Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google
 
SHARE
Posted On Tuesday, 01.03.2012 / 2:04 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Blues, Coyotes

ST. LOUIS -- The probable lineups for tonight's game between the Blues and Coyotes from Scottrade Center:

BLUES
David Perron - David Backes - Chris Stewart
Matt D'Agostini - Patrik Berglund - T.J. Oshie
Vladimir Sobotka - Jason Arnott - Jamie Langenbrunner
Chris Porter - Scott Nichol - B.J. Crombeen

Carlo Colaiacovo - Alex Pietrangelo
Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk
Cade Fairchild - Roman Polak

Jaroslav Halak
Brian Elliott

Halak is 6-2-2 with a 2.08 GAA at the Scottrade Center after making 33 saves in a 2-1 shootout loss to Nashville on Friday.

The Blues will scratch winger Evgeny Grachev tonight. On injured reserve are forward Andy McDonald (concussion), winger Alex Steen (concussion-related symptoms), winger Ryan Reaves (hip), and defenseman Kent Huskins (ankle). Defenseman Ian Cole will begin his three-game suspension tonight. He will also miss games Thursday against Edmonton and Saturday against Colorado.

COYOTES

Ray Whitney - Daymond Langkow - Shane Doan
Lauri Korpikoski - Cal O'Reilly - Radim Vrbata
Taylor Pyatt - Patrick O'Sullivan - Mikkel Boedker
Marc-Antoine Pouliot - Kyle Chipchura - Paul Bissonnette

Keith Yandle - Adrian Aucoin
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Michal Rozsival
Rostislav Klesla - David Schlemko

Jason LaBarbera
Mike Smith

Top goalie Mike Smith (groin) has been skating since Sunday and was activated off injured reserve prior to tonight's game. Curtis McElhinney was reassigned to AHL Portland.

The Coyotes will be without forward Raffi Torres, who was suspended two games without pay Monday for charging Wild defenseman Nate Prosser on Saturday. Also missing because of injuries are center Martin Hanzal (upper body), forward Boyd Gordon (lower body). Defenseman David Rundblad, acquired from Ottawa in the Kyle Turris trade and a former first-round pick of the Blues, will be a healthy scratch.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Friday, 12.30.2011 / 3:38 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Predators-Blues probable lineups

The probable lineups for tonight's Nashville Predators game at St. Louis Blues:

Blues

David Perron - David Backes - Chris Stewart

Evgeny Grachev - Patrik Berglund - T.J. Oshie

Matt D'Agostini - Jason Arnott - Jamie Langenbrunner

Vladimir Sobotka - Scott Nichol - B.J. Crombeen

Carlo Colaiacovo - Alex Pietrangelo

Barret Jackman - Roman Polak

Ian Cole - Kevin Shattenkirk

Jaroslav Halak

Brian Elliott

The Blues are without Alex Steen (concussion-like symptoms), Andy McDonald (concussion), defensemen Kent Huskins (ankle) and Kris Russell (groin), along with winger Ryan Reaves (hip). The likely scratches for tonight would be Adam Cracknell and Chris Porter, although Grachev could be scratched in favor of Porter. Blues coach Ken Hitchcock was unsure this morning.
Predators

Martin Erat-David Legwand-Craig Smith

Sergei Kostitsyn-Mike Fisher-Patric Hornqvist

Colin WIlson-Nick Spaling-Jordin Tootoo

Gabriel Bourque-Jerred Smithson-Matt Halischuk

Ryan Suter-Roman Josi

Francis Bouillon-Jonathon Blum

Jack Hillen-Ryan Ellis

Pekka Rinne

Anders Lindback

Defenseman Kevin Klein (flu) will miss tonight's game. They will scratch winger Brian McGratton.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Friday, 12.30.2011 / 3:35 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Preds trying to survive without Weber

The Predators, who have won both meetings against the Blues this season, are also dealing with the concussion issue with top d-man Shea Weber, who will miss his third straight game FRiday night with a concussion suffered Dec. 23 at Dallas.

Weber who is among the NHL leaders in ice time per game at 26:20 and the Predators are making due with what they have, trying to patch together Weber's production.

"You can't replace those elite players," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "You just have to do it as a group. Sometimes, one of the best things that can happen from a team coming together is the fact that top guys are out. It's not that I want Shea out at all.

"Everybody's going to have to pitch in. You can't replace the quality 28, 29 minutes he plays a night."

