Kukla's Korner Hockey
ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Blues Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Armstrong along with Head Coach Davis Payne announced today the club has named David Backes the 20th captain in franchise history. In addition, the club named Barret Jackman, Jamie Langenbrunner, Andy McDonald and Alex Steen assistant captains.
from Norm Sanders of the News-Democrat,
“We’re going in with the mindset that we’re going to make the playoffs,” Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong said Thursday. “You should ask the guy behind you what happens if we don’t.”
That would be Blues President John Davidson, who also attended what amounted to a preseason media summit meeting along with coach Davis Payne.
“When we set into this summer, we realized that this is a very important year for this organization,” said Armstrong, whose club finished 10 points out of the playoffs despite a 9-1-2 kickstart to the season. “We’ve gone through a growth process and I think the growing now is over.”
It was a common theme echoed throughout the day.
“We’re as close to a finished product as we’ve been in a number of years,” Armstrong said. “It’s time for us to get that done on the ice. I think our fans have been patient—and it’s time for the organization to reward that patience with a good season.”
from David Kalan of NHL.com,
With strong guidance from Arnott and Langenbrunner and a solid season from Halak, who needs to improve on last season’s .910 save percentage and 2.48 goals-against average, the Blues should, at the very least, be competing for one of the final playoff berths in the West. St. Louis will be challenged by playing in, arguably, the toughest division in the League, as the Central is home to two of the last four Stanley Cup champs in Detroit and Chicago, a very strong team in Nashville and a Columbus team that made several big additions this summer. But the Blues still have an exciting, talented lineup, and there will be little excuse if they’re not in the postseason mix come April.
more on the Blues who will be trying to make the playoffs for the first time in three years…
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Reality, according to the anonymous investment banker, is that there are two serious bidders for the Blues at best and neither is willing to put up enough cash to even cover the $120-million (all currency U.S.) bank debt the current owners have on the team. Caporale declined to say who received requests for bids but multiple sources say the main suitors are two groups led by Blues minority owner Tom Stillman and Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer, who turned his attention to St. Louis when the political shenanigans around the Phoenix Coyotes grew tiresome.
Caporale’s fellow banker thinks another problem is that Blues chairman Dave Checketts is considered a smart operator by people in the sports business. But he was unable to turn the Blues into a steady source of profit since he took over the team in 2006. When buyers see that not even Checketts can make the Blues a going concern, their enthusiasm wanes.
“I think when people look at the financials over the last few years, they will see a positive performance and the team is on an upward trend,” Caporale said in response.
more plus a look at the Dallas situation…
from Kevin Allen of Rink Raps at USA TODAY,
With NHL training camps a little more than a month away, the St. Louis Blues are my nomination for the team that is probably better than we think. They have missed the playoffs the past two seasons, but they could be the surprise team in the West.
I certainly wouldn’t say they among the Stanley Cup favorites. But it seems as if the Blues have the oportunity to make the kind of rise that the Tampa Bay Lightning made in the East last season.
Why the Blues are a sleeper:
from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
The Blues are expecting to begin their 2011-12 season without David Perron, who’s been suffering from post-concussion symptoms since last November when he was hit by San Jose’s Joe Thornton.
“David has shown improvement,” Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said this morning. “But it’s not to the point where he’s ready to come in and work out and start training yet. The improvement took a big jump a few months ago, but it’s been slow and steady now.
Alright, I’m sure I’ll take some heat for this, for multiple reasons, but mostly because it goes outside my blog’s rage of coverage which is listed as “everything but the NHL”. In my defense though, this isn’t news; it’s just a retrospective look at some hockey history. Plus, ever since the recent retirement of Chris Osgood, I’ve been thinking about writing about this, and providing my personal perspective on what I feel is one of the most historic games in Detroit Red Wings franchise history, at least among the games that have been played in my lifetime (1987 to present).
As a young kid growing up in Metro-Detroit, I started casually watching hockey in 1991 - mostly the Red Wings; although I soon developed a love for the Boston Bruins as well, for some unknown reason. Once I watched my first hockey game, I instantly became a fan of the sport, as I found it to be far more entertaining and exciting than football, baseball, and basketball. I quickly learned how to skate and then starting playing hockey, but I still wouldn’t consider my young self much more than a moderate fan of hockey… until May 16, 1996… when St. Louis played Detroit in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals.
from Josh Kosman of the NY Post,
St. Louis Blues owner David Checketts said he will get an extension from lenders today on a $120 million loan, buying him more time to find a buyer for the hockey team.
“We have a direct agreement with the banks that gives us time to sell the franchise,” Checketts told The Post yesterday in an interview.
The money-losing Blues on June 30 missed the $120 million principal payment on their Citigroup-led loan.
The loan extension will give him more than 60 days to finish an orderly sale of the team, Checketts said. If he fails to find a buyer, the lenders will retain the right to put the team in default, he said.
ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Blues Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced today the club has signed forward Jonathan Cheechoo to a one-year contract.
Cheechoo, 30, spent last season with the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Worcester Sharks tallying 47 points (18 goals, 29 assists) in 55 games. The 6’1”, 200-pound forward has also appeared in 501 National Hockey League (NHL) games over seven seasons between the San Jose Sharks and Ottawa Senators compiling 305 points (170 goals, 135 assists) along with 324 penalty minutes.
The Moose Factory, Ontario native was originally drafted by San Jose in the second round, 29th overall, of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Just when it looked like another headache-filled summer for Gary Bettman, along came a little relief in the form of Matthew Hulsizer.
The Chicago businessman is taking a run at the St. Louis Blues in the wake of his withdrawal from the endless turtle race to buy the Phoenix Coyotes. He recently met Blues chairman Dave Checketts, took a tour of the Scottrade Center and is discussing a price of $165-million to $170-million (all currency U.S.) for a majority share of the team….
Elsewhere, the New York Islanders’ future rests on a vote by Nassau Country taxpayers Aug. 1 to approve a financing plan for a new arena. In simple terms, the proposed deal is to finance the arena with a bond offering that will have a debt load of $26-million a year. Islanders owner Charles Wang will cover $14-million of that and also hand over 11.5 per cent of the revenue from all events at the new rink.
more including some Phoenix and Florida talk…
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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