Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Entries with the tag: st. louis blues

Intriguing observations from the ‘Hockey World’ and ‘Three Periods’

The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson's main Hockey World column is a good read, discussing the post-firing life of coaches who rebounded in their own ways in Tom Renney and Rick Bowness, but his "Short Shifts" are probably more pertinent:

- St. Louis Blues phenom Vladimir Tarasenko, who just turned 23, has 20 goals on the year, but he might have scored 30 if he had shot more. He’s got 113 shots but that only puts him seventh behind Ovechkin, Karlsson, Seguin, Giroux, Pavelski and Pacioretty. “He could be more selfish,” said an NHL pro scout, marvelling at the Russian youngster’s release. Tarasenko, who may get to the $5-million to $6-million per season range in a new contract this summer, has 16 even-strength goals, second only to Tyler Seguin’s 17. “Twenty goals before Christmas? That’s special,” said teammate Steve Ott.

...

- If Vincent Lecavalier is playing right wing with Zac Rinaldo and French rookie Pierre-Edouard Bellemare in Philly, this is the end of the line for him, no?

- It should be noted that Roberto Luongo has a much better (2.35) goals-against average and way higher (.925) save percentage than Ryan Miller (.267) and .900 in Vancouver right now, but Miller has 16 wins. His team gives him way more run support than Luongo’s (11 wins) in Florida. Miller’s numbers are five-alarm stuff, but he is in the first year of a three-year, $18-million deal and he’s 34, not, say, 28.

This is probably true of more general managers (and coaches) than not, too:

-New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello is almost always around his team, home and away, but he knows exactly what’s going on with his farm team and their prospects. “He gets tapes of the games and the practices,” said former Devils defenceman Mark Fayne.

Matheson continues, and while we're doing short quips and quotes, Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika penned a superb "Three Periods" column discussing the Blue Jackets' resurgence and Patrik Elias' pluck, but the "Third Period" sticks:

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: bill+daly, bob+hartley, buffalo+sabres, calgary+flames, dallas+eakins, edmonton+oilers, florida+panthers, las+vegas, lou+lamoriello, new+jersey+devils, philadelphia+flyers, roberto+luongo, ryan+miller, st.+louis+blues, toronto+maple+leafs, vincent+lecavalier, vladimir+tarasenko

Marco Scandella hits T.J. Oshie in the head

Marco Scandella signed a contract extension with the Minnesota Wild on Saturday, and on Saturday night, as CBS Sports' Adam Gretz noted, Scandella may have spent some of that money after hitting St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie (who would emerge unscathed...eventually...) in the head:

That's a suspension. Period.

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  Tags: marco+scandella, minnesota+wild, st.+louis+blues, tj+oshie

Vladimir Tarasenko beats three Rangers and Cam Talbot via a ‘Kent Nilsson’ move

The St. Louis Blues defeated the New York Rangers 4-3 in a shootout on Monday night, but the game's prettiest goal came from Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko, whose 1-1 marker involved beating three Rangers defensemen and then goaltender Cam Talbot with the move all the Swedish NHL'ers like to point out was pioneered by Kent Nilsson, not Peter Forsberg or Henrik Zetterberg:

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  Tags: cam+talbot, new+york+rangers, st.+louis+blues, vladimir+tarasenko

Garrioch on the Canes, Yandle and…Oshie?

The Carolina Hurricanes earned their first victory of the 2014-15 season in their 9th game, defeating the Phoenix Coyotes 3-0 on Saturday, and given their issues, the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch kicked off his weekly rumor roundup discussing Ron Francis' challenges in attempting to right his sinking ship before it becomes a McDavid-Eichel lottery team:

With four years left at $7 million per-season, the underachieving Alexander Semin was a healthy scratch against the Arizona (don’t call me Phoenix) Coyotes on Saturday. The Canes would love to deal him but there’s no interest.

Naturally, the name of captain Eric Staal is going to be front and centre in all of this because there are several teams interested, not the least of which is the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Defenceman Andrej Sekera, who had 44 points last season and is making $2.75 million, will be highly sought after and will easily find a new home.

Garrioch also reports that the Keith Yandle Trade Rumor Mill is sputtering to life, as it usually does at this time of year...

