Kukla's Korner

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Entries with the tag: st. louis blues

Get ready for the usual amount of trade deadline fireworks (like a Shattenkirk trade)

George here. I've been on a "scouting trip" to Grand Rapids, Michigan to cover the Red Wings' AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, over the past two days, and Griffins coach Todd Nelson had a simple take on the trade deadline when asked how he was preparing his players:

Nelson, whose team is about to embark on a two-week trip to Texas and California, said that he told all his players to bring their passports with them to Austin and San Antonio, because the Red Wings will spend the trade deadline in Western Canada, and there's no telling when a team that's "selling" for the first time in a quarter-century might have to call up a player or two.

According to the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch, the final 48-to-72 hours before Wednesday's trade deadline will finally separate "buyers" and "sellers," and despite forecasts of a "weak draft" and "flat cap," the normal amount of trades will occur:

The talk has certainly increased over the last 48 hours with teams such as the Carolina Hurricanes, Dallas Stars and Detroit Red Wings accepting the reality of not making the post-season by unloading players for picks.

It won’t stop there with Arizona, Buffalo, Colorado, New Jersey, Tampa Bay, Vancouver and Winnipeg, with assets they can deal to try to get something in return. League executives predict GMs will be busy at the last minute, because they usually are.

“It’ll be the same — somewhere between 20 to 25 trades,” a league executive said last Thursday. “Everyone knows who’s out there. Some teams have games to play before Wednesday and most teams will wait until the wire.

“But if they have a deal that makes sense, they’ll do the deal.”

Garrioch continues, and he offers a representative example:

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: kevin+shattenkirk, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, st.+louis+blues, washington+capitals

Will the Blues still move Shattenkirk?

The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch reports that the Blues are considering moving Kevin Shattenkirk even though St. Louis is in the thick of the Western Conference's playoff race:

Doug Armstrong is facing a deadline dilemma. Since deciding he’d send head coach Ken Hitchcock packing in favour of Mike Yeo on Feb. 1, the St. Louis Blues are back in a playoff position and heading into Saturday’s action they were five points ahead of the Nasville Predators for the final playoff spot in the Central Division.

Now, the Blues’ GM has an even bigger decision to make regarding unrestricted free agent defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk.

He is regarded by many in league circles as the biggest chip available at the March 1 trade deadline, but Armstrong is facing the reality that the Blues are in the thick of the playoff race in the West. Can he really afford to send Shattenkirk elsewhere just because he won’t sign a deal?

The New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs are among the teams that have shown interest.

Right now, the asking price for Shattenkirk, 28, who has 11 goals and 42 points, has three elements: a high-end prospect, a first-round pick and another piece. Teams don’t want to pay that for a rental and the Blues are willing to do a sign and trade. However, a deal fell through recently.

“If they can get a good deal I think they’ll take the assets,” said a league executive Saturday.

Garrioch continues with many rumors...

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  Tags: kevin+shattenkirk, mike+yeo, new+york+rangers, st.+louis+blues, toronto+maple+leafs

Nail Yakupov traded to St. Louis

(Oct. 7, 2016) – St. Louis Blues President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced today the Blues have acquired 2012 first overall pick Nail Yakupov (YA-kuh-pawv, NAY-uhl) from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for forward Zach Pochiro and a conditional 2017 third round draft pick. 

Yakupov, 23, dressed in 60 regular season games with the Oilers last season, posting 23 points, including eight goals and 15 assists.  Overall, the 5’11, 195-pound forward has appeared in four NHL seasons, accumulating 111 points, including 50 goals and 61 assists, in 252 career regular season games.

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  Tags: edmonton+oilers, nail+yakupov, st.+louis+blues

Hjalmarsson rocks Rattie

The Chicago Blackhawks may have lost a defenseman's services into the regular season as Niklas Hjalmarsson hit Ty Rattie late in the Hawks' 4-0 win over St. Louis on Saturday night, with Hjalmarsson earning a match penalty on the hit:

Quoting the Chicago Tribune's Chris Hine...

Hawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson received a match penalty for a shoulder to helmet hit he delivered on Blues winger Ty Rattie in the third period. Hjalmarsson is suspended for Sunday’s game against the Red Wings, a game he was unlikely to play anyway, and could face more discipline pending further review of the hit from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.

And the Blues' Twitter account:

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  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, niklas+hjalmarsson, st.+louis+blues, ty+rattie

Will Alex Pietrangelo become the Blues’ next captain?

Via NHL.com, St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo spoke with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Jesus Ortiz regarding the possibility of Pietrangelo succeeding David Backes as the Blues' next captain:

“Yeah, I would welcome the responsibility,” he said. “I think being so close with Dave over the five years he was captain, I’ve learned a lot from him just kind of sitting back and seeing how he operates on a daily basis. Not only on the ice but off the ice, which is a big part of it trying to keep the locker room together and doing the off-ice stuff.

“He was always trying to help me through that. I think he knew this opportunity might come some day for me. He was always willing to answer my questions, and I was always eager to ask him. So if there is a guy that I was lucky to learn from, it was him. Being such good friends of his made it that much easier.”

Blues GM Doug Armstrong tipped his hand ever-so-slightly as well:

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: alex+pietrangelo, alex+steen, david+backes, doug+armstrong, st.+louis+blues

Elliott finally gets his chance to establish himself as a #1 goaltender

From the Canadian Press:

The temperatures outside are scorching, but new Flames goaltender Brian Elliott is eager to get back in the rink. After years of fending off challengers for his job in St. Louis, Elliott has big expectations entering next season as the unquestioned No. 1 in Calgary.

"This is a big one for me so I’m really looking forward to it," Elliott said when introduced to the media on Wednesday. "Sometimes you want that extra bit of summer to relax and enjoy your downtime but now I’ve gotten really excited to get the pads back on and ready to get back at it."

The Flames acquired the 31-year-old native of Newmarket, Ont., from St. Louis on the night of the NHL draft for a second-round pick. Elliott and his wife were on vacation in Croatia at the time.

"When I got the news, it was 2 o’clock in the morning and I saw my phone lighting up. I didn’t go back to sleep after that, I was so excited," he said.

Continued

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  Tags: brian+elliott, calgary+flames, st.+louis+blues

Here’s the NHL’s Conference Final broadcast schedule

2016 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS CONFERENCE FINALS SCHEDULE

NEW YORK (May 12, 2016) – The National Hockey League today confirmed the dates, starting times and television information for the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs Conference Finals. The Eastern Conference Final features the Pittsburgh Penguins against the Tampa Bay Lightning and begins Friday in Pittsburgh. The Western Conference Final features the St. Louis Blues against the San Jose Sharks and begins Sunday in St. Louis.

NBC Sports in the U.S. and CBC and TVA Sports in Canada will provide exclusive television coverage of the Conference Finals.

All times listed are ET and subject to change.

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: pittsburgh+penguins, san+jose+sharks, st.+louis+blues, tampa+bay+lightning

NHL releases ‘Conference Finals scenarios’

2016 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS CONFERENCE FINALS SCHEDULE SCENARIO

NEW YORK (May 11, 2016) – The National Hockey League today announced the dates, starting times and television information for the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs Conference Finals. The Eastern Conference Final features the Pittsburgh Penguins against the Tampa Bay Lightning and begins Friday in Pittsburgh. The Western Conference Final features the St. Louis Blues against the winner of Thursday’s Game 7 of the Second Round series between the San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators and begins Sunday in St. Louis.

NBC Sports in the U.S. and CBC and TVA Sports in Canada will provide exclusive television coverage of the Conference Finals.

All times listed are ET and subject to change.

