Vladimir Sobotka is unable to play tonight after taking a Jarome Iginla slapshot off the toe of his skate. Adam Cracknell has been recalled from Peoria.
Ben Bishop will once again get the start in goal – with Ty Conklin as backup. Jaroslav Halak practised today and took a few shots but he’s not ready to return just yet.
And if you thought the Blues had thrown in the towel on the season, they obviously forgot to tell their players – specifically TJ Oshie. There’s a great interview at the Blues Official Site where Oshie discusses the Calgary game plus the recent trades. Well worth a watch.
The Blues have announced that Brad Boyes has been traded to the Buffalo Sabres for a 2nd round pick in this year’s draft.
In an interview with Jeremy Rutherford of the Post Dispatch, Blues GM, Doug Armstrong, said “When we got a call on Brad, I looked at our roster today and also looked at it moving forward. With the addition of Stewart and knowing (David) Perron is coming back at some point (from a concussion), it was necessary to make the move now while it was available.
“You just have to manage your assets. With Stewart, Perron and T.J. Oshie (on the right side), we had to create space. We had too many right wingers.”
The Blues may well use their extra second and third round picks to get another player but, if they don’t, then with Boyes earning $4million next year, this frees up more cap space. With Oshie, Berglund etc being RFA’s this gives the Blues plenty of room to sign the RFA’s and still add pieces in the summer. Just hope that the ownership situation is sorted out before then…
According to Pierre LeBrun on Twitter, the Blues have placed goaltender Ty Conklin on waivers. We’ll know shortly after 11am St Louis time on Monday if Conklin has cleared waivers.
With this move, it appears that Jaroslav Halak should be coming off IR and will be ready to play. The Blues look as though they will now keep Ben Bishop as Jaro’s backup for the rest of the season. Bishop deserves it with his excellent 39 save shutout against the Oilers last night. The tandem of Halak and Bishop could well be in force next season as well.
It was always going to be an emotional game. No Erik Johnson, no Jay McClement. Instead, the Blues welcomed power forward Chris Stewart and rookie defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk into the fold. The two new players had left California at 4am, where the Avalanche were due to play the San Jose Sharks and, with a change in Salt Lake City, arrived in St Louis at around lunch-time. Hours later, they were on the ice for the first game with their new team. So, what kind of impact did our two new players have?
A quiet first period for them – despite the game itself being wild and woolly. They were both feeling their way – getting used to their new surroundings and new teammates. It was in the second period that they both came alive. Chris Stewart is a big, power forward – he used his size well, battling for pucks along the boards and creating room for his linemates. During powerplays, he’s moving around – in the slot or in front of the crease – perfectly placed for tip-ins and redirections. Stewart is strong, he can hit and he has great hands. More importantly, he can score goals.
Kevin Shattenkirk is in his first NHL year – a rookie who is second only to Cam Fowler in points amongst rookie defensemen so far. He has a really good hockey sense – sees play develop and adjusts accordingly. Shattenkirk is also a good point man on the powerplay. With Pietrangelo on one side and Shattenkirk on the other, the Blues have great options going forward on the powerplay. In fact, the Blues were 3 for 5 on the powerplay last night. Shattenkirk is still learning – he’s still a rookie – but he’s learning very quickly. With the tools he already has in place, it looks like the Blues have got their hands on a very good offensive defenseman to complement their existing D corps.
Speaking after the game, Shattenkirk agreed that the first period was a bit nervous:
“I think we kind of got the nerves out in the first period. I kind of forgot about the fatigue and long travel today, kind of got that out of my system. … There’s obviously a lot of talented players here and it’s pretty refreshing to play with such great guys and great talent.”
As for Chris Stewart, his smile said it all. It definitely didn’t take him long to settle in:
“It wasn’t that hard. By the time my plane landed I had three or four texts from guys welcoming me. It was an easy transition … an easy adjustment. I felt like I fit right in out there.”
The crowd gave him a terrific ovation – it certainly looks like he’s won fans hearts already. And the feeling appears mutual:
“That was probably the best crowd I’ve ever played in front of. It’s going to be easy to play here if the fans are like that every night.”
The full post game interview with Chris Stewart, TJ Oshie and Andy McDonald is on the Blues Website
Well, in the wee small hours of the morning, the Blues announced they have traded Erik Johnson and Jay McClement to Colorado in exchange for Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk. The Blues also give up a conditional 1st round draft pick in 2011 or 2012 whilst the Avalanche give up a conditional 2nd round draft pick in 2011 and 2012.
I have to say this is a shocking trade. I don’t think anyone really expected the Blues to trade Erik Johnson – however, it is what it is. I like Chris Stewart – he’s a power forward like Backes and Shattenkirk has great potential.
You can hear Blues GM, Doug Armstrong, talking about the trade on the Blues website: Blues Podcast.
Good luck to EJ and Jay McClement – and welcome aboard Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk.
Jaroslav Halak has been placed on 7 day Injured Reserve retroactive to Monday. Halak injured his hand in practice on Wednesday. According to Darren Pang on twitter, it’s Halak’s right, blocker hand that is the problem. Pang also says that Halak has been battling this injury for a while and that explains why he has been “dropping his stick with a lot of traffic in front”. It’s been difficult for Jaro to control his stick.
Ben Bishop has been recalled from Peoria and, whilst this isn’t great timing – with the Blues about to go on a 7 games in 10 days stretch, at least the Blues will be able to see if Bishop is NHL ready. With Ty Conklin a free agent after this season, Bishop is the likely candidate to be Jaro’s backup next season.
Wow. So – Jaro gets some hate tonight after making a couple of mistakes. Yet – other players made mistakes, costly turnovers, stupid penalties…brain farts…and get a free pass.
So – just a couple of things. Jaro’s been inconsistent this year? Yes, he has. I didn’t expect anything different. He played a lot of games late last season, took his team deep into the playoffs. Then he’s traded to St Louis. He has to get used to a new team, new communication, new defense. He’s also the #1 starter for the first time. He’s in a new Conference – the much tougher Western Conference.
The first 10-12 games of the season, he was fresh – now, he’s not. He’s played more games than he’s used to…the defense in front of him has at times been decimated by injuries and other players have not played up to their potential. He’s been battered in net because it seems nobody except Barret Jackman is interested in trying to stop the opposition crashing our net.
There’s also another thing. The Blues are not an easy team to anchor. We allow too many breakaways and turnovers and our much vaunted defense is simply not good enough. Yet.
That’s the thing – YET. What did JD say when introducing Jaro? He wanted a goalie who could GROW with the team – Jaro was not bought in as a saviour… yet most seem to expect him to be. The expectations are that, no matter what happens in front of him, no matter how shitty the team plays, Jaro will pull their asses out of the fire. And he has done – many times. He just can’t do it all the time.
Halak is 25 and in his first year as a starter. How many other goalies went from backup to starter and impressed in their first season as #1? Not many. So, take a breath, step back from the ledge and realise that, of all the problems this team has…Jaroslav Halak is NOT one of them.
British, female and a Blues fan - there aren't many of us over here the UK but hopefully we can change that. I'm heading over to the US in January to go the Blues games against the Ducks and Kings on the West Coast - so if you see me there, please say hello!