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  Tags: alexander+semin, andrej+sekera, carolina+hurricanes, don+maloney, doug+armstrong, eric+staal, keith+yandle, phoenix+coyotes, ron+francis, st.+louis+blues, t.j.+oshie, toronto+maple+leafs

Garrioch: ‘The heat is definitely on Hitchcock’

Staal, Myers, and more! The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch also offers the following rumors:

The St. Louis Blues could fire coach Ken Hitchcock if his team isn’t able to get its act together quickly. The heat is definitely on Hitchcock after an early playoff exit last spring and the club brought in Bob Gainey to act as a mentor. The Blues signed centre Paul Statsny in the off-season and expect to be better. If they don’t buy into Hitchcock’s program soon, you would have to think changes are coming ... With the World Cup of Hockey set to return in 2016 in Toronto, the committee has spoken with organizers of the Toronto International Film about overlapping their last week with the tournament. Not sure TIFF needs the exposure but it would be a good fit for the NHL and NHLPA to get more notice ... Confirm or deny: The Coyotes and the Senators had discussions about defenceman Jared Cowen ... A league executive said Friday teams will start to get nervous at the 20-game mark. “You don’t really know what you’ve got after 10 games. You have a pretty good idea after 20,” he said.

Garrioch continues and suggests that Martin Brodeur is still dead-set on being a #1 goaltender, and I don't want to post this, but I suppose I have to:

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  Tags: anaheim+ducks, bob+murray, buffalo+sabres, detroit+red+wings, jared+cowen, ken+hitchcock, ottawa+senators, st.+louis+blues, tyler+myers, world+cup

Blues sign Paul Stastny to 4-year deal

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  Tags: paul+stastny, st.+louis+blues

Mid-afternoon pre-draft round-up: on Kesler Watch, Vanek Watch, Board of Governors stuff and Stastny

Updated 3x at 4:24 PM: Amongst this afternoon's news from the Board of Governors' meetings and the Trade-and-wine-and-dine-a-palooza...

1. It's time for Kesler watch to kick into an even higher gear?

2. Thomas Vanek is in demand:

3. Sportsnet's Mark Spector reminded us that quite a bit of this draft-day-draft-pick-trade talk is...talk...

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  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, colorado+avalanche, matt+niskanen, minnesota+wild, paul+stastny, ryan+kesler, st.+louis+blues

Summarizing the latest edition of Insider Trading (and LeBrun)

Updated with LeBrun stuff at 6:57 PM:

TSN's Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie discussed pre-draft trade and free agent discussions in an edition of Insider Trading that lasts for nearly four minutes. TSN usually posts a summation thereof, but if you don't want to wait until 7:30 or 8...

1. McKenzie says that there are 3 teams in the Western Conference (Anaheim, St. Louis +?) and 1 "mystery team" in the Eastern Conference who are talking to the Ottawa Senators about Jason Spezza (who has a no-trade list of 10 teams, incl. Florida, Carolina, Columbus and the Islanders). McKenzie says the Senators want a 1st-round draft pick as part of the compensation package.

2. Dreger says that David Bolland wants "maximum value," and he wants an 8-year deal at $4.9 million to remain with the Leafs. Toronto probably won't give him the term he wants, but Bolland believes he'll be healthy by training camp;

3. Dreger says that the Oilers are looking for a center and a defenseman, and they're willing to trade the 3rd overall pick and/or Sam Gagner in their efforts to improve the team, which may include trading for the Panthers' 1st overall pick;

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  Tags: anaheim+ducks, chicago+blackhawks, dale+tallon, dan+boyle, edmonton+oilers, florida+panthers, jason+spezza, joe+thornton, paul+stastny, ryan+kesler, sam+gagner, san+jose+sharks, st.+louis+blues, toronto+maple+leafs, vancouver+canucks

NHL Names post-season All-Star team

From the NHL:

NHL ANNOUNCES 2013-14 ALL-STAR TEAMS

LAS VEGAS (June 24, 2014) -- Center Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and defenseman Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins, who each earned his third career berth on the First All-Star Team, head the list of players voted to the 2013-14 National Hockey League postseason All-Star Teams. Crosby received First Team honors for the second consecutive season, while Chara earned a spot on the First Team for the first time since 2008-09.