Guys like Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis and even Jack Hillen hope to fill some of gaps Weber, who has 29 points in 35 games, leaves.

"It's not a cliche ... you just don't go out there and replace a Shea Weber," Hillen said. "Each one of us does something individually and we have to fill that void as a group.

"If I try to be Shea Weber, I might look like an idiot. We just have to stay within ourselves."

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Friday, 12.30.2011 / 3:32 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

McDonald making progress

Andy McDonald took part in the morning skate Friday with his teammates for the first time since making his first appearance on the ice on Dec. 23.

McDonald continues to recover from the concussion suffered in the third game of the season at Dallas on Oct. 13.

"I'm feeling really good and happy to be back on the ice," said McDonald, who is wearing a red no-contact jersey. "I was feeling good off the ice doing the workouts (and) riding the bike. Just in general, I was feeling good and feeling motivated. This is the next step to be able to get on the ice, to be able to function in practice and do all the things you have to be able to do on the ice. It's one thing to be able to get on the bike and do a workout in the gym, but to be able to perform on the ice is the next step that I have to get to."

This concussion for McDonald, the sixth one suffered during his playing career, nearly put him out of the game for good.

"Probably the first week or two I was out, I thought that I was probably done for good," McDonald said. "With the way I felt, there was just no way that I would ... with my history and with the way I felt at the time, there would be no way that I would come back. But I've had a pretty good turnaround and I'm feeling really good, but also I'm still not 100 percent. That'll be the key. I've had so many of them that I want to be 10 percent when I come back. I just can't put myself at risk for another one and certainly not being 100 percent, I'm going to rely on myself for that."

McDonald said he's at 90-95 percent as far as his health is concerned but has placed no timetable on a return. He's been headache-free but still feels a bit foggy at times.

"There's some certain things and certain levels that I need to get to," McDonald said. "I passed the neuro-psyche (testing), so it's cleared from that regard. I've done the bike and stuff like that. I felt pretty good, so the next level's to get into a regular practice to get this red practice jersey off.

"This one has been different symptoms. I've reacted in a different way. There doesn't seem to be a pattern. I don't really know why that it is, but they're all different."

Hitchcock has cvhatted with MacDonald, but he won't start planning lineup changes until the winger changes the color of his jersey.

"It's kind of like two ships passing: Hello, how are you, fine, I'll see you when you get out of the red sweater," Hitchcock said. "That's the way we're dealing with it.

"There's no point in even having an update. When the color of the sweater changes, boy we can really get into it. But it's not a lot different than David Perron or even B.J. Crombeen. When the sweater's red, there's no point in even having a meeting about it until the color changes. ... It's nice to see him around, nice to see him being a part of it. But as long as you're in a red sweater, you're kind of a non-subject matter with everybody."
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Friday, 12.30.2011 / 3:18 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Steen out for Blues, three others return

ST. LOUIS -- Concussions continue to take their toll on the St. Louis Blues.

David Perron to Andy McDonald to Carlo Colaiacovo all have dealt with head injuries in the past year and have made recoveries. McDonald, though, is in the process of dealing with yet another concussion.

Alex Steen's name may be added to the list.

Steen will not play Friday night when the Blues (21-11-4) host the Nashville Predators (19-14-1) because of what coach Ken Hitchcock called "concussion-like symptoms" believed to have been suffered Monday when the Blues hosted Dallas.

Steen, who is tied for the team lead in points (with David Backes) with 24, played Tuesday in Detroit and skated Thursday at practice, but Hitchcock said Steen didn't feel right and the team is holding him out Friday and likely Saturday night in Detroit before giving a further update.

"Looks like in the Dallas game, there was a hit in the Dallas game," Hitchcock said. "He didn't feel right after practice yesterday. We'll just hold him out ... it's day to day or what it is. Right now, he can't play today."

It would be the first concussion suffered in Steen's career if he has one.

"We'll let you know in a couple days on Steener how things are going there," Hitchcock said. "... We'll give you an update in a day or two.

"We're erring on the side of caution and we'll see in a day or two. It might be nothing and away we go, but you want to be safe."

While the Blues will suddenly be subtracting Steen from the lineup, they will be adding T.J. Oshie (wrist), Jamie Langenbrunner (flu) and Vladimir Sobotka (ankle) back into the lineup Friday night.

All three skated Friday morning and were deemed fit to go by Hitchcock, although Langenbrunner was declared fit Thursday after missing two games.

