Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google
 
SHARE
Posted On Thursday, 02.16.2012 / 3:12 PM

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

Reasoner, Weight looking forward to facing Blues

ST. LOUIS -- When No. 16 of the Islanders steps out onto the ice tonight, there may not be many Blues fans that remember, but Marty Reasoner was the franchise's No. 1 pick (No. 14) way back in the 1996 Entry Draft.

Reasoner, who played parts of three seasons with the Blues totaling 95 games (17 goals, 30 assists), is on his sixth franchise after signing a one-year deal to play on Long Island this past summer.

"It's a story of survival, trying to hang on," Reasoner said. "When I came in coming out of college, I was scoring a lot of points. I was an offensive guy. Even here, I was put in that role a little bit on and off. I had short spurts of success. It was definitely a big learning experience, learning to become a pro and how to play. It's that evolution of a player: you start out one way and you get chewed up and spit out totally different. I look at myself now and that was like I was a different person."

Reasoner credited current Blues director of hockey operations Al MacInnis and team color analyst Kelly Chase as being most influential on his career, and mentioned players like current assistant coach Scott Mellanby, Pierre Turgeon and Scott Young as players he enjoyed here.

"Starting as a young guy, it was an exciting time," Reasoner said. "We had some pretty good teams and some pretty good memories. I learned a lot as a player. At times it seems like a long time, but other times it seems like it was yesterday. It was definitely a fun time, and it's good to see this organization come full circle and back to its winning ways. It's definitely a great sports town.

"There's a lot of range of emotions as far as it being your first team, good memories. It's definitely a special place. It's always fun to come back and play and relive old times. There's not much of that team left. There's been a lot of turnover. I don't know if that's just me being around too long, or there's been that much turnover. It was definitely a great time, played with some great players and learned a lot from some very good players in this League."

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

Sticking with the Blues reunion theme, current Islanders senior advisor to the general manager and assistant coach Doug Weight is back in St. Louis as well.

Weight, who spent parts of six seasons and two stints with the Blues, playing in 364 of his 1,238 games (75 goals, 220 assists), retired after the 2010-11 season, his 19th in the game.

"It's been fun, it's been educational, and I've learned a lot in helping (general manager) Garth (Snow) on the managerial side and certainly being on the bench. These coaches have been good to me, and it's been very educational," Weight said. "To be around the game, and what we're trying to build here, it's exhilarating. It's never going to feel like when you're walking out of the tunnel, going on the ice and competing, but certainly the next best thing."

Weight was traded twice by the Blues, once to Carolina near the trade deadline in 2006 before resigning here in the offseason, and again in 2007 to Anaheim, netting the Blues Andy McDonald.

"They seemed to have found their ground and the way they have to play," Weight said of the Blues. "Of course they've had some great goaltending and that's been a key for them. But they're battling and they're committed ... it's going to be great to see the fans and it's going to be a great atmosphere tonight."

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

The Islanders, eight points in back of Toronto in the Eastern Conference, know their challenge is great tonight despite a 4-0-1 run in their last five on the road.

The Blues are tied with Detroit for most home wins (24) and are 16-0-3 in their last 19 games at Scottrade Center. Their last regulation home loss was Dec. 3 against the Chicago Blackhawks.

"We're up against a real good hockey team tonight," coach Jack Capuano said. "We're going to have to be at our best.

"It's a challenge and it's a good challenge. It gives us a chance for our team to see where we're at to play against a big, physical team. A team that's got good size, good goaltending, special teams. They've really done well on home ice. They're a stingy team, there's no question. They play solid defensively. The territorial edge will be key in tonight's game for sure."
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Friday, 02.03.2012 / 2:40 PM

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

Blues eager to finally get going post All-Star break

ST. LOUIS -- Of the 30 teams in the NHL, 29 have already began their post all-star schedule. Only the St. Louis Blues have yet to unlatch the starting gate.

The Blues (29-13-7) will finally get their schedule back on track tonight, when they play host to the Los Angeles Kings (25-16-10) at Scottrade Center.

The Blues haven't played since Jan. 24, a span of 10 days. They have spent three of the last four days practicing on the ice, but are eager to get back to playing games.

"We're pretty well-prepared now though," winger T.J. Oshie said. "With the success we've had in the first half, especially towards the middle and end of the first half, we're excited to get back out there.