Joining Crosby and Chara are two second-time selections to the First Team, right wing Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks and defenseman Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks. The squad also features two first-time recipients, left wing Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars and goaltender Tuukka Rask of the Bruins.

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  Tags: alex+ovechkin, alex+pietrangelo, anaheim+ducks, boston+bruins, boston+bruins., chicago+blackhawks, colorado+avalanche, corey+perry, dallas+stars, duncan+keith, jamie+benn, joe+pavelski, nashville+predators, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+getzlaf, san+jose+sharks, semyon+varlamov, shea+weber, sidney+crosby, st.+louis+blues, washington+capitals, zdeno+chara

Things are getting out of hand…As usual…As Stephane Robidas suffers another broken leg

I hate that every night during the regular season and playoffs, injuries are so regularly hockey's biggest stories.

During the Chicago Blackhawks' 2-0 win over St. Louis on Monday, Steve Ott took some revenge on Duncan Keith (he of the, "I cannot recall chirping David Backes after Brent Seabrook concussed him" vein) in relatively clean form...

But Matt Cooke took out Tyson Barrie's knee earlier this evening....

And I'm currently watching things get out of hand in a big way as the Anaheim Ducks trail the Dallas Stars 2-0. As Pro Hockey Talk's Cam Tucker notes, former Star Stephane Robidas got kneed by collided with Dallas's Ryan Garbutt, and had to leave the game...

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  Tags: anaheim+ducks, chicago+blackhawks, dallas+stars, duncan+keith, ryan+garbutt, ryan+getzlaf, st.+louis+blues, stephane+robidas, steve+ott

Dallas Stars make the playoffs for first time in six years, are ecstatic about it

The Dallas Stars made the playoffs for the first time since 2008 by defeating the St. Louis Blues 3-0, bumping the Phoenix Coyotes out of the playoff mix and setting the set of 16 teams that will battle for the Stanley Cup starting next Wednesday, and after the game, DallasStars.com's Mark Stepneski reports that the Stars were nothing less than ecstatic about their achievement:

“It means a lot,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn. “Every kid dreams of playing in the playoffs and trying to win a Stanley Cup. I believe we’ve got a great group in here that can do some damage. We earned it tonight.”

The trip to the postseason is the first for the Stars since 2008, when they made it to the Western Conference Finals.

“It’s a great feeling,” said defenseman Trevor Daley, the only player still around from that 2008 playoff team. “We’ve been battling hard. We’ve been battling hard for a long time. “

Stars coach Lindy Ruff may have been the most excited person in the Stars' locker room, too:

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  Tags: dallas+stars, jamie+benn, lindy+ruff, st.+louis+blues, trevor+daley

Matheson ponders an ‘Ovechkin divorce,’ reveals Teemu Selanne’s toughest opponents

The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson penned a particularly prolific set of Hockey World columns and blog entries (so much so that I'm stealing one for my Malik Report blog), and we're going to start sifting through four separate columns/entries' worth of observations and nuggets of wisdom with a question that many have pondered but few have tried to analyze:

Is there any logical way in which the Washington Capitals and Alexander Ovechkin can engage in a civilized "divorce" (and/or removal of that heavy captain's "C"), or is the team, "Married to Alex Ovechkin for life?"--to the detriment of an increasingly rotating cast of coaches, goaltenders and complementary players?

Since the Gretzky trade/sell to the LA Kings in 1988, we all know anybody can get dealt, although that’s Leonsis’s call, and the question is how many people would give up their tickets to games if Ovie wasn’t there. There’s 100s of people in Caps’ No. 8 jerseys at games in Washington. But, winning often trumps player loyalty and in the time Ovechkin has been with the Caps, they have won three playoff rounds in, this, his 10th year.
 

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  Tags: alex+ovechkin, anaheim+ducks, calgary+flames, chris+pronger, derek+roy, dustin+byfuglien, evander+kane, mike+green, ryan+miller, st.+louis+blues, teemu+selanne, vladimir+konstantinov, washington+capitals, winnipeg+jets

David Backes ‘jumps’ Nathan MacKinnon, and Patrick Roy is not amused

Patrick Roy was not happy after his Colorado Avalanche defeated the St. Louis Blues 4-0 on Saturday--during what was part of a much larger and nastier set of scraps between the two teams (as Puck Daddy's Jen Neale notes)...

