Davis Payne expected to be named Head Coach

April 13, 2010

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The Blues are expected to announce soon that Davis Payne will continue as Head Coach of the Blues – removing that “interim” tag. According to Andy Strickland a noon meeting is scheduled with the players to inform them of the news.

More building from within for the Blues – and a good move for the organisation. Davis Payne has more than earned the right to be Head Coach for the Blues for the next season. The Blues may not have made the playoffs but the players improved, the team as a whole were much better.

More about Davis Payne can be found in Jeremy Rutherford’s article in the Post Dispatch

EDIT: Blues have announced a press conference for 12 noon on Wednesday 14 April 2010.


Walt Press Conference

April 13, 2010

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The official press conference to announce Walt’s retirement took place today at Scottrade.

Attended by Walt, his family, his teammates and Blues ownership and management including John Davidson, Dave Checketts and Larry Pleau, it was, as expected, an emotional time.  The star of the show?  Well, apart from Walt, it was Larry Pleau.  A great and funny speech that made the occasion much less stilted than it had been.  Mr Pleau has a  great sense of comic timing that seems to have been hidden until now.

Check out the press conference on the Blues Official Site

Ducks 3 – Blues 6: Goodbye, Big Guy

April 10, 2010

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In the end, the score didn’t really matter – just as long as the Blues won.  The only thing that mattered was a certain number 7.  He had a great game – and even picked up two assists.  There were tears, there were smiles – there were some terrific signs held up by fans: “Tkhanks Tkachuk”, “Thanks for the teeth, Big Walt”  and there were “Keith Tkachuk” chants throughout the game.

What do you say about Tkachuk?  The stats speak for themselves:  19 years in the NHL with over 1202 games, 538 goals, 527 assists and 2219 penalty minutes.  There’s more to it than that though: his love for the game, city and the Blues shines through, he’s generous to a fault and has helped the younger players enormously.    However, if you want to get an idea of what Walt means to the fans…then you shouldn’t be reading this.  You should watch this instead – highlights of the post-game Ceremony:

Tkachuk will not play in tonight’s final game in Nashville.  Fittingly, his last game as a Blue was in St Louis.  After the cut…a few more photos from last night.

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Tkachuk’s Last Stand

April 8, 2010

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Big Walt has announced that he will retire from the NHL after 19 seasons.  His last home game will be against the Ducks on Friday 9 April 2010.  There will be a press conference on 13 April 2010 and this is open to the public.  There will be a profile of the big guy here at the weekend but, in the meantime, here are some of today’s articles:

If you’re going to Big Walt’s last home game on Friday, then please show the guy some love – he’s done an awful lot for St Louis.  The Blues will pay tribute to Walt after the game.

Blues 5 – Blackhawks 6

April 8, 2010

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This game was a perfect microcosm of the Blues season.  Started well – scoring first in fact – then a complete collapse…then a miracle comeback that JUST fell short.  I don’t know whether this was a bit of a hangover from the realisation that they are out of the playoffs but at least they played with anger and passion in the latter stages of the second period and all of the third.

The Blues scored first – a backhander from David Perron after just under 5 minutes of the first period.  Then it all went wrong.  The Blackhawks suddenly couldn’t stop scoring – three goals in just under two minutes that chased Chris Mason from the crease.  Mason gave up three goals on four shots but, to be fair, the defense DID rather hang him out to dry on one or two.  Ty Conklin took over and shortly afterwards the Blackhawks went further ahead, scoring a shorthanded goal.   The Blues went in at the end of the first period 4-1 down.

The second period didn’t start very well either as midway through the period the Blues found themselves on the wrong side of a 6-1 scoreline.  However, that’s when the anger seemed to kick in.  Roman Polak scored with less than five minutes left in the period to pull it back to 6-2.

In the final period, it was all Blues as they outshot the Blackhawks 13-4.  Brad Winchester and TJ Oshie both scored and the Blues were suddenly 6-4 down.  A penalty shot taken by Brad Boyes pulled it to 6-5 with less than a minute left.  It was too little too late however and the Blackhawks grabbed a very thankful two points.

Anyway – your game reports:

Blue Jackets 1 – Blues 2 (O/T)

April 6, 2010

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Well, they did it again.  Somehow, the Blues scraped a win and managed to keep those playoff hopes alive.  Barely.  Basically, the state of play is that the Blues need to win their remaining three games against Chicago, Anaheim and Nashville.  However, Colorado have four games remaining – and should they win ONE of those games in regulation, the Blues are out of the playoffs.  Colorado play Vancouver tonight.