"Obviously the first period we've got to keep it simple, but other than that, I think we're ready."

Keeping it simple will be the point of emphasis for the Blues, who understand a lengthy in-season layoff can throw off certain nuances to the game.

"What takes your energy away is getting bogged down," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "For us, we're going to just try and play as straight lines as we can. Basically, not try to do anything cute or fancy, just try to play as fast as we can towards their net and see where it takes us.

"I think sometimes you come into this thing, when you're practicing, you're trying to make plays and when you've got time off, you get into that summer hockey mode a little bit. But I like the way we practiced the three times we did it. We went really hard. We shortened it up. We started with an 80-minute practice and worked it down to a 50-minute practice in the third session. We went with almost the same drills all the time and went really hard and in a game-like situation. Mentally, we're there. Whether we're there physically or not, it's going to take some time to get going. We just need to hang in there for the first half of the game."

Now that the Blues are back in full gear, they'll compress their final 33 games into 64 days, which doesn't allow much down time.

"It's totally hockey here from now on. It's 110 percent," power forward Chris Stewart said. "Not to say it wasn't before, but we're going to be playing every other day, we're going to be on the road for a long time (20 games). It's going to be a good time for the boys to go on the road and we'll get close with each other. It's a good thing you're playing every other day because you're not dwelling on any bad losses. You've got another chance to redeem yourself the night after."

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

The St. Louis Blues continue to wait for the returns of forwards Andy McDonald (concussion) and Alex Steen (concussion symptoms) to the active roster, but will have to wait a little longer.

Hitchcock said after Friday's morning skate that neither will play tonight and they will not accompany the team on a three-game trip that takes them to Nashville on Saturday, Ottawa on Tuesday and New Jersey on Thursday.

"They're fifth-line guys and fifth-line doesn't play," Hitchcock said. "Maybe in the NFL it does, but not here. They're not ready and they're not making the trip so we'll see next week.

"They're getting closer every day, but they're not part of the team right now, so we're not going to take pre-game skates with them and stuff like that. They've got their own agendas and own schedules."

McDonald has missed all but three games this season. Steen has not played since Dec. 27.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 01.24.2012 / 3:14 PM

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

Projected lineups for Penguins, Blues

ST. LOUIS -- Here's how tonight's lineups could look for the game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center:

PENGUINS

Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Pascal Dupuis - Dustin Jeffrey - Tyler Kennedy
Matt Cooke - Richard Park - Steve Sullivan
Craig Adams - Joe Vitale - Eric Tangradi

Brooks Orpik - Kris Letang
Paul Martin - Zbynek Michalek
Matt Niskanen - Deryk Engelland

Marc-Andre Fleury
Brent Johnson

The Penguins' inactives include center Sidney Crosby (concussion symptoms), winger Arron Asham (concussion), center Jordan Staal (knee) and defenseman Simon Despres (knee). Defenseman Ben Lovejoy and winger Steve MacIntyre are expected to be healthy scratches.

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

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

Brian Elliott
Jaroslav Halak

It will mark Elliott's first start since Jan. 12. Halak played the previous five games.

The Blues' inactives include forward Andy McDonald (concussion), winger Alex Steen (concussion symptoms) and defenseman Kent Huskins (ankle). Winger Chris Porter is a healthy scratch, while defenseman Ian Cole has been assigned to AHL Peoria.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Wednesday, 01.18.2012 / 8:26 PM

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

Blues give goalie Elliott two-year extension

ST. LOUIS -- By locking up Brian Elliott for two more years, St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong believes he has the best -- if not one of the best -- goalie tandems in the NHL.

Elliott's resurrection continued Wednesday, when the Blues announced they signed the All-Star goaltender to a two-year contract extension worth $3.6 million.

It's quite a story for a guy who entered last summer without a job, searching for work and now getting job security in mid-season.

Brian Elliott
Goalie - STL
RECORD: 15-5-1
GAA: 1.68 | SVP: 0.937
"I wasn't really expecting it because I haven't been approached like that before ... it's always been in the off-season," Elliott said. "I was happy that they wanted me to stay. Whenever you get that, you know that they're impressed with you and your work ethic. I was happy that they did and we came to an agreement that we both felt was a good deal."

Elliott, who is 15-5-1 with a 1.68 goals-against average (second in the NHL), .937 save percentage and five shutouts, signed a one-year, two-way contract on July 1 worth $600,000. He will make $1.7 million next season and $1.9 million in 2013-14, with a $1.8 million cap hit.