Here's the hit in question--and, uh, Roy...Has a point?

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  Tags: colorado+avalanche, david+backes, nathan+mackinnon, patrick+roy, st.+louis+blues

TSN’s Insiders talk referees, Vanek, Miller and free agents’ fates

TSN's Darren Dreger, Bob McKenzie and Pierre LeBrun addressed several topics in an Insider Trading video, and TSN also provided a transcription of said commentary:

The NHL is apparently seeking officials...

Dreger: They're calling it the NHL Exposure Combine and the belief is that they're hoping to bring in upwards of 60 high-level prospects. They're going to collect these, literally, from around the world, but yes, they will send invites to certain universities and NCAA colleges for those graduating hockey players who perhaps want to pursue a career as an NHL on-ice official.

They'll hold the combine in August in Buffalo. There will be considerable physical testing but it's all part of trying to expand the search and every other year, they'll do an amateur version.

McKenzie: I smell a reality show coming: “So You Wanna Be a Ref?”

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  Tags: montreal+canadiens, ryan+miller, st.+louis+blues, thomas+vanek

Blues and Jets engage in an end-of-game tussle

The St. Louis Blues defeated the Winnipeg Jets 3-1 on Monday night, and at the end of the game, Dustin Byfuglien and Ryan Reaves made friends:

Let's just say that the referees managed the situation poorly, though Ryan Miller kept his composure quite well, because the refs and linesmen never managed to separate the players, from the start of the scrum until the players left the ice.

Per ESPN's recap, here's the penalty tally:

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  Tags: dustin+byfuglien, st.+louis+blues, winnipeg+jets

Deadline land, many hope that Girardi signing and Miller-and-Ott deals are tips of the iceberg

For those of us who aren't glued to Twitter or the interweb, the Dan Girardi's re-signing with the New York Rangers and the Ott-and-Ryan Miller-for-Jaroslav-Halak-etc. trades were the first of perhaps a dozen or so meaningful moves that will result from literally thousands of trade rumors per actual transaction made...

But the Sportsnets, ESPNs and deadline-drama-loving fans are obviously hoping that Friday's transactions broke a dam's worth of inactivity ahead of what many of you are probably hoping will be a 35-to-45-transaction period of time between now and 3 PM EST next Wednesday, and both TSN's Bob McKenzie (on Twitter) and ESPN's Scott Burnside and Craig Custance suggested that we've not seen the last of Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray's pre-trade deadline moves...

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  Tags: buffalo+sabres, dan+girardi, new+york+rangers, ryan+callahan, ryan+kesler, ryan+miller, st.+louis+blues, steve+ott, vancouver+canucks

Morning After Skate

Welcome to the morning after! A recap of the games from the night before and quick hit hockey news.

In Case You Missed It

Boston Bruins at Buffalo Sabres

Good night for the home team in Buffalo as the last place team took on the Atlantic Division leader and beat them 4-2.

Penalties would be the mainstay in the first period as Sabres Marcus Foligno and Bruins Matt Fraser would drop the gloves less than four minutes into the game. Both teams trying to claim the momentum swing from the early fight saw Boston take a rash of penalties.

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  Tags: cooke+returns+to+pittsburgh, kings+brown+ejected, linus+omark+traded, minnesota+wild, pittsburgh+penguins, red+wings+finally+win+a+game, sabres+beat+bruins, st.+louis+blues, ville+leino+dive

St. Louis Blues lose David Backes to an ‘upper-body injury’

Via NHL.com's Sean Farrell, Darren Pang isn't kidding when he says, "That's not good." St. Louis Blues captain David Backes took a high but very legal hit and left St. Louis' 3-2 OT loss to Ottawa with, well, this:

St. Louis Blues captain David Backes left the game against the Ottawa Senators on Monday during the second period with an upper-body injury.

Backes skated slowly off the ice and went to the dressing room with 2:49 left in the second after he collided with Ottawa's Colin Greening on an open-ice hit. He will not return, the Blues said.

Backes had seven hits and won 71 percent of faceoffs in 11:20 in ice time before he left the game. He has 16 goals and 14 assists this season, second on the team behind linemate Alexander Steen (35) in points.