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: nashville+predators, pittsburgh+penguins, san+jose+sharks, st.+louis+blues, tampa+bay+lightning

Dallas Stars force 7th game against St. Louis

Here are the highlights from the Dallas Stars' 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of the teams' Western Conference Semifinal:

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  Tags: dallas+stars, st.+louis+blues

Stars get away with 6 men on the ice, leave Tarasenko alone, surrender breakaway goal

This play qualifies as surprising for a strange reason: the Dallas Stars played a shift against the St. Louis Blues in which 6 Stars players skated up ice, over-commiting to their forecheck and leaving Vladimir Tarasenko open for a home-run pass. Tarasenko walked in on Kari Lehtonen and scored, of course, technically beating seven defenders to the back of the Stars' net:

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  Tags: dallas+stars, st.+louis+blues, vladimir+tarasenko

Here’s the NHL’s second-round playoff schedule

From the NHL:

2016 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS SECOND ROUND SCHEDULE

NEW YORK (April 27, 2016) – The National Hockey League today confirmed the schedule for the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round. In the U.S., NBC Sports Group has exclusive coverage of the Second Round. Sportsnet, CBC and TVA Sports continue exclusive coverage throughout Canada. All times listed are ET and subject to change. Future start times and television information will be released as they are determined.

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: dallas+stars, nashville+predators, new+york+islanders, pittsburgh+penguins, san+jose+sharks, st.+louis+blues, tampa+bay+lightning, washington+capitals

NHL announces start times for Games 5 of Pens-Rangers, Ducks-Preds and Blues-Hawks series

From the NHL:

START TIMES SET FOR FIRST ROUND GAMES ON SATURDAY, APRIL 23

NEW YORK (April 22, 2016) – The National Hockey League today announced the following updates to the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round schedule:

· The start time for Game 5 of the First Round series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers has been set for 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 23, in Pittsburgh. In the U.S., the game will be broadcast exclusively on NBC. In Canada, the game will be on SN360 and TVA Sports.

· The start time for Game 5 of the First Round series between the Anaheim Ducks and Nashville Predators has been set for 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT on Saturday in Anaheim. Outside of the local markets, the game will be televised on NBCSN in the U.S. In Canada, the game will be on Sportsnet and TVA Sports.

· The start time for Game 6 of the First Round series between the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks has been set for 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on Saturday in Chicago. In the U.S., the game will be broadcast exclusively on NBC. In Canada, the game will be on CBC and TVA Sports 2.

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  Tags: anaheim+ducks, chicago+blackhawks, nashville+predators, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, st.+louis+blues

Patrick Kane prolongs the Hawks-Blues series

Patrick Kane scored in double overtime to extend the Chicago Blackhawks-St. Louis BLues series to 6 games:

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  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, patrick+kane, st.+louis+blues

Andrew Shaw may have been caught uttering a slur

From the Chicago Tribune's Chris Kuc:

Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw could face discipline from the NHL for the possible use of a homophobic slur during Game 4 of the Western Conference quarterfinals Tuesday night at the United Center.

After being assessed an interference penalty late in the Blues’ 4-3 victory, Shaw was yelling at officials while seated in the penalty box and video of the incident appeared to show him using a homophobic slur.

After the game, Shaw was asked if he had used a slur.

“I mean, emotions are high, I really don’t know what’s said,” Shaw said. “I was obviously upset with the call being that late in the game (as) it doesn’t give us a chance to tie it up.”

When asked again if he used the slur, Shaw replied: “Like I just said, I can repeat myself for you. Emotions were high. I don’t know what was said. Obviously, I was upset with the call. It was late in the game like that. I wasn’t happy with the call.”

Continued, and this happened after Shaw's penalty was over:

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  Tags: andrew+shaw, chicago+blackhawks, st.+louis+blues

NHL announces start times for Games 5 of Wings-Bolts, Blues-Hawks series

From the NHL:

ADDITIONAL START TIMES SET FOR FIRST ROUND GAMES SCHEDULED FOR THURSDAY, APRIL 21


NEW YORK (April 15, 2016) – The National Hockey League today announced the following updates to the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round schedule:

·        The start time for Game 5 of the First Round series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings, if necessary, has been set for 7 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 21, in Tampa Bay.

