bobby Ryan in rookie goals; Clutterbuck has set an NHL record for hits in a season; Berglund is the most prolific power play threat in this year’s Calder class.
And then there’s Oshie.
During one of our tournament broadcasts St. Louis’ president of hockey operations, John Davidson, joined us for an entire period to give us an overview of the organization’s prospects.
I’ll never forget how passionate he was when describing Oshie, who was expected to make the Blues after three consistent, productive years at the University of North Dakota.
“He’s tireless,” said Davidson glowingly. “He just never stops working.”
from Chris Pinkert of St.LouisBlues.com,
It’s been a busy few months for Larry Pleau, the team’s Sr. Vice President and General Manager. With the trade deadline passing in early March and the team’s recent surge toward the postseason, we thought now was a good time to catch up with Pleau to discuss a variety of Blues topics.
Q: Considering how the team has battled since early January, do you think they are “playoff tested” already?
A: We’ve been playing ‘desperate’ hockey, I would say, since the end of December. I think the coaches have done a great job of keeping the players focused on the game-to-game situation, preparation, the opponents they’re playing against and understanding how important the games are: even if it was a game in January, it (was) going to affect where we end up in April.
Blues goaltender Chris Mason participated in a tele-conference today…
Q. Just wondering, I’m sure this is a question that you have not been asked yet, but do you think you need rest before the end of the season?
CHRIS MASON: No, I don’t, actually. You know, I’m getting good rest on the off days, and they are taking care of me like that.
So I’m definitely saving my energy for the games, and, you know, at this point in the season, you just find the energy. It’s just when you go out on the ice and you’re playing these games that mean so much, you just find the energy. All of the other players are expected to do it, so I don’t see why the goalies can’t, too.
The 2009-2010 NHL season will begin just as it did last year in Stockholm, Sweden, at the Ericsson Globe Arena when the Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues face off October 2-3. Tickets to both games, about 26,000 total, have sold out.
The Blues and Red Wings will begin their visit to Sweden with exhibition games as part of the NHL Premiere Challenge. St. Louis will face Linköping Hockey Club on September 29 and Detroit will play Färjestad BK on September 30. Tickets for both games will be released tomorrow, Tuesday, March 31.
There are Swedish players on both teams. Patrik Berglund (Västerås) and Alexander Steen (Frölunda) play for St. Louis, and Jonas Junlund, a prospect currently playing for Linköping, could be skating for the Blues by the start of the 2009-10 season. Henrik Zetterberg (Timrå), Nicklas Lidström (Västerås) and Niklas Kronwall (Djurgården) are amongst the Swedes that skate for Detroit.
Andy Murray talks about the Blues victory of the Blue Jackets last night and Puck Daddy (watch the video of another Oshie hit on Nash) has this to say…
The Blues currently own the No. 8 seed in the West, thanks in no small part to the play of T.J. Oshie, who had a goal, an assist and his second bad-ass play involving Rick Nash in the span of 24 hours:
from Michael Arace at Puick-rakers,
Blues forward Brad Boyes scored what was the most important goal of the game. Steve Mason went behind the net to play a rim-around, he had some time and space and he turned and looked up ice. Mason isn’t terrible when it comes to handling the puck, but he is no Ron Hextall. Mason, a la Hexie, tried to balloon the puck over everyone in attempt to clear the zone with one swipe. Mason partially fanned, however, and the puck never got off the ground. It slid directly on to the stick of Boyes, who was coming, left-to-right, into the slot. Boyes had the whole net at which to shoot and he did not miss.
“If you’re going to pin the loss on anyone, pin it on me,” Steve Mason said.
read on for an in-depth look at last night’s St. Louis/Columbus game and watch the costly turnover by Mason below…
from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
“Before the season,” Commodore said, “if you would have looked at their roster and said, ‘OK, this guy, this guy, this guy and this guy are going to be done for the year ... how do you think they’re going to do?’ With seven games left, I don’t think anybody would have guessed they’d be one point out of the playoff race.
“They just never went away. It’s been very impressive.”
“I think everybody did count them out,” Nash said. “I don’t think anyone saw it coming. I played for Andy Murray at the World Championships (with Team Canada) and know how good of a coach he is. Plus, they’ve got great players, so it was surprising to see where they were at the bottom. But they’ve been great lately, and they’ve got a shot at it.”
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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