After the game, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock had this to say to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Jeremy Rutherford:

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  Tags: david+backes, st.+louis+blues

St. Louis Blues’ owner weighs in on the rising cap’s effects upon mid-market franchises

The St. Louis Blues view themselves as something of a mid-market team in a big sports market city, and the team's majority owner, Tom Stillman, gave some particularly intriguing comments to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Dan O'Neill regarding the salary cap's likely rise to the $71-million range next season and up, up and away in seasons to come thanks to the NHL's new Canadian TV deal.

Big-market and big-spending teams greeted the news positively, smaller-market teams issued some concerns, but we haven't heard from "the middle" yet, so here's what a representative of an established franchise in a hockey city that is neither "big" nor "small," but still "spends to the upper limit" thinks about the cap's rise:

“The first thing (the rising salary cap) indicates is the league is healthy, really on the upswing, the game of hockey and the NHL. It says good things about the game,” Blues chairman Tom Stillman said. “The second thing is, it just kind of reinforces the need for us to expand our revenue base. Because we need to compete with teams that are going to spend to that cap level. We have to be competitive off the ice, in the revenue department, if we’re going to be competitive on the ice.”

O'Neill continues at length and offers a rereshingly plain-spoken summation as to how the cap's determined and why ticket prices rise in an "inflationary spiral" two lockouts after Gary Bettman promised that "spiral" would cease--because teams keep 100% of that revenue for themselves--and here is Stillman's bottom line:

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  Tags: st.+louis+blues

David Backes, Wife Announce Athletes For Animals

St. Louis Blues captain David Backes and his wife Kelly have announced their new public foundation Athletes for Animals.

Athletes for Animals is designed to bring professional athletes together in support of companion animals across the country. The Backes’ were inspired by nearly a decade of animal welfare and rescue efforts and decided that it was time to make a larger impact on the lives of homeless companion animals nationwide.

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  Tags: athletes+for+animals, david+backes, st.+louis+blues

The Morning After Skate

Welcome to the morning after! A recap of the games from the night before and quick hit hockey news.

In Case You Missed It

New York Rangers at New York Islanders

Twenty-four hours after their home opener the Rangers were on the road again. This time just a short trip to the neighbors the Islanders.

After losing at home long time starting goaltender Henrik Lundqvist sat out last night while rookie netminder Cam Talbot got the start.

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  Tags: anaheim+ducks, chicago+blackhawks, edmonton+oilers, lundqvist+sits+in+win, montreal+canadiens, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+sports+daily, phoenix+coyotes, st.+louis+blues, teemu+selanne+stick+to+face, toronto+maple+leafs, winnipeg+jets

Matheson engages in a fascinating conversation with Rob Blake about the suspension process

The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson's posted at least half of his weekly Hockey World articles on his blog page (I believe that he's still working on "Ask Matty" as I'm posting this, and I don't see any "Short Shifts" yet).

Especially given a) the fact that Don Cherry decided to suggest that John Scott and Cody McLeod require the sympathy of fans who don't understand "their role" or their obligation to "make a difference" and b) the endless suggestions that it's up to players and only players to police themselves when Sportsnet's John Shannon so wisely suggested that coaches, GM's and owners also share responsibility for employing players in "punishing" roles (we tend to forget that both players, coaches, GM's and owners are generally concerned about their team's well-being and competitive interests ahead of safe working environments)...

It's refreshing to hear now-NHL Department of Player Safety employee Rob Blake tell Matheson that there's a significant amount of push-back from teams when players are facing Sheriff Shanny's Wheel of Justice:

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  Tags: buffalo+sabres, calgary+flames, colorado+avalanche, department+of+player+safety, jiri+hudler, john+scott, magnus+paajarvi, matt+duchene, rob+blake, st.+louis+blues

Winnipeg Jets’ Jacob Trouba stretchered off after missed check

Very scary stuff, via Puck Daddy's Sean Leahy: Winnipeg Jets forward Jacob Trouba just plain old missed St. Louis Blues defenseman Jordan Leopold and he wound up going face-first into the end boards:

Update: Good news:

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  Tags: jacob+trouba, jordan+leopold, st.+louis+blues, winnipeg+jets