Oshie also missed two games after injuring his left wrist a week ago in Phoenix, while Sobotka has missed seven games after taking a puck off his ankle during a practice Dec. 12.

"Both guys are in, good to go," Hitchcock said of Oshie and Sobotka. "Both feel good enough to play. Both guys felt a lot better today after yesterday's practice. That's a good sign.

"Lags is back to normal. Three guys in and one guy down, so that's good."

Although Hitchcock was unsure of Friday night's lineup, it's likely that Adam Cracknell will be the one that goes to the press box as a healthy scratch.

Cracknell was recalled in time for Monday's game against Dallas.

"With those three guys in, that adds to our roster up front for sure," Hitchcock said. "We'll have to get somebody to replace Steen on that big line. I'm not 100 percent sure which way we're going to go yet.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Sunday, 12.18.2011 / 2:15 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Potential Lineups for Blue Jackets-Blues

ST. LOUIS -- Neither the St. Louis Blues nor Columbus Blue Jackets skated Sunday morning in preparation for today's 7 p.m. (EST) game at Scottrade Center.

Both teams played Saturday night. The Blues (18-9-4) fell 2-1 in a shootout at Nashville, a place in which coach Ken Hitchcock hasn't won since a 2-1 win on Feb. 13, 2001 while coach of the Dallas Stars. He's now 0-10-6-1 in his last 17 games coaching at Bridgestone Arena. He's since been with Philadelphia, Columbus and now St. Louis and hasn't had any success in that building.

The Jackets (9-19-4) just wrapped up a discouraging five-game homestand with a 1-3-1 mark after a 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay.

It'll be the second meeting of the season between the Central Division rivals, with the Blues winning 2-1 on Nov. 27 at Nationwide Arena on a David Backes third-period power play goal. It snapped a 1-1 tie.

The game marks the return of Jackets defenseman Nikita Nikitin to St. Louis for the first time since the Nov. 11 trade that sent Nikitin to Columbus for fellow defenseman Kris Russell.

The Blues could miss Jason Arnott (flu) for a second consecutive game after the veteran center missed Saturday's game.

- - -

No major changes are expected by either team in their respective lineups tonight. The Blues will likely go with Saturday's lineup if Arnott is not ready to go:

Alex Steen - David Backes - T.J. Oshie

David Perron - Patrik Berglund - Chris Stewart

Matt D'Agostini - Jason Arnott - Jamie Langenbrunner

Chris Porter - Scott Nichol - Ryan Reaves

Carlo Colaiacovo - Alex Pietrangelo

Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk

Kris Russell - Roman Polak

Jaroslav Halak

Brian Elliott

Halak is expected to get the start again after stopping 19 shots in the shootout loss Saturday night. If Arnott returns, Grachev is expected to be a healthy scratch, along with defenseman Ian Cole. If Arnott sits, Evgeny Grachev will slide onto the team's fourth line with Nichol and Reaves; Porter would be elevated to third line with D'Agostini and Langenbrunner. Players on injured reserve for the Blues include winger Andy McDonald (concussion), winger B.J. Crombeen (shoulder), center Vladimir Sobotka (ankle) and defenseman Kent Huskins (ankle).

- - -

The Jackets, who are 1-13-2 when allowing the first goal in a game and have only won 12 of their last 54 games dating back to last season (only seven of them in regulation), are expected to go with the lineup they used Saturday:

Vinny Prospal - Jeff Carter - Rick Nash

Antoine Vermette - Derick Brassard - Mark Letestu

R.J. Umberger - Samuel Pahlsson - Derek Dorsett

Jared Boll - Derek MacKenzie - Ryan Johansen

Marc Methot - James Wisniewski

Fedor Tyutin - Nikita Nikitin

John Moore - Grant Clitsome

Curtis Sanford

Steve Mason

Sanford, a former Blue, is expected to get the start; Steve Mason stopped 25 shots in the loss to the Lightning Saturday.

The Jackets are expected to scratch defenseman Aaron Johnson and left winger Dane Byers. Left winger Kristian Huselius is out indefinitely with a groin injury and defenseman Radek Martinek is out with a concussion.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 12.15.2011 / 2:26 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Blues dodge bullet on D'Agostini hit

ST. LOUIS -- Matt D'Agostini was back at practice Wednesday after leaving Saturday's 1-0 win over San Jose, a game in which the winger left the game after a blue-line hit from the Sharks' Jamie McGinn.