With Elliott and Jaroslav Halak in the fold for at least the next two seasons, the Blues feel good about what they have on their team but also at the AHL level with Ben Bishop and Jake Allen.

"We're excited to have the tandem of Jaro and Brian together for the next two seasons," Armstrong said. "Goaltending's such a big part of our game. To know now that we have two goalies that we think are entering the prime of their careers together, to have that partnership together is very important for us.

"For Brian especially, the situation he was in last summer wondering where he was going to play and finding a good home here in St. Louis and doing his job on the ice, I think it's a great story. Now he can settle in and take his career to the next level with our group."

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock has a problem on his hands -- a good problem. When he has to go game by game to pick a goalie, it's nice to know there are two reliable guys to choose from.

"He's the perfect example of perseverance, but he's a great model for stay with it," Hitchcock said. "... I think the biggest thing Brian did was look in the mirror. It wasn't his work ethic, it wasn't his determination, it wasn't his conditioning. There were some things that had to change in his game. He had to just become more compact in his game and he's done that, he's done it beautifully. He's resurrected a career based on being able to look in the mirror and not feel sorry for himself, and make adjustments."

Elliott did not make the final roster until after the final preseason game on Oct. 1. He was battling with Bishop to be the backup to Halak.

But the 6-foot-3, 204-pound Elliott, who is in his fifth NHL season, has surpassed all expectations. He's allowed the fewest goals (36) and suffered the fewest losses among goalies with 20 starts or more. He's got a 9-1-1 mark at home.

"I'm not only excited for Brian, but I'm also excited about Jaro knowing he's going to have a healthy partner knowing that they can tandem up and try and keep us in the top tandem of the goaltending in the NHL for the next two plus years," Armstrong said.

With the season he's having and with impending unrestricted free agency looming this summer, the 26-year-old Elliott chose to remain in St. Louis knowing it will be a tandem and not a chance to go somewhere else and try to become a clear-cut No. 1.

"Things can go the other way, too," Elliott said. "You're basically playing the odds.

"You can say what if you get injured, or the other way, what if you lead the team to a couple playoff wins, you can be even more attractive. But I've learned from experience that the grass isn't always greener on the other side. I really like it here and I like the guys and I think it sets up well for my career. After this contract is done, I'll still be probably one of the younger goalies in the League, so it just builds on to the rest of my career."

A native of Newmarket, Ontario, Elliott is 76-58-17 in his career with the Blues, Ottawa Senators and Colorado Avalanche.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Monday, 01.16.2012 / 1:56 PM

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

Appendectomy sidelines Benn indefinitely

ST. LOUIS -- The Dallas Stars, who enter tonight's game against the St. Louis Blues having dropped two of their previous three games, will have their mettle tested now that they will be playing without two of their three top scorers and top two centermen.

Mike Ribeiro (knee) will miss his fourth consecutive game and the Stars will now be without leading scorer Jamie Benn, who had an appendectomy on Sunday and is sidelined indefinitely.

Benn has 42 points (13 goals, 29 assists) in 43 games, while Ribeiro is third on the team with 10 goals and 31 points in 40 games.

"You don't wish it, but it's like anything, it's life. You can't control it," Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. "You just hope that Benny's OK and he is this morning. ... When you take your top two centermen out of your lineup, it forces you to play a certain way. Maybe this is a little bit of a blessing in disguise, because our team needed to play a certain way more consistently and now they're going to have to. If we come out of this stronger, that's what you always hope when you have injuries and these guys acclimate themselves back.

"It wasn't a kick in the gut or anything. You just deal with it one day at a time."

What it does is give other players an opportunity to step into the lineup and fill those roles. The Stars have recalled winger Francis Wathier from AHL Texas and he will be in the lineup tonight.

"They are really huge for our team," Stars winger Loui Eriksson said of Benn and Ribeiro, who has an MCL tear. "There's not much we can do about it. We've just got to keep working harder and some other guys are going to get some opportunities and get some chances. We still have a good team. We know where we are in the standings."

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Saturday, 01.14.2012 / 2:42 PM

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

Jackman returns as Blues work way to good health

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues hope that one by one, they start to get some missing pieces back into their lineup.