TSN’s Insider Trading segment includes preseason praise and panning

TSN's Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun discussed David Clarkson's suspension, Paul Bissonnette's appealing of his suspension, the probability of the NHL and NHLPA adopting hybrid icing and even expansion to Seattle in an "Insider Trading" segment, but pre-season hockey games aren't exactly covered with the intense scrutiny of regular-season games, so the most intriguing part of their segment involves, well, assessing which players have played well and which ones have played poorly during the part of the season that theoretically doesn't count:

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  Tags: anaheim+ducks, dallas+stars, dustin+penner, florida+panthers, jake+allen, jose+theodore, los+angeles+kings, st.+louis+blues, tim+thomas

Paajarvi signs with St. Louis

From Jeremy Rutherford:

The Blues and Magnus Paajarvi, who was acquired in the trade with Edmonton for David Perron, has agreed to a two-year, $2.4 million deal ($1.2 annual average value) with the club.

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  Tags: edmonton+oilers, magnus+paajarvi, st.+louis+blues

Blues are Stockpiling Young Defensemen

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford:

The old adage in hockey is that a team never can have enough defensemen. Well, the Blues are proving that wrong, at least when it comes to stockpiling young defenders.

Of the club’s last seven first-round picks, four play on the blue line. With the trade of forward Lars Eller last week, the team’s highest remaining draft pick in each of the past four years is a defenseman: Erik Johnson in 2006, Ian Cole in ‘07, Alex Pietrangelo in ‘08 and David Rundblad and Brett Ponich in ‘09.

With the 14th pick in this week’s NHL draft, which begins with the first round at 6 p.m. (St. Louis time) Friday in Los Angeles, the Blues aren’t expected to be in the running for another defenseman in the first round.

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  Tags: nhl-hockey, st.+louis+blues

Lars Eller looks forward to being a Montreal Canadien

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford:

Former Blue Lars Eller spoke with the Team 990 radio station in Montreal today and said that he is looking forward to playing for the Montreal Canadiens.

And he thinks it could be this season.  “What (Montreal GM Pierre Gauthier) told me was that they were happy to have gotten me in this trade,” said Eller, who went to the Habs Thursday in the trade that brought goalie Jaroslav Halak to St. Louis. “He said I have a good chance to make that Montreal team. It’s going to be up to me.

“That was my goal in St. Louis, to make that club this year. I’m going to have the same mindset coming into Montreal. I know that Montreal has a big fan base and there are big expectations for the team and the players as well. But I put pressure on myself. I see this in a positive way.”

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, St. Louis Blues, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: montreal+canadiens, nhl-hockey, st.+louis+blues

Manny Legace Conference Call Transcript

Earlier today, Manny Legace was named First Star for the week ending January 6th, after appearing in three games for the Blues and not allowing a goal. He recorded two wins, pushing his record this season to 15-10-2 in 29 appearances. His 2.09 goals-against average is fifth among all NHL goalies. He has a .921 save percentage and his three shutouts this season give him a career total of 21.

Today Legace participated in an NHL conference call. Here is the transcript of the Q&A:

Q.  I guess you made a comment about your knee recently that sort of surprised John . But more importantly, have you had any discussions with Andy Murray about work load or is there a plan so as you are battling for a playoff spot you don’t have a repeat of last year where you had to shut it down early?

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  Tags: goalies, manny+legace, media, nhl+conference+call, st.+louis+blues

Andy Murray’s Message

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.’‘

more

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  Tags: andy+murray, coaching, st.+louis+blues

Toivonen: Past & Future

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.”

more…

Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: hannu+toivonen, john+davidson, st.+louis+blues

Hot Blues

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.”

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Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: john+davidson, st.+louis+blues

The Best 20 Play

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.”

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Blues Believe In Perron

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.”

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  Tags: david+perron, st.+louis+blues

Weight Trying To Break Out Of Scoring Slump

from the News-Democrat,

With the St. Louis Blues on a three-game losing streak and struggling to find offense, center Doug Weight is more than willing to help.

But with no goals and three assists in the first 14 games, Weight is pressing to find a way to do it.