·        The start time for Game 5 of the First Round series between the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks has been set for 9:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 21, in St. Louis.

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  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, detroit+red+wings, st.+louis+blues, tampa+bay+lightning

Alex Ovechkin scores his 50th goal

Alex Ovechkin scored his 50th goal to cap a hat trick against the St. Louis Blues:

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  Tags: alex+ovechkin, st.+louis+blues, washington+capitals

Three Stars of the Week: Tarasenko, Trocheck, Kinkaid

From the NHL:

TARASENKO, TROCHECK AND KINKAID
NAMED NHL ‘THREE STARS’ OF THE WEEK

NEW YORK (March 14, 2016) – St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko, Florida Panthers center Vincent Trocheck and New Jersey Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending March 13.

FIRST STAR – VLADIMIR TARASENKO, RW, ST. LOUIS BLUES

Tarasenko tied for the League lead with 3-3—6 in three games to power the Blues (41-20-9, 91 points) to a trio of wins and a share of first place – in terms of points – in the Central Division and Western Conference. He collected one assist in a 3-2 shootout victory against the Chicago Blackhawks March 9. Tarasenko then registered 2-1—3, his third multi-goal and fourth three-point performances of the season, in a 5-2 triumph over the Anaheim Ducks March 11. He capped the week with 1-1—2 in a 5-4 overtime win against the Dallas Stars March 12. The 24-year-old Yaroslavl, Russia, native shares fifth place in the NHL with 33 goals this season (33-28—61 in 68 GP), his second straight 30-goal campaign.

SECOND STAR – VINCENT TROCHECK, C, FLORIDA PANTHERS

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: florida+panthers, keith+kinkaid, new+jersey+devils, st.+louis+blues, vladimir+tarasenko

Garrioch: Deadline points of interest remain Winnipeg, St. Louis, New York (and Tampa Bay)

According to the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch, NHL GM's are entering the period in which they must decide whether they're going to buy to "contend" or sell at the trade deadline, which hits on February 29th this year. That's not an easy decision to make given how tight the standings have been and will continue to remain going forward.

The focal points of trade deadline interest remain the following non-Steven Stamkos players:

Winnipeg Jets: All eyes are on captain Andrew Ladd and blueliner Dustin Byfuglien. “I don’t believe they’ll both be there after the deadline,” a league executive said Friday. The talk is the Jets tabled a six-year, $6 million deal to Ladd before the season, and that somehow the deal will get done.

Nobody is quite as optimistic about Byfuglien. He has emerged as one of the best players in the league, is a difference maker, and will cash in on the UFA market in the summer. “He’s just a hell of player,” said the executive.

St. Louis Blues: We’re not talking about a franchise with an ownership group that has deep pockets. GM Doug Armstrong has apparently put talks with centre David Backes on hold and with a $4.5 million cap hit he’s going to want a big raise if he’s going to stay with the Blues.

He could fetch a lot in return but the Blues are a contender in the West and they should be looking to add, not subtract. Teams will call but Armstrong has to tread carefully here.

New York Islanders: The sense is there won’t be any deal involving defenceman Travis Hamonic, who asked for a trade a personal reasons, until the NHL entry draft in June. A league executive said: “Garth Snow isn’t going to make this deal unless he gets good value in return.”

Teams have been calling the Isles about UFA winger Kyle Okposo, and why not? You never know where Snow is concerned, but the 27-year-old has a $2.7 million cap hit. The thinking amongst teams is he won’t be going anywhere because the Islanders are in the race and want to stay there.

Garrioch continues, addressing the Canucks, Lightning and Canadiens' situations.