The first step to that goal came to fruition as defenseman Barret Jackman took part in the morning skate after missing his first game of the season with a hip injury suffered Tuesday at Montreal and will play tonight when the Blues (25-12-6) host the Minnesota Wild (22-16-6).

Jackman, who has 6 assists in 42 games this season, was injured following a hit by Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban in the second period of a 3-0 Blues win.

"I saw him coming, but I didn't realize he was going to step up as hard as he did," Jackman said of the Subban hit. "I was just trying to get a shot on net to maybe get a rebound out front. I just put myself in a bad position and fell awkwardly.

"I'm feeling good. The body's getting there, but it's the middle of the season so you've got your wear and tear. We'll see what happens."

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

The St. Louis Blues' defensive corps was crowded on the ice Saturday morning, giving it a training camp flavor with nine guys out there.

Along with Jackman (hip) returni, Kent Huskins (ankle) and Kris Russell (groin) were also out taking part in the morning skate. Neither will play but continue to work on getting back into the lineup.

"We're not there yet, but it was nice to see Russ and Huskins join us," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Obviously Husky's a little bit away from playing, but nice to make him part of the team for a few minutes anyway. ... You're talking weeks (with Huskins), yeah. But it's nice that at least he gets to come out and skate. and be part of the team. He's excited by that."

And Russell? Maybe next week?

"Close. I don't know yet. We'll see," Hitchcock said. "We'll participate in a full practice tomorrow hopefully. We'll see, but he's close. That's a good sign there, too. Lots of guys on the rebound here, so we'll see where we get the next three or four days."

The Blues can only hope to play with a full deck soon.

"It'll be nice obviously ... the sooner the better," defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. "It's good to see everyone kind of coming around. There's still a little time for some but at least we got them out there skating, which is obviously good.

"Once we get everyone back, it's going to be a pretty tough blue line to beat. Throw Andy (McDonald) and Steener (Alex Steen) up there in front, it's endless. The combinations you can get ... seems like it's going to be a problem for Hitch unfortunately, but it's a good one."

McDonald and Steen continue to skate and make progress. Steen is likely to get reinserted into the lineup sometime next week. McDonald is still wearing a red no-contact jersey and is weeks away.

------------
Blues captain David Backes spent last season as the Blues' lone All-Star representative. This season, it will be goalie Brian Elliott, who has to re-alter his plans of going to Wisconsin.

Backes, who could make a case to be going to Ottawa with 31 points and good numbers in other areas through 43 games, will instead be taking up a new hobby.

"I'm going to take my pilot's license test," Backes said. "I've passed the written test and now I've got the oral (test) and the actual flying test and then I'll have my license. The oral is a couple of hours and then the flying is a couple of hours, so I finally get a full day off and I'll hope to sneak that in."

Backes is glad for Elliott, who did not even know he'd make the Blues out of camp this season.

"'Ells' is very deserving and he'll have a great time in a place that he's played before," Backes said. "Would I love to be going with him, yeah, but there's only so many spots on there and there's a lot of great players in this League.

"It's an honor to go to that game, and if I can go to more in the future, that's great. If not, we get to rest up (like this year) for a great second half of the season into a playoff push."


Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 01.05.2012 / 6:16 PM

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

Blues' penalty-killers doing the job

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues began the season at the bottom of the NHL in specialty teams, as both the power play and penalty killing units got off to inauspicious starts.

But while the power play unit continues to labor near the bottom, the penalty-killing group continues to excel.

Going into tonight's home game against Edmonton, the Blues (22-12-5) have killed off 27 of their last 30 PK opportunities (90 percent) have vaulted themselves to 17th in the league after being 30th at one time.

"Penalty-killing has been huge," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We've been very diligent in not giving up seem plays and not giving up bang-bang opportunities at the net.

"Our 5-on-5 play has kind of been consistent without giving up odd-man rushes, but I think our PK has really improved. Our PK has done a really good job limiting teams zone time and limiting teams' scoring chances. Even against some of the best teams in the league power play-wise, we've done a really good job in negating that. I think the goalies have been recipient of being good because of it, too."

-----=

Jaroslav Halak gets another start in goal after stopping 34 shots in Tuesday's 4-1 win over Phoenix. Halak, who is 5-0-3 in his last eight starts with a 1.45 goals-against average and .932 save percentage in that period, hasn't lost a regulation game since a 3-2 setback on Nov. 22 against Los Angeles.