D'Agostini, who called it a good, clean hit, skated for about 30 minutes on the team's off-day Tuesday, resumed working with them Wednesday and will play tonight against the Rangers after taking part in the morning skate.

With the rash of concussions to players in recent weeks, the Blues feel like they may have dodged a bullet.

"I felt very symptom-free the last couple days," D'Agostini said. "They take a lot of precautions nowadays with the way the head injuries have been. Understandably so, but I've been feeling good and felt good out at practice today.

"It just kind of gave me a little whiplash kind of effect, kind of a stiff neck and everything, but the head was fine. They just wanted to make sure nothing more came of it."

------------

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said Vladimir Sobotka, who was placed on injured reserve Tuesday, was feeling a lot better Wednesday after injuring his left ankle at Monday's practice when he blocked a shot from teammate Alex Steen during a drill. The Blues have said they will re-evaluate Sobotka in two weeks.

Sobotka was still in a walking boot and walking with crutches Wednesday, and Hitchcock said he'll remain in the boot until at least the swelling subsides so the team can have a better idea of what they're dealing with.

"Sobe feels a lot better today, so that's good news," Hitchcock said. "When you get that type of injury, if he's showing the improvement he is, that's a good sign. He was a lot better today than he was even yesterday. I don't think we're going to be much further than the two-week window if he keeps improving."

------------

Evgeny Grachev, recalled from Peoria on Tuesday to replace Sobotka on the active roster, is expected to get into the lineup in at least one of the next three games, according to Hitchcock. The Blues coach liked the role Grachev, who was acquired at the NHL Entry Draft from the Rangers for a third-round pick, played during his three games with the Rivermen.

"One of the things intriguing to me about Grachev is he went down and played a different role down there," Hitchcock said of Grachev, who was pointless in three games with Peoria while picking up 2 assists in 17 games with the Blues earlier this season. "Probably the role he's going to end up playing in the NHL. He got into the 5-on-5, PK, playing against the top lines roll down there, and he was very successful. I think it gives us more of an indication that we might be able to get our hands on a good third-line player over time rather than a scoring forward."

------------

The Blues will go with red-hot Brian Elliott (12-2 with an NHL-best 1.45 goals-against average and .947 save percentage and tied with LA's Jonathan Quick with four shutouts) against the Rangers. But Hitchcock said Jaroslav Halak, who is has a 1.66 GAA and .936 save percentage over his last nine starts, will go for the Blues on Saturday in Nashville as well as Sunday against Columbus.

------------

Both Hitchcock and Rangers coach John Tortorella dissected the game and offered that much will not be conceded tonight between the Nos. 2 and 3 teams in the NHL as far as goals-against per game average.

The Blues, who come in second at No. 2, know the challenge that they face.

"They're hard on the puck. They compete every shift," Hitchcock said of the Rangers. "They don't take a shift off. They don't take a puck battle off. I told our players today they're arguably the best 3-on-3 team in both zones that we're going to play against. They close on you fast. They hang onto it in the offensive zone. That's a challenge."

Tortorella, whose team is coming off a 1-0 loss to Dallas Tuesday, sees a similar type of opponent tonight.

"Dallas was very structured and the same thing tonight, St. Louis is going to be a very structured, defensive-oriented team," Tortorella said. "We just have to stay within ourselves and not make a big mistake and where it's in our net."

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 12.15.2011 / 2:24 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Blues, Rangers

Here's how the lineups could look tonight when the New York Rangers visit the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center:

BLUES
Alex Steen - David Backes - T.J. Oshie
David Perron - Patrik Berglund - Chris Stewart
Matt D'Agostini - Jason Arnott - Jamie Langenbrunner
Chris Porter - Scott Nichol - Ryan Reaves

Carlo Colaiacovo - Alex Pietrangelo
Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk
Kris Russell - Roman Polak

Brian Elliott
Jaroslav Halak

Scratches for the Blues include winger Evgeny Grachev and defenseman Ian Cole. Center Vladimir Sobotka (ankle), left winger Andy McDonald (concussion), defenseman Kent Huskins (ankle) and right winger B.J. Crombeen (shoulder) are on injured reserve.