“I’ve had these points in my career before, where you go 10 or 12 games and you can’t buy anything,” said Weight, who has two assists in his last 11 games. “This is frustrating because the team needs it and we’ve lost some games where I could have helped.”

continued

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  Tags: doug+weight, st.+louis+blues

The Blues Are Back

from Michael Farber at Sports Illustrated,

The new motto of the organization is Whatever It Takes, and the Blues have already done enough that on Oct. 30 there were 14,222 in attendance to see a team that had won six of its first nine games. That was still 5,000 short of capacity but, says Davidson, one of Checketts’s first hires, “last year, on a Tuesday in October against Phoenix, we probably would have had six [thousand].” Revenue from tickets sold this season has already surpassed the ticket revenue from all of 2006-07, a solid start for a team that was 7-5 through last Saturday.

The resurgence truly began last winter when the Blues hired the person with the foresight to include every employee in the team picture: coach Andy Murray.

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  Tags: andy+murray, coaching, st.+louis+blues

Weight Fighting Slump, Keeps Team #1

from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

“We’re three games above .500,” Weight said in reference to the team’s 6-3 mark before the 2-1 loss. “If I didn’t produce much in the first nine games, which is my job, then I’ve got to do something about it. But I’m going to try to be upbeat. All you can do is work as hard as you can and get the coach to get you back out there.”

Weight is referring to his challenging relationship with Blues coach Andy Murray, who has limited the center’s playing time and kept him off the No. 1 power-play unit as a result of his slow start.

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  Tags: doug+weight, st.+louis+blues

Key to Rebuilding the Blues

From Jeff Gordon at the St Louis Post-Dispatch,

The new Blues management team has done many things right while rebuilding this downtrodden team.

Near the top of that list was the decision to send offensive defenseman Dennis Wideman to the Boston Bruins for versatile forward Brad Boyes back on Feb. 27. This was wasn’t a big move, but it was very important.

“One of the best trades I’ve seen,” Blues goaltender Manny Legace said with a chuckle. “He’s been a key part of the team since he got here. I’m glad he’s here.”

continued…

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  Tags: brad+boyes, st.+louis+blues

Thoughts on the Game Day Skate

From Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune,

Morning skates on game days are a part of NHL tradition. But [Andy Murray] Murray isn’t a big fan, calling them one of the most overrated things in hockey. Murray rarely makes the skates mandatory. In St. Louis they’re called “necessary skates,” in that players who think it’s necessary will skate.

Turns out Wild coach Jacques Lemaire doesn’t entirely disagree.

“Myself, the morning skate is for the player that doesn’t play a lot,” Lemaire said. “Or the player that wants to shoot a couple pucks, players that want to feel their legs. That’s it.”

Lemaire runs a quick morning skate, and makes more of them optional as the season wears on. The players have varied views of them. Brian Rolston isn’t a big fan; Pavol Demitra loves to get in his morning skate.

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  Tags: minnesota+wild, st.+louis+blues, training

Keep An Eye On Berglund

from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

Blues coach Andy Murray thinks 19-year-old center Patrik Berglund has a chance to make the NHL roster. Berglund believes it, too. So will he be with the team when it opens the season Oct. 4 in Phoenix?

“He just has to be above one centerman we have in our lineup right now,” Blues coach Andy Murray said….

“I’m very happy about it,” said Berglund, the 25th pick in the 2006 NHL draft. “They show a lot of interest in me and they give me a chance to play with the best players in the world and that means a lot to me.”

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  Tags: prospects, st.+louis+blues

Erik Johnson Keeping It Simple In St. Louis

from the News-Democrat,

While his progress has been watched intensely by Blues fans since being selected first overall in the 2006 draft, the 19-year-old Johnson tries to let others worry about things he can’t control.

“I’m not a guy that really puts pressure on myself too much,” he said. “I feel really good out there, I haven’t been nervous at all. I’ve been happy with how I’ve been playing and I’ve really been trying to keep things simple, so that’s helping me out a lot.”

Johnson is staying at the former Blues star’s family home in St. Louis, following a recent trend that saw Blues winger David Backes living with Keith Tkachuk for a time last season and Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby once sharing a house with Mario Lemieux.

“I usually talk to him a little bit every day, he’s a great guy to have around and he’s a great mentor,” Johnson said of MacInnis, now a Blues vice president. “It’s good because you get home-cooked meals and you don’t have to pay rent, so that’s nice.”

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Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: erik+johnson, st.+louis+blues

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