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  Tags: andrew+ladd, david+backes, doug+armstrong, dustin+byfuglien, garth+snow, kyle+okposo, new+york+islanders, st.+louis+blues, travis+hamonic, winnipeg+jets

Bobby Farnham suspended for 4 games

From the NHL:

New Jersey Devils forward Bobby Farnham has been suspended for four games, without pay, for interference against St. Louis Blues forward Dmitrij Jaskin during NHL game No. 636 in St. Louis on Tuesday, Jan. 12, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 11:50 of the third period. Farnham was assessed a major penalty for interference.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Farnham will forfeit $12,365.60. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

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  Tags: bobby+farnham, new+jersey+devils, st.+louis+blues

Saturday Headlines: On Drouin, Shattenkirk, Yandle and All-Star voting

According to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman and Damien Cox:

  • The Tampa Bay Lightning are looking for a young player with a comparable contract in return for Jonathan Drouin, which is why Robby Fabbri's name is making the rounds;
  • Kevin Shattenkirk's name is on the market because St. Louis was going to send him to Columbus for Ryan Johansen, and he may still be available as the Blues look to add offense;
  • Keith Yandle is probably going to be traded because the Rangers won't re-sign him as a free agent;
  • The All-Star Game may include a "quiet meeting" about expansion, but no vote by the Board of Governors;
  • Jakub Kindl is on waivers and the Red Wings are cap-crunched due to Johan Franzen's LTIR issue and Kyle Quincey's $4.25 million salary coming back on Monday, and it's 50-50 as to whether Kindl might be claimed;
  • Friedman reports that the NHL may change All-Star voting to allow fans to pick captains or issue a list of candidates from which the fans can pick All-Stars;
  • Cox states that William Nylander is on a slow but steady return process from a concussion suffered at the World Juniors;
  • And Robin Lehner should return to the Buffalo Sabres next week:

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: all-star+game, buffalo+sabres, detroit+red+wings, jakub+kindl, johan+franzen, jonathan+drouin, keith+yandle, kevin+shattenkirk, kyle+quincey, new+york+rangers, robin+lehner, st.+louis+blues, tampa+bay+lightning, toronto+maple+leafs, william+nylander

Garrioch: Drouin will be heading West

Among the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch's trade notes:

The Lightning have been shopping winger Drouin since he made his request in November but GM Steve Yzerman isn't going to give him away which is why he's still in the Tampa organization. "He's an incomplete player but he's going to be a good player," said a league executive. "It's tough on a good team trying to break in young players. With a lesser team he may get more ice time but it doesn't happen that way."

Several Eastern Conference teams -- including Montreal, Ottawa, Buffalo, New Jersey and Boston -- have made calls to Yzerman to see what the asking price is for Drouin but those teams aren't getting much in the way of a response from the Tampa camp. That's because Yzerman has no interest whatsoever in trading Drouin to an Eastern opponent and would prefer he heads somewhere West because the Bolts are convinced he'll be a regular in this league. The Ducks, Blues, Flames and Canucks are all looking for help at forward so you have to think they are in on this deal in some way, shape or form.

The asking price is believed to be a similar player or prospect in return -- a top 10 pick or a legitimate top six forward or top four defenceman. The belief is the asking price from the Blues may be 19-year-old centre Robby Fabri and the deal could be even bigger than that. About 15 teams have called but the reality is only five or six have a realistic chance.

Continued

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  Tags: jonathan+drouin, st.+louis+blues, steve+yzerman, tampa+bay+lightning

Coach’s challenge depends on video coaches

From an Insider-only entry by ESPN's Craig Custance:

As close as they are, St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock sometimes can’t help but poke fun at his friend Mike Babcock. Take, for instance, Hitchcock’s reaction when asked about Babcock winning the NHL’s first coach’s challenge on opening night.

“Babs looks like a star and he didn’t do a damn thing. He stood on the bench looking bewildered. Typical Babs,” Hitchcock said, laughing.

In Babcock’s defense, he was quick to credit assistant coach Andrew Brewer after the game, the guy Hitchcock pointed out was the true star. Brewer is a Maple Leafs coach with a background as a video coach.

