November 16, 2010

DENVER - APRIL 29:  T.J. Hensick #37 of the Colorado Avalanche prepares to face off against the Detroit Red Wings in Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2008 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 29, 2008 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. The Red Wings defeated the Avalanche 4-3 to take a 3-0 lead in the series.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The Blues have assigned Nick Drazenovic to Peoria and recalled TJ Hensick. Hensick has registered 6 goals and 9 assists in 13 games so far for the Rivermen this season. The Blues need more scoring so it makes sense to call up Hensick and see what he can do.

Carlo Colaiacovo and Brad Winchester are now off IR.


David Backes signs 5 year extension

November 12, 2010

St. Louis Blues David Backes (42) falls backwards over Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne of Finland in the first period at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on March 21, 2010. UPI/Bill Greenblatt Photo via Newscom

It’s perfect timing for the Blues. The day after David Backes scored his first goal in 11 games, the Blues announce that they have re-signed him to a 5 year contract extension. The contract is worth $22.5million – $4.5million average.

This is the announcement from the Blues Official Site:

St. Louis Blues Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced Friday the club has signed forward David Backes to a five-year contract extension.

“David could have been an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season and we are excited that he has made the long term commitment to the Blues organization,” said Armstrong. “The way he handles himself on and off the ice represents what the Blues are all about.”

“I am ecstatic to have this deal signed and to be a Blue for many years to come,” said Backes. “My wife and I love this city and these fans have been nothing but great to us. This is a great organization to play for, from top to bottom, and we expect to be a top team in this league.”

Backes, 26, is currently in his fifth NHL season, all with the Blues, and has recorded six points (two goals and four assists) to go along with 32 penalty minutes in 14 games. In 2009-10, the 6’3, 225-pound forward etched career highs in both hits (266) and assists (31) while tying for second on the team in both points (48) and assists in 79 games played.

Also last season, Backes was selected to represent the United States at the 2010 Winter Olympics, notching a goal and two assists in six games, helping Team USA capture the Silver Medal. In 2008-09, he had a career high 31 goals, 54 points and 165 penalty minutes including a goal and two assists in four playoff games. That year, Backes became the sixth player in Blues’ history to score four goals in a game on April 2, 2009 at Detroit (5-4 W).

In addition, along with Alex Ovechkin, he was one of two NHL players to register over 30 goals and 200 hits and the only player in 2008-09 to score over 30 goals and serve more than 150 penalty minutes. During his five-year career, Backes has appeared in a total of 296 games, amassing 162 points on 73 goals and 89 assists to go along with 439 penalty minutes.

The Minneapolis, Minnesota native was originally drafted by the Blues in the second round, 62nd overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

Injury Update

November 12, 2010

CHICAGO - OCTOBER 18: T.J. Oshie  of the St. Louis Blues looks to pass against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on October 18, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Blues 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Blues have announced that TJ Oshie will miss a minimum of three months following his ankle surgery yesterday. Doug Armstrong said that the Blues would not “immediately” look outside the organisation.

In Jeremy Rutherford’s weekly chat, he gave a brief timetable for return on the Blues’ injured stars:

Perron – didn’t skate today. I would think he’s doubtful for Saturday and Monday. Could come back next week at the earliest.
Colaiacovo – skated today. Told reporters he might be available Monday.
Winchester – skated briefly today. Still day to day, but doubtful this weekend.
Jackman: Thanksgiving at the earliest. The Blues said he would be re-evaluated then, not necessarily ready.
Polak: 6-8 more weeks.

Predators 3 – Blues 2 (S/O)

November 12, 2010

BOSTON - NOVEMBER 06: Matt D'Agostini  of the St. Louis Blues passes the puck in the first period against the Boston Bruins on November 6, 2010 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Well, this was better from the Blues. A much better game from them following the 8-1 defeat by the Blue Jackets. They were faster – much more organised.

The Blues had the better first period – outshooting the Predators by 9-4 and David Backes gave the Blues the lead with his first goal in 11 games following very good work from Andy McDonald. The second period however, saw the Predators come back and outshoot the Blues 10-3. It really was only a matter of time before they tied the game. A shot from Sullivan was parried by Halak and then O’Reilly popped it into the net.

In the third, a great pass from Berglund put D’Agostini in the clear and he shot past Rinne to give the Blues the lead again. What a find D’Agostini has been – leading the Blues in goals with 6 on the season. Then, a silly goal and the game was tied again. The puck came off the back boards and Dumont tapped it past a surprised Halak.

The game going to overtime and then a shootout – Blues fans must have been feeling pretty confident. D’Agostini and O’Reilly both scored – and then the surprise: Brad Boyes didn’t score. Neither did Andy McDonald or Patrik Berglund. Finally, Marcel Goc tied it up for the Predators with a neat move past Halak.

Could have been better – but could have been worse. Both Drazenovic and Porter had solid games so things are not all bad!

Blues 1 – Blue Jackets 8

November 11, 2010

 COLUMBUS,OH - NOVEMBER 10: Alex Pietrangelo  of the St. Louis Blues helps teammate T.J. Oshie  of the St. Louis Blues leave the ice after he was injured during the third period against the Columbus Blue Jackets on November 10, 2010 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus defeated St. Louis 8-1. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)

Ouch.  The Blues came back down to earth not with a bump but with the force of an impacting asteriod. They had no energy, no passion, they were slow, sluggish and listless – with endless turnovers and seemingly no cohesion.

