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Armstrong comments on changes to hockey operations staff

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues

ST. LOUIS - Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong announced a series of changes to his hockey operations staff on Tuesday morning, which included adding an assistant general manager title to Bill Armstrong, who also serves as the Blues' director of amateur scouting.

Other changes include naming Kevin McDonald as the general manager of the San Antonio Rampage, hiring former NHL player Glen Wesley to replace Barret Jackman as a development coach, and moving Blues assistant coach Daniel Tkaczuk to the Rampage as an assistant coach.

But what does that all mean? Will Bill Armstrong continue to run the draft? What about losing Brodeur? Why did Jackman move on?

Doug Armstrong addresses all of those questions below:

 

On Bill Armstrong's role as Assistant General Manager and Director of Amateur Scouting:

"Bill has worked with the organization since I've been here for 10 years and has a wealth of experience. I think his record speaks for itself. He's going to keep the (director of amateur scouting) title and responsibilities to handle the top end of our draft, and he'll expand that, helping our minor league system and helping myself and everyone in hockey operations as we strive to be a team that competes and has the ability to win the Stanley Cup.

"[Having an assistant general manager that also is our director of amateur scouting] is outside the box for us because we've always had our director of amateur scouting solely focused on one area, but with Bill's experience, he's earned the right to take a bigger role. He just got this job, he's 20 minutes in, but I could see him being a (general) manager in this League one day. He's got the smarts, he's got the work ethic. Our goal is not only to grow our players but to grow our staff. We believe in the people under Bill to pick up the slack there. We're very comfortable we can have great success with Bill expanding his role outside of just amateur scouting."

 

On why Bill Armstrong deserved the promotion:

"Bill has done very good work with no (draft) picks in the Top 20. We've been trying to juggle being a competitive team now with an eye on the future, and there are many publications out there that have our prospect pool rated at the top of the NHL. That's a testament to Bill drafting well and (Director of Player Personnel) Rob DiMaio and (VP of Hockey Operations) Dave Taylor and Marty (Brodeur) and Al (MacInnis) helping us try to organize those two things at once.

"Bill's resume has earned him this position. I don't think this is the last promotion he's going to get in his career."

 

On Brodeur leaving to pursue other opportunities:

"Marty came here as a player for a short time and then jumped into a management role. We had a great experience with Marty and appreciated his insight and professionalism over the last few years and wish him nothing but the best… I have a ton of respect for Marty in that he felt at this point in his life with his son, Max, he wanted to spend a little bit more time at home. When you look at the hours an assistant manager has to put in, even in the summer preparing, Marty felt he needed to prioritize his family coming from playing and jumping right into management. He hasn't had any time off. I certainly understand that. We wish Marty nothing but the best as he moves forward. When he does want to get back in the management role in hockey, his future will take him wherever he wants to go."

 

On what Brodeur brought to the Blues:

"Marty and I became very good friends. There is a comfort level when you're watching a game and you look to your right and you have Marty Brodeur and you look to the left and you have Al MacInnis… There's a lot of things I'm going to miss about having (Marty) around every day, just to bounce ideas off of. You're not going to find a better person to travel with, who had a great balance of work and enjoyment and Marty had a smile on his face every day. He brought what I needed: don't take this too serious, we're lucky to be in this job. I'm going to try and continue that."

 

On hiring Glenn Wesley as a development coach:

"He had a stellar career as player - a Stanley Cup champion - and he was doing this (job) for the Carolina Hurricanes. He became available this summer as they had some organization change with the new ownership group (in Carolina). He's an experienced player that has done development (work) before, so it's a seamless transition for him to come in and work with (Director of Player Development and Pro Scout) Tim Taylor."

 

On Barret Jackman not returning to the organization:

"Barret had a stellar career here, went on to Nashville for a year and came back and worked with us last year on a full-time basis helping Tim Taylor in player development. The time away from this family, with two young children and a wife, I think they have earned the right to have their father and husband home a little bit more. Barret is going to step away to enjoy that part of his life and when he wants to get back in, he'll have a great future. Barret is staying here in St. Louis and hopefully we'll see him at a lot of games. He has an open door policy to come into the rink anytime he wants to share his insight in the press box or the office, and I hope to see a lot of him… There's always going to be an opportunity for Barret to come work in the Blues organization. In what capacity, I don't know. Barret is a staple in our community and I would think we could always find an opportunity for him to participate in some fashion."

 

On Kevin McDonald being named General Manager of the San Antonio Rampage:

"Kevin is going to stay located in Boston but he will be the manager (in San Antonio). He will spend more time there than he has in the past. He's a lifer in the American Hockey League. At the meetings, everybody knows him. He's one of the most respected guys in the AHL as far as knowing the people and understanding the league. Kevin is going to do a great job for us down there, and Al MacInnis is going to take a little more responsibility in helping Kevin with San Antonio, keeping an eye on our prospects."

 

On Daniel Tkaczuk moving to an assistant coach role with San Antonio:

"We brought in Daniel as a skill development coach and he was very good for us, but there's more time to spend with our prospects there than there is in the NHL in skill development. Having him back to where he came into our organization as an assistant coach (with the Chicago Wolves), he can grow as a coach more than he could grow as a coach up here. But we can also get a lot out of the skill development part down there."

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