“Andrew saved him. I would imagine Andrew got 29 calls today. How did he do it? What did he do? It came down quick,” Hitchcock said. “It was a sharp call and had a big impact on the game.”

When the Sharks won their goalie interference coach’s challenge against the Capitals, San Jose coach Peter DeBoer was quick to credit goalie coach Johan Hedberg and video coach Dan Darrow.

“I’m just the puppet calling the timeout,” DeBoer said to reporters. “It was a great catch.”

When the NHL’s board of governors approved the addition of a coach’s challenge to give NHL head coaches the ability to challenge goals scored following questionable goalie interference or plays that were potentially offside there were visions of guys like Babcock, DeBoer and Hitchcock throwing flags onto the ice and becoming the center of attention.

The reality has been much different. The new rule has thrust the video coaches, not the head coaches, into the spotlight.

Continued

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  Tags: ken+hitchcock, mike+babcock, pete+deboer, san+jose+sharks, st.+louis+blues, toronto+maple+leafs

Blues taking a (University of) Michigan vacation

From StLouisBlues.com's Chris Pinkert:

As the preseason wraps up with tonight’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Blues are hitting the road for a four-day team-building trip in Ann Arbor, MI.

The team will hold daily practices at the University of Michigan’s Yost Arena, but outside of that, the players will be free to relax and enjoy a short break before returning to St. Louis on Monday afternoon.

“It’s about being together and doing team activities,” said Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. “Having some team activities that we can just have fun with, along with some good stress-less practices up there, I think we’ll really enjoy it.”

Shattenkirk, who billeted with a family in Ann Arbor while representing the U.S. National Development Program, will watch the Wolverine’s ice hockey team on Sunday evening. His billet family’s son, Niko Porikos, wears No. 22 for the Wolverines.

Other plans include a little fly-fishing for goalies Jake Allen and Brian Elliott and a behind-the-scenes tour of the Big House for the coaching staff.

Continued

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  Tags: brian+elliott, jake+allen, kevin+shattenkirk, st.+louis+blues

Brodeur happy in St. Louis

Via the Newark Star-Ledger's Rich Chere, St. Louis Blues assistant GM Martin Brodeur had some interesting things to say to NHL.com's Arpon Basu regarding Lou Lamoriello leaving the Devils for Toronto, as well as Brodeur's own post-hockey career path:

Though he admits he hesitated about the decision to join the Blues on a more permanent basis because he wanted to return to work for the Devils, in retrospect he said he's happy with his decision.

"[The Blues] offered me the job, and I had to think about it a little bit," Brodeur said. "I would have liked to go back to New Jersey, so it took some time for me to make my decision. But for me to go back there after everything that's happened in New Jersey lately, I think I made the right move."

Brodeur said he did have an offer to work for the Devils, but it was not in a front office role and he preferred the offer from the Blues. In any case, with the changing of the guard under Shero, Brodeur feels less of an attachment to the Devils, who he played for 21 of his 22 NHL seasons.

"There's nothing bad that happened with the Devils, at least from my side of things anyway," Brodeur said. "With all the new faces over there, for me to walk into the arena in New Jersey now would be like walking into any team's arena for me because everyone is gone. It would be as if I was joining Pittsburgh instead."

Continued

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  Tags: lou+lamoriello, martin+brodeur, new+jersey+devils, ray+shero, st.+louis+blues

Blues extend Jori Lehtera

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  Tags: st.+louis+blues

Saturday Headlines discuss coaches’ moves and Dubnyk

On Hockey Night in Canada, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman discussed the post-Babcock coaching dominoes (Todd Nelson of Edmonton "free to look around," Don Sweeney meeting with Claude Julien to discuss "personnel and style of play," Dan Bylsma's status, Ken Hitchcock's future) and Devan Dubnyk's desire to re-sign with the Wild:

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  Tags: boston+bruins, claude+julien, devan+dubnyk, don+sweeney, edmonton+oilers, ken+hitchcock, minnesota+wild, st.+louis+blues, todd+nelson

On Al Arbour and his St. Louis legacy

These kinds of articles are so superb that you can only begin at the beginning, and this one from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Dan O'Neill is a helluva read:

The way Scotty Bowman sees it, three components turned the St. Louis Blues into Stanley Cup finalists during their first three seasons. One was goaltender Glenn Hall. One was a trade to acquire Red Berenson and Barclay Plager.

