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5 Questions with Doug Armstrong

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues
Doug Armstrong joined the Blues in May and is entering his first season as the team's Vice President of Player Personnel. Armstrong spent 17 seasons with the Dallas Stars, which include the past six seasons as the Stars' General Manager. He has helped lead the franchise to two President's Trophies, two Western Conference titles and a Stanley Cup in 1999. We sat down recently with Doug and asked him five questions about his job and time in St. Louis.

Doug Armstrong
Q: You spent 17 years with the Dallas Stars, six of which were as the team’s General Manager. You have quite a resume with two President’s Trophies and a Stanley Cup Championship. How much does that experience help with your job here in St. Louis?

Doug Armstrong: I think all those experiences you gain over the years help you moving forward. Being part of a franchise in Minnesota that moved to Dallas, we were a young franchise built just like the Blues are now, with young players at the time like (Mike) Modano, (Derian) Hatcher, Richard Matvichuk. You get those players up and running and you supplement them with a good veteran group and you fight for a Stanley Cup. I think where the Blues are right now with (Erik) Johnson and the drafting of (Alex) Pietrangelo and young players like (T.J.) Oshie, (Patrik) Berglund and (David) Perron, our future is quite bright.. It’s just a building process that we go through, bringing all those experiences of patience in Dallas should bode well for us moving forward. I can refer back to some of those long days and realize there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

Q: What is your role here as the Vice President of Player Personnel?

DA: What I’m going to do is work with Larry Pleau and John Davidson and our staff and get to understand who our players are, and most importantly understand our staff and fit in as easy as possible. What I want to do is just bring the experience that I’ve had to this team and help in any way that I can. I’ll spend a lot of time scouting the NHL as well as spending time with our team and the Peoria team. Just lend a helpful ear to the coaching staff or anyone here to help us move forward. The sign of all good organizations is you try and surround yourself with many good people, and here in St. Louis, having John and Larry and Al (MacInnis), I’m very fortunate to learn and work with these guys.

Q: When Larry Pleau’s contract is up in two years, you’ll take his position as the Blues’ General Manager. How much do you look forward to that and is your time here as Vice President of Player Personnel good preparation for that?

Being a GM prior to this for six years in Dallas helped pave the way, but I’m not worried about what’s going to happen in two years. I’m worried about what I can do to help Larry, John and Al over the next two years. In our business, if you project too far ahead personally, it’s never a good thing. So I’m going to use my experiences to help them today, and tomorrow will take care of itself. What we’re trying to do is build something over the long run. All of our experiences from Larry managing over the last 10 years and from what I’ve been able to accomplish, Larry and I are going to make a good team. Larry and I have talked and I hope our relationship goes well past two years.

Q: What have you learned about the Blues so far and what can fans expect this upcoming season?

Getting in here, starting to understand that there’s a great passion from our younger players. I think talking to and seeing Perron over the summer training, he wants to take his game to the next level. I think we have a group of younger players who want to take the time to put their footprint in the NHL and show everyone what they’re expected to be here. The exciting part is that there is a lot of young players here, we have to now, as an organization, guide them and put them in areas to succeed and not fail. That’s going to be the test for management and coaches. We’re going to rely a lot on the veteran leadership here. We have great character players like (Keith) Tkachuk and (Eric) Brewer and (Barret) Jackman, and that list goes on and on. We’re going to need those guys to pave the way for the younger players.

Q: I know you haven’t been here long, but what are your impressions of St. Louis so far?

It’s a great city. It seems like a small town atmosphere with a big city environment. My family and I have really enjoyed it here. We’re excited, my kids are in school and they’ve connected to the community. It’s a great town, there’s lots to do here, and for a transition from a number of years in Dallas, this has been a positive one. The people have been great, the city is great, now we’re just looking forward to playing some hockey.
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