There was no tv coverage of the game – due to the NHL’s television agreement – and those of us listening on the radio were very glad there WASN’T coverage of the first period.  The Blues were, quite frankly, awful.    The Blues went behind early – TJ Oshie was called for goaltender interference after 1.38 and the Blue Jackets scored on the subsequent powerplay.   The Blue Jackets were without Rick Nash, Jan Hedja, Kris Russell, Jared Boll and Chris Clark yet the Blues could not seem to generate any offense.  The Blues were outshot 11-4 in the first period, despite having two powerplays – the Blue Jackets had three powerplays.

Davis Payne obviously had words during intermission because the Blues were much better in the second period.  They outshot the Blue Jackets 16-8, had two powerplays and managed to tie the game.  David Perron set up Andy McDonald on a three on one break.  It was McDonald’s 23rd of the season.

The third period was more even – the shots were 9-6 in favour of the Blues but neither team could break through.  It ended up in overtime – and Erik Johnson scored a powerplay goal after Methot was penalised for holding.  The Blues picked up the two points – but they came at a price.  Keith Tkachuk left the game early with a lower body injury and Patrik Berglund also left the game with an upper body injury.  On the upside, Tkachuk has travelled with the team to Chicago, unfortunately Patrik Berglund has not.

Anyway – your game reports:

  • The Blues Official Site has the recap and you can watch the two Blues goals. There are also interviews with Davis Payne, Andy McDonald and Erik Johnson.
  • St Louis Game Time point out that the Blues are “mathematically alive”.
  • Dan O’Neill of the Post Dispatch notes that the Blues needed overtime to beat the Blue Jackets – with comments from Erik Johnson and Chris Mason.

Let’s be honest – the playoffs are looking very unlikely.  However – to point out some good things…the Blues have now won 5 straight home games improving their home record to 17-18-5; Erik Johnson’s 10 goals this season makes him the first Blues defenseman to  reach double figures since Chris Pronger in 2003/2004; the Blues have the number one penalty kill in the league and have also had 32 home sellouts.

The offseason is going to be interesting.  Very interesting.

Stars 1 – Blues 2

April 4, 2010
Paul Kariya Milestone Award

Paul Kariya receiving the Milestone Award

Now, this is more like it.  The team that took the ice this time WANTED to win the game.  They worked hard…battled hard…forechecked well – it was a different team to the one that lost to Nashville.  The evening started with the Paul Kariya 400th goal Tribute – a short, but very good ceremony during which Paul received the NHL Milestone Award.  He also received a gift from the players: a voucher for a surfing trip (to a location of Paul’s choice) together with a customised surfboard.  The Blues commissioned a painting for Paul of his 400th goal which contained congratulatory messages from teammates of Paul’s (current and previous) who have also reached this milestone.  Here’s a bit of a look at the painting:

Paul Kariya 400th goal painting

The painting Paul received from the Blues celebrating his 400th goal

Now, onto the game itself.  To be honest, it was a bit of a dull first period.  Both teams seemed to be playing NOT to lose as opposed to wanting to win.  The Blues had opportunities – they had three powerplays in the first period alone – but only managed to generate a paltry 5 shots on goal.  Not that Dallas were much better – they managed to muster 7 shots.

In the second period, the game opened up a bit.  BJ Crombeen set the tone with a fight with Brandon Segal after 1.39 of the period.    The Blues broke through first – Andy McDonald forced a turnover, Polak ripped a shot on goal which Lehtonen couldn’t handle and TJ Oshie knocked in the rebound.  This was followed by 2 minutes of 4 on 4 hockey after Roman Polak and James Neal were each called for slashing.  The Stars tied the game late in the second period – Jay McClement was called for hooking and the Stars scored on the resulting powerplay.  Yet again, the Blues gave up a goal late in a period.

The third period is not usually good for the Blues.  This was the exception.  Only one penalty was called this period – a high sticking call on Lehtinen after he clouted Mike Weaver – and it was to prove decisive.  A scramble in front of net and Colaiacovo dived to the puck and managed to score a powerplay goal.  Check out the highlights for his wonderful “rolling on the ice” celebration.

Okay, your game reports:

  • The Blues Official Site has the recap, highlights and interviews with Carlo Colaiacovo, TJ Oshie and Davis Payne. The Blues site also has highlights of the Paul Kariya 400th goal ceremony.
  • St Louis Game Time sum up the game as only they can.
  • Jeremy Rutherford of the Post Dispatch notes that the Blues faint playoff hopes continue with comments from Carlo Colaiacovo, Chris Mason and TJ Oshie.

So, the win leaves the Blues 4 points out…with 4 games left to play.  Today, Colorado play San Jose and Calgary play Chicago.  I know it goes against the grain but we have to hope for the Sharks and Blackhawks to win.