And one was Al Arbour.

“He was the toughest competitor, most courageous player I ever coached,” Bowman said. “He was the guy all the young players looked up to.”

Alger Arbour now leans on every bit of that resilience and fortitude. He is being treated for Parkinson’s disease and dementia near his home in Sarasota, Fla. He has difficulty with balance, with recollection and with words. He is in hospice care. The prognosis is dire.

But you can count on one thing. Arbour will battle, as he did as a defenseman for the Blues, as he did throughout a career in which he has been with teams that won the Stanley Cup eight times, representing four cities. The fact one of those locations isn’t St. Louis is a pockmark on a franchise that is without a championship 48 seasons into its existence.

Continued...

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  Tags: al+arbour, scotty+bowman, st.+louis+blues

Garrioch discusses the Coyotes, Fisher and the Blues’ Hitch-up

Of the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch's numerous Sunday hockey notes, these struck me as the most interesting and intriguing:

You have to wonder about the future of the Arizona Coyotes when the five-year out clause expires. The owners group already have piled up $34 million in losses and $50 million in four years is the point where the club can exercise a move. No, this news isn't stunning, but it's no wonder Andrew Barroway, who took over the Coyotes in January, pushed for a rebuild.

The Predators already have opened talks with UFA C Mike Fisher and he likely isn't going anywhere, but if he does go to market he's going to have something to think about. "There'd be strong offers for him," said a league executive Friday. Not only is Fisher hard-nosed, he's got good offensive skills and can help a team win. Turns out he has been an excellent fit in the West since being dealt to Nashville by the Senators but even if Fisher gets to free agency there's not much chance he's leaving the Predators.

St. Louis could be a hotspot in the off-season if they don't get past the first round. The Blues are on a collision course to face the Chicago Blackhawks and that never has turned out very well in the past. Coach Ken Hitchcock has done an excellent job, however, he has to start getting results in the post-season. If he doesn't, then it's quite possible there could be a change behind the bench.

Garrioch continues, discussing Nazem Kadri, the Sharks, Ted Nolan and the Devils...

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  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, ken+hitchcock, mike+fisher, nashville+predators, phoenix+coyotes, st.+louis+blues

Garrioch talks Yandle, Sharp and the Blues

The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch's second-to-last trade column of the pre-deadline season dovetails nicely with Sportsnet's Cox and Friedman's Headlines and the Columbus Dispatch's Aaron Portzline's most recent Tweets about the Bruins having interest in Cam Atkinson. So:

Talks have heated up for Arizona defenceman Keith Yandle because teams see the possibility they can have him for two playoff runs before he becomes a UFA. There’s a belief the Detroit Red Wings, who have been looking for a blueliner all year, are making a hard push on Yandle because he fits the bill to what they’re looking at ... Don’t scoff at those rumours about Chicago centre Patrick Sharp being available. Sure, they’ve been denied in the past, but teams are certainly talking about him and there’s a belief the Capitals are the ones pushing the buttons of Hawks’ GM Stan Bowman to see if they can entice him to make a deal. Sharp’s name is out there. A Sharp deal might make sense in the summer, especially with Patrick Kane gone for three months, but if the Hawks are listening they’re going to have plenty of interest. Sharp would be the kind of guy Ottawa GM Bryan Murray would show interest because he fits the bill of what the Senators want in a top-six forward.

...