It's all about the mental game that Hitchcock said Halak has changed.

"He parks it now," Hitchcock said. "He doesn't bring it with him the next day. He's learned that it's over.

"There was a period of time where it wasn't successful, he'd carry it with him the next day at practice, and it wasn't healthy for him or healthy for us."

Hitchcock, who now looks at past success when determining his goalie, doesn't mind continuing the goalie rotation with Halak and Brian Elliott and feels like it's been a benefit.

"The team has (benefited). That's all I care about," Hitchcock said. "Like most goalies, I think they want to play all the time. Both guys probably in different situations, they deserve to play all the time, but what's best for our team is that I keep both guys going in my opinion. I guess my opinion counts because I'm the guy putting them on the ice.

"To me, if one guy's great, then we'll go with him. But both guys have been good, and I'm comfortable putting both guys in the net. ... As long as both guys keep playing at this level, they're both going to play."

------=

The two combatants in tonight's game play contrasting styles. The Blues forecheck and like to grind teams out while the Oilers use their youthful forwards and attack with speed.

Hitchcock said if the Blues try and play the Oilers' game, they have no chance of winning.

"We can't win playing the way Edmonton plays," Hitchcock insisted. "We can't win in that game. But we can win a different way. And if we get them to play the way we want them to play, then we think we can be successful, so this will be a battle to see who gets to control what aspect."

Oilers coach Tom Renney feels the best plan of attack tonight is quick puck movement.

"We've got to, as best as we can, deliver the puck to our forwards quickly and allow our attack game from that point on to really go at the blue paint at the other end of the rink," Renney said. "That being said, I think our (defensemen) really have to support quickly from behind. In other words, gap up offensively so we show sort of a numerical advantage because Hitch's teams are going to try to come after us. They're going to try and forecheck hard, and if we can move the puck past the forecheck quickly and attack, maybe we've got that team that likes to play in the offensive zone play in their own end instead."

------=

Count Hitchcock as a fan of Oilers' center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who was the first player taken in the NHL Draft last June.

Nugent-Hopkins, who has 13 goals and 35 points in 38 games, will not play tonight after injuring his shoulder Monday in Chicago. He was sent back to Edmonton for further evaluation and is out indefinitely.

Hitchcock, who's seen many players develop and come through junior hockey, feels there's a select few that can make the jump from junior to pro. Nugent-Hopkins is one of them.

"I just knew if there was a player ready to play pro, that was the player because his hockey intelligence and his smarts and his tenacity on the puck was just way ahead of everybody," Hitchcock said. "I watched him play against good teams and he was dominant.

"For me, when you watch a junior player play and he's dominant offensively and he's dominant defensively, that's a player for me that's ready to play."

------=

The Blues and Oilers are going through a rash of injuries, with each team missing key pieces from their lineup.

Edmonton has been hit recently with the losses of Nugent-Hopkins as well as defenseman Tom Gilbert, who injured his left knee after the violent collision with the end boards Monday that resulted in a seven-game suspension for Chicago's Dan Carcillo.

Gilbert did skate lightly here during the morning skate but will not play.

"It didn't go as well as we were hoping this morning," Renney said. "... I have limited information, but I'm telling you, it didn't go as well as I was hoping it would go."

Defenseman Theo Peckham said it's a chance for some more of the younger players and call-ups to put their stamp on the Oilers' team.

"With (Ryan Whitney) and (Gilbert) going down, gives a chance to (Colten Teubert) and (Jeff Petry) to come in and show what they can do," Peckham said.

"You play a game like this, you play 82 games, there's a reason why (injuries) occur. You're playing so many games a year, injuries are going to happen. A good way to look at it is you don't look at the guys out of the lineup, you look at the guys putting on the jersey every night."

------=

Tonight's probable lineups between the St. Louis Blues and Edmonton Oilers at Scottrade Center:

Edmonton:

Taylor Hall - Sam Gagner - Ales Hemsky

Ryan Smyth - Shawn Horcoff - Jordan Eberle

Anton Lander - Josh Green - Teemu Hartikainen

Ryan Jones - Eric Belanger - Ben Eager

Ladislav Smid - Corey Potter

Andy Sutton - Jeff Petry

Theo Peckham - Colten Teubert

Devan Dubnyk

Nikolai Khabibulin

Out: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (shoulder), Ryan Whitney (ankle), Cam Barker (ankle), Tom Gilbert (knee) and Alex Plante (concussion). Forward Darcy Hordichuk is a healthy scratch.