RANGERS
Ruslan Fedotenko - Brad Richards - Ryan Callahan
Artem Anisimov - Derek Stepan - Marian Gaborik
Carl Hagelin - Brian Boyle - John Mitchell
Brandon Dubinsky - Erik Christensen - Brandon Prust

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Michael Del Zotto - Steve Eminger
Jeff Woywitka - Anton Stralman

Henrik Lundqvist
Martin Biron

Rangers scratches include defenseman Tim Erixon and winger Sean Avery. Forward Mike Rupp (knee), defenseman Michael Sauer (concussion), defenseman Mark Staal (concussion) and left winger Wojtek Wolski (groin) are out with injuries.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 12.15.2011 / 2:24 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Rave reviews from Rangers, Blues for '24/7'

ST. LOUIS -- When St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo got his first glimpse of HBO's "24/7 Flyers-Rangers: Road to the 2012 Winter Classic" on Wednesday night, it was perfect timing. He saw close friend and New York Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto crashing into the boards.

It was human nature for Pietrangelo to call his close friend and pass along some text messages after what he heard next.

"Quite a few," Pietrangelo said of the messages he passed. "I told him at the end of the night I couldn't wait to see it. I know his personality and I couldn't wait to see what it was going to be like. The first thing I see is him crashing into the boards and throwing out a few swear words. That was pretty entertaining."

The general consensus around the locker rooms of the Blues and Rangers, who square off tonight here at Scottrade Center, was that the first episode depicting the lives and daily routines of the players and coaches from the teams into the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 2 was a success.

"We were really excited about it," Rangers center Brian Boyle said. "I don't think I've been that excited for something like that. That was pretty awesome."

Rangers coach John Tortorella was not as forthcoming. He was more focused on his opponent for tonight.

"I'm going to tell you right now, I'm not going to have a running comment on the show," Tortorella said. "We have a game to play here. I respect what (HBO is) doing. We're all-in with them, but I'm not going to get into conversations about it."

Some of the highlighted points of emphasis, from the Rangers' point of view, were forward Artem Anisimov's controversial goal celebration from last week's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning and the aftermath, of him sitting in the locker room as he waits for his teammates to return, and then apologizing after the game.

Teammate Sean Avery was the first to enter the locker room and only smiled. Other teammates had their own remarks.

"When (Avery) came into the room first and it was all quiet, that was funny," Boyle said.

Another memorable moment was the touching scene between captain Ryan Callahan and his 95-year-old grandmother following a game against the Buffalo Sabres, played just 70 miles from Callahan's hometown of Rochester, N.Y.

"The goal was to kind of see it on TV," Boyle said. "Yeah, we do live it every day, but how they portray it, I thought they did a great job. It's going to be something cool to see again down the road."

Many of the Blues players saw it and were impressed with the production.

"HBO does an unbelievable job," Pietrangelo said. "Everybody in here who watches it is a huge fan of it. All of those '24/7's, even with the boxing, they do a tremendous job and it's always fun to watch.

"They know how to balance the family side of things and hockey side of things. People want to see the other side of the players, too, and that's what they're there for. ... A lot of people don't get to see what we're like in the room or away from the rink. I think it's good for the game. People get a different perspective about our game."

Added defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who is friends with Rangers Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh: "I think it's great. For us, we're used to it as players. We know, obviously, the lives of hockey players, but I think it's pretty eye-opening to a lot of people when I talked to friends at home that they're amazed at the type of guys hockey players are, what goes on in the locker room. I enjoy watching 'Hard Knocks,' and that type of stuff, too. To get a glimpse into our world, I think people enjoy it. HBO does a great job of it."

With cameras following the Rangers around for three more episodes, the Blues weren't looking for the bright lights themselves. They're just looking to be momentary spoilers.

"I'm not really a big camera guy, but hopefully we can kind of ruin the show for them for a game," said Blues forward T.J. Oshie. "But it was awesome. It's great for the game. I think the Winter Classic's really great for the NHL. It gives you an inside look at kind of how close of a family our teams are and how fun it is to play hockey in the NHL."
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Saturday, 12.10.2011 / 2:56 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Shattenkirk returns for Blues, projected lineups

The Blues will welcome defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk back to the lineup tonight after missing Thursday's game with a bout of the flu.

Shattenkirk became ill suddenly and did not dress for the 4-2 win against Anaheim. Ian Cole stepped in and contributed his second career two-point game (one goal, one assist).

"Everything is good to go," Shattenkirk said Saturday morning. "I felt pretty much back to 100 percent this morning. I finally was able to keep some food down yesterday. ... I skated yesterday for a little bit just to make sure my stomach was settled. I hadn't really eaten much so I didn't have much energy. This morning I felt like I was back.
 