St. Louis GM Doug Armstrong is in the category where he’d like to do something before the deadline. It might not be anything major, but the Blues wouldn’t mind adding some forward depth. He made a tour through the New York area last week which had people buzzing. While there are still those who wonder about the club’s goaltending, it appears St. Louis will go into the playoffs with Brian Elliott and give him the chance to prove himself last year after the experiment to get Ryan Miller didn’t work last year. Make no mistake, there’s a lot of pressure and expectations on Armstrong to get past the first round this spring and that’s why the name of centre Patrik Berglund is out there. The issue is he has two years left at $3.7 million and teams aren’t big on term.

Garrioch continues, discussing Curtis Glencross, Atkinson, Erik Cole and the Senators' blueliners...

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  Tags: brian+elliott, bryan+murray, chicago+blackhawks, detroit+red+wings, doug+armstrong, keith+yandle, ottawa+senators, patrick+kane, patrick+sharp, phoenix+coyotes, ryan+miller, st.+louis+blues, stan+bowman

Pre-trade deadline ‘headlines’ from Cox and Friedman

added 9:31pm, Watch the segment below...


Two days prior to the trade deadline, Sportsnet's Damien Cox and Elliotte Friedman dished trade-related "headlines" during the 2nd intermission of Hockey Night in Canada's Saturday broadcast.

Cox stated that the Maple Leafs may be the most active team at the deadline. They're listening to offers for Jonathan Bernier, emphasis on "listening," but there are teams like San Jose, Dallas perhaps (given that Kari Lehtonen continues to struggle); Olli Jokinen, Korbinian Holzer and David Booth are also possible moves.

Cox wondered whether the Maple Leafs would trade Joffrey Lupul to the Habs, and there is only "very lukewarm interest" there, and the Clarkson deal was going to be more complicated, but the Blue Jackets and Leafs were unable to consummate a larger deal, so they swapped Horton for Clarkson.

According to Friedman, Patrick Sharp was not asked for a list of 10 teams to which he would accept a trade within 48 hours of the trade deadline, and because that list wasn't asked for before 3 PM on Saturday, he's going nowhere; he also reports that Mats Zuccarello and the Rangers are at contract loggerheads, and the Rangers offered 6 years at $4.5 million on average, so he's being shopped, but the Rangers are not allowing would-be suitors to discuss a contract with Zuccarello before making trade offers;

Jeff Petry's not playing tonight for Edmonton and Montreal, Anaheim and St. Louis have been rumored; Friedman wonders if the Blues have considered moving Vladimir Sobotka to help the team despite Sobotka's status as a KHL'er;

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  Tags: antoine+vermette, buffalo+sabres, calgary+flames, chicago+blackhawks, chris+stewart, columbus+blue+jackets, curtis+glencross, david+booth, david+clarkson, edmonton+oilers, jeff+petry, joffrey+lupul, jonathan+bernier, keith+yandle, korbinian+holzer, mark+pysyk, mats+zuccarello, nathan+horton, new+york+rangers, olli+jokinen, patrick+sharp, phoenix+coyotes, st.+louis+blues, ted+nolan, tim+murray, toronto+maple+leafs, vladimir+sobotka

Cox, Friedman dish NCAA-to-CHL rumors, diving chatter, trade talk and more

This Saturday, Damien Cox and Elliotte Friedman got six minutes' worth of time to discuss hockey headlines, and they stated that:

  • Boston University forward and top 2015 draft prospect Jack Eichel may or may not bolt from NCAA hockey to join a Canadian Hockey League team, with the Saint John Sea Dogs owning his rights. Cox points out that Charlie Coyle, Adam Tambellini and Sonny Milano have all committed to NCAA teams and then joined CHL teams instead, so it is possible that Eichel may be on the move after he plays for Team USA at the World Junior Championships--and BC goalie Thatcher Demko might also exit stage CHL;

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  Tags: boston+bruins, dallas+eakins, doug+armstrong, edmonton+oilers, jack+eichel, james+neal, mike+fisher, nashville+predators, reilly+smith, st.+louis+blues, tj+oshie, torey+krug, toronto+maple+leafs

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:

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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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