St. Louis

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

Out: Andy McDonald (concussion), Alex Steen (concussion-like symptoms), Kris Russell (groin), Kent Huskins (ankle), Ryan Reaves (hip) and Ian Cole, who is serving the second game of a three-game suspension. Winger Evgeny Grachev is tonight's healthy scratch.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 01.03.2012 / 2:36 PM

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

Tippett talks to Torres following suspension

ST. LOUIS -- Not only are the St. Louis Blues dealing with the suspension of defenseman Ian Cole, but the Phoenix Coyotes are dealing with a suspension of their own.

Winger Raffi Torres, considered a repeat offender, was suspended by the NHL for an illegal hit on Minnesota Wild defenseman Nate Prosser in Saturday's 4-2 victory by the Coyotes. Torres received a two-game ban, which begins tonight in St. Louis.

"It's a fine line," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "Raffi has to play the game kind of with an edge. There's two or three games in a row or two or three hits (the NHL) thought were getting close to borderline.

"I talked to Raffi this morning. We need him to play hard, we need him to play determined like that. I guess there's a fine line that he has to walk. He knows when he goes into a game to do the best he can for the group. He's got to be a physical player. ... You have to try not to hit anybody in the head."

As Torres was being suspended for the hit on Saturday, he also received the maximum $2,500 fine for a hit to Colorado's Jan Hejda from a game on Dec. 29.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 01.03.2012 / 2:12 PM

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

Hitchcock holds seniority in St. Louis sports

ST. LOUIS -- When he was suddenly brought in to become the next coach of the St. Louis Blues, Ken Hitchcock was on the bottom of the depth chart as far as seniority goes in St. Louis pro sports coaches.

Little did he know that 57 days later, Hitchcock would suddenly become the dean.

But after St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa retired days after Hitchcock was hired and the St. Louis Rams firing head coach Steve Spagnuolo on Monday, Hitchcock was suddenly vaulted to the top.

He laughed about it at Tuesday's morning skate prior to the Blues (21-12-5) facing the Phoenix Coyotes (19-16-4).

"I've always said they should change the award to coach for the year rather than of the year," Hitchcock said. "To me, it's the nature of our business. You can't change out all the players. There's different directions going on. There's part of you that understands you're in that business now, but I think the business since I've got here in 1996, it's become even more volatile. It's nothing to see us change out a third of the coaches. We just have to live in that business."

Joked captain David Backes: "I wonder if he's got any of his boxes unpacked yet. Quite the carousel here, but I think all the changes seem to be welcomed and obviously ours has been successful. We wish those other sports teams here nothing but the best."

The Blues are 15-5-5 since Hitchcock's arrival, and it seems that Blues general manager Doug Armstrong's call to replace Davis Payne with Hitchcock at the time has moved the Blues into the right direction, particularly in the standings.

"I'm lucky," Hitchcock said. "I've got a strong relationship with Doug. I've got a strong relationship with J.D. (Blues President John Davidson). That to me is the most important part. When you have a good relationship with people, they'll love you. When the storm hits, they'll help you weather it."

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 01.03.2012 / 2:06 PM

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

Coyotes realize 'crunch time' has arrived

ST. LOUIS -- The Phoenix Coyotes currently sit in 11th place in the Western Conference and unlike their opponent tonight, the St. Louis Blues, have ground to make up.

Phoenix will split its 12-game schedule for the month of January, with six games at home and six on the road, but those road games will be front-loaded. The team is currently in a stretch of games where eight of 10 are away from Jobing.com Arena.

"January's where everybody realizes this is crunch time," veteran defenseman Derek Morris said. "You've got to crank it up a notch. Games are going to get quicker, they're going to get more important. ... You don't want to get behind and start chasing. Where we're at, we've got to find a way to win games now so when crunch times rolls around, you don't want to have to scrape out the last couple points because they're harder to get."

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
First | Prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | Next | Last
Quote of the Day

My job was to get that puck and put it on net, and his job was not letting me do it. I got the best of that, but that game's over and to be honest I already forgot about it.

— Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk on his late game-tying goal in Montreal's 2-1 OT win
Winter Classic sweepstakes