"It was definitely great seeing the team do well on Thursday. Obviously Ian [filled] in and doing a great job. You're just sitting in bed watching and it's a tough way to watch a game, especially not even being at the rink. It was something where I was giving some fist pumps in bed, but for the most part, just lying around."

Shattenkirk will play alongside Kris Russell, with Barret Jackman and Roman Polak getting back together.

"When there's a definitive matchup, we put Polak and Jackman together," Hitchcock said. "They play well together when there's a good central focus. Obviously Russell and Shattenkirk, they've had a good plus-minus. Russ has been really good since he's (been) here. They're a threat. They're a threat to get up the ice, they're a threat in the offensive zone and Shattenkirk's got the weight and size to play against bigger players, too. There seems to be a lot of bigger players on the other team today. We'll get a challenge back there, but I like the way Russell and Shattenkirk's played together."

Cole will become a healthy scratch again despite the solid outing Thursday.

"Based on his last game, Cole doesn't deserve to sit out," Hitchcock said. "But numbers are numbers and he's a young guy that's going to get his chance. He's an improving player. He's got a better focus at practice and he's improving on a daily basis. If he continues down this path, he's going to put a lot of pressure on people to stay in the lineup because he was very good the last game. If he can continue upgrading from there and continues to stay consistent, he's going to put a lot of heat on people."

Added Shattenkirk: "Ian's at a point now where he's pretty settled in and comfortable at this level. I think it showed the other night he's not someone who's going to go out there and try to make simple plays. He's going to go out there and try to be effective for the team. I think we all know we can count on him in those situations."

Hitchcock also is juggling the forward lines a bit, as he's elevating Jamie Langenbrunner to the second line with Patrik Berglund and David Perron while dropping Chris Stewart to Vladimir Sobotka's line with Ryan Reaves.
"Hopefully, we can get a better three-line game going," Hitchcock said. "For us, Sobe operates better when he's playing with physicality. We'll get big, physical play there and hopefully give Sobe some room."

As for Langenbrunner, who had two assists Thursday, Hitchcock is impressed with the veteran.

"Langs has played unbelievable the last three games," Hitchcock said. "Gotta reward good play – the Berglund line didn't have a great game last game, so we need that line to be better. If we're going to get going ... we talked about secondary scoring, we're getting third scoring because we're getting guys that come in the lineup scoring goals. We need people here all the time to start becoming productive if we're going to get to the next level. We're looking for combinations that can help get that second wave scoring. If Langs can go up there and continue his good play and impact Bergy's line, then that's going to help us."

The Sharks come in with one of the better road records in the league at 7-3-0, and according to winger Patrick Marleau, there's no secret recipe to the success.

"Keeping it simple and making sure that you're ready right from the bat," Marleau said. "Usually teams come out hard at home the first 10 minutes or so. You have to be ready for that. You have to weather the storm and get your game going in those 10 minutes."

BLUES

Alex Steen - David Backes - T.J. Oshie
David Perron - Patrik Berglund - Jamie Langenbrunner
Matt D'Agostini - Jason Arnott - Scott Nichol
Ryan Reaves - Vladimir Sobotka - Chris Stewart

Carlo Colaiacovo - Alex Pietrangelo
Barret Jackman - Roman Polak
Kris Russell-Kevin Shattenkirk

Brian Elliott
Jaroslav Halak

Defenseman Ian Cole and winger Chris Porter, who scored Thursday, are healthy scratches. The Blues are without forward Andy McDonald (concussion), winger B.J. Crombeen (shoulder) and defenseman Kent Huskins (ankle).

SHARKS

Ryane Clowe - Logan Couture - Martin Havlat
Jamie McGinn - Joe Thornton - Brad Winchester
Patrick Marleau - Michal Handzus - Joe Pavelski
Frazer McLaren - Andrew Desjardins - Torrey Mitchell

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Dan Boyle
Brent Burns - Jason Demers
Colin White - Justin Braun
Antti Niemi
Thomas Greiss

Center Andrew Murray is expected to be the healthy scratch. Coach Todd McClellan could swap Murray for McLaren. Defensemen Douglas Murray and Jim Vandermeer are both nursing upper-body injuries. Goalie Antero Niittymaki (hip) is still on injured reserve but is very close to being activated.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
First | Prev | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | Next | Last
Quote of the Day

My focus is always just to play as well as I can and do my job, no matter where the faceoff is.

— New York Rangers forward Carl Hagelin on using his speed to his advantage
Winter Classic sweepstakes