The rot started right away – with the Blue Jackets scoring three goals in the first period. So, 3-0 at the end of period 1; 6-1 at the end of period 2 and 8-1 by the time the game ended. The Blue Jackets had breakaways and there was a fluky goal that hit Halak’s skate and popped into the net. Halak was pulled after giving up 4 goals on 15 shots but Conklin didn’t fare much better, giving up 4 goals on 20 shots. The Blues defense was almost non-existent – as mentioned before, an appalling number of turnovers, sloppy play and hardly any forechecking or backchecking contributed to this dire loss.

In the third period, the Blues had both Janssen and Boyes ejected from the game as they tried desperately to haul back a little bit of respect. Of course, it just had to get EVEN worse. With just over 10 minutes left to play in the game, TJ Oshie was helped off the ice after becoming involved in one of the many scrums that littered the game. Pahlsson fell on top of Oshie who landed awkwardly – it was later revealed that TJ Oshie has broken his ankle and may have to undergo surgery. This is a very bitter blow for a Blues team already decimated by injuries.

Eric Brewer and Erik Johnson were both -3 on the night – as was Andy McDonald who managed 6 shots. McDonald, Boyes and Backes really need to pick up their pace. McDonald has 2 goals and 3 assists on the season, Backes has 1 goal and 4 assists and Brad Boyes, whilst money in the shootout, has 1 goal and 4 assists. These three HAVE to lead by example now – there is no excuse.

Nick Drazenovic has been called up from Peoria and expect another call up during the day. Winchester could be close to returning but Perron is still suffering from headaches relating to the Joe Thornton hit.

The Blues play Nashville at Scottrade tonight – let’s see if this game was a temporary blip…or the shape of things to come.

UPDATE: Blues have recalled Chris Porter along with Nick Drazenovic from Peoria.

Record Breaking Blues…

November 8, 2010

BOSTON - NOVEMBER 06: Jaroslav Halak  of the St. Louis Blues celebrates the win with teammates Cam Janssen  and Alexander Steen  after the shootout against the Boston Bruins on November 6, 2010 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Blues defeated the Bruins 2-1 in an overtime shootout. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

A great start to the season for the Blues and a number of “firsts” being registered by the team:

  • Ty Conklin saved 27 shots last night to give the Blues their first ever shutout against the New York Rangers.
  • The Blues now have 4 shutouts over 12 games.  Halak has 3 and Conklin has 1 – a new team record.
  • The Blues are currently on a 7 game winning streak.  The previous highest win streak was 9 games in 2002.
  • The Blues start of 9-1-2 is a franchise record over 12 games.
  • Brad Boyes currently leads the NHL in shootout goals.

Other highlights include:

  • Alex Pietrangelo’s first multipoint game with two assists against San Jose.
  • Vladimir Sobotka scored his first goal as a Blue – against his former team, Boston Bruins.
  • Jaroslav Halak has twice been named an NHL Star of the Week and currently has won 8 out of 10 games played with a .944 SV% and 1.46 GAA.  He is currently 1st in number of wins and number of shutouts (tied with Tim Thomas).

Blues Official Site

Blues 2 – Rangers 0

November 8, 2010

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 07: Ty Conklin  of the St. Louis Blues makes a save against The New York Rangers during their game on November 7, 2010 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

If one Blues goalie doesn’t get you, then the other will.  With Jaroslav Halak taking a well deserved game off, Ty Conklin got the start in New York.  The Rangers are a team the Blues had never shutout.  Until last night, that is. Ty Conklin stopped 27 shots and Alex Steen scored twice as the Blues continued their incredible run with a 7th straight win.

David Perron was still unfit so Davis Payne rolled out the same team as he had against Boston with 7 defensemen and 11 forwards. The first period was slanted towards the Blues as they outshot their opponents 14-8. The Blues had two powerplays – which, quite frankly, looked awful. No creativity, no speed, nothing unexpected. However, it was the Rangers who went in at intermission believing they should be a goal ahead. The puck was flipped high and into the Blues zone, Nikitin appeared to slightly hit it with his stick so the official put his hand up, signalling a penalty. Alex Frolov evaded Nikitin and, as Conklin tried to pokecheck the puck away, the whistle blew and then Frolov sent it into the net. Officials had blown the play dead as soon as Conklin touched the puck for the earlier high sticking penalty.

The second period saw the Blues give up two penalties and end up being outshot 7-5. The game had slowed…the Blues looked a bit tired but still stuck to their game plan. All in all though, the second period was a bit of a borefest. There was one lively moment – and that was when Alex Steen profited from a 3 on 2 breakaway and scored his second of the season past Biron in the Rangers goal.

In the third period, the Blues were outshot again by 12-3. The Blues spent an awful lot of time in their own zone especially as, following a boarding call on BJ Crombeen, the Blues had to kill off a five minute penalty. Kill it they did – and with some aplomb. They were only threatened a few times on the penalty kill. Alex Steen once again wrapped it up with an empty net goal with 3 seconds remaining in the game.

A 7 game winning streak for the Blues sees them currently on top of the league with a fantastic 9-1-2 record. Two back to back road game wins despite missing 5 first team players. A great achievement. Nick Drazenovic didn’t get a game and has today been sent back to Peoria.