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He feels good about first time in game this season.
Gunnarsson's availability for the regular-season opener seems to be throwing a wrench in the plans.
Blues put Mueller, Prosser on waivers.
Hall of Famer will be a sounding board for Hitchcock and also work with the club's minor-league affiliate.
The lineup Hitchcock put on the ice vs. Carolina is close to the one he’ll have on opening day.
The NHL has their awards so why can’t the Blues have their own? Instead of competing with all 30 teams, the Blues will be battling within the organization to win these awards.
The names of these awards are named after past great Blues. Obviously, everyone cannot be named after Brett Hull and Bernie Federko, so bear with me.
Bernie Federko Trophy (most points) – David Backes (62)
Garry Unger Trophy (most goals scored) – David Backes (31)
Chris Pronger Award (best plus/minus) – David Backes (+32)
Brian Sutter Award (best coach) – Davis PayneThis really is a no-brainer… not because he was extraordinary, but because there is no other choice. Payne posted a 38-33-11 record as the Blues’ head coach this season, placing the Blues in eleventh place in the Western Conference. The positive? He had a very broken team all season that still showed up to compete most nights. When both David Perron and T.J. Oshie were both out of the lineup (including Andy McDonald, Roman Polak, Barret Jackman and others during the stretch), the Blues still posted a 12-15-4 record. While under .500, it is quite the feet when considering that the Blues became the St. Louis Rivermen for a short while.
Detroit was the first to clinch a first-round victory, sweeping the Phoenix Coyotes in four games. Nashville won their first ever playoff series, beating the Anaheim Ducks in six games. Chicago came roaring back from a 3-0 series deficit against Vancouver and forced a game seven, only to lose in overtime. And don’t forget Columbus, who finished last in the division and 16 points out of a playoff spot. Where does that leave the Blues?
With all of the success of the Central Division, the Blues and Blue Jackets have to feel out of the picture. The Blues, who finished ten points out of a playoff spot, still battled against these surging teams in the regular season.
The Blues have proven that they can beat winners. The Blues had a winning record against their Central Division foes this season, going 12-8-4 (the Blues received 28 out of a possible 48 points). They had three Central Division games in a row spanning from December 23 – 28 against the Red Wings, Predators and Blackhawks. The Blues won all three games, outscoring their opponents 9-4 and recording one shutout.
The best performances probably came in the six games played against the Nashville Predators. The Blues went 4-1-1 against the Predators, scoring 14 total goals and allowing just eight goals. Jaroslav Halak shut-out the Predators on three different occasions, which is quite the accomplishment when considering that Nashville finished the first round in six games, yet still are tied for the lead in playoff goals-scored (22 goals for). Simply put: Nashville will score goals when the game counts.
The Blues’ distant future looks very bright. The immediate future could use some work, though.
With the playoffs in full swing, it gives teams like the Blues time to look over their roster a little more closely and decide what is needed for the coming season.
With T.J. Oshie and David Backes leading the offense and Jaroslav Halak the goalie expected to do it all, that leaves one question; who is leading this young defense?
Alex Pietrangelo made a name for himself last year; if not for an archaic NHL rule, he would be up the Calder Trophy as NHL Rookie of the Year. But at the young age of 21, it is tough to assume that this guy can play against the top lines of opposing teams and shut them down every night. He, like Shattenkirk, Nikitin and Cole, needs a veteran defenseman who can show him a few tricks.
Roman Polak is hardly a veteran at this point in his career and Carlo Colaiacovo is steady but is not a guy that can take the reigns and steer the young defense on the ice.
For the fifth time in six seasons, the St. Louis Blues failed to make the NHL playoffs. With that kind of mark, it may be tough for fans to see the positives that stem from their beloved team. This is where I come in.
The Blues finished the 2010-11 season Saturday night with a 2-0 win over the Nashville Predators. Going 38-33-11, the Blues amassed 87 points which placed them in eleventh place in the Western Conference standings. The Blues do finish with three fewer points than last season; however, there were some bright spots.
The number one question heading into this season was how the Blues would find a way to score goals. Paul Kariya and Keith Tkachuk left the roster and management did little to fill their spots. It seems that they did not need to.
Brought in at the trade deadline last season, Matt D’Agostini was the biggest surprise on the roster. D’Agostini, who’s career-high in goals was 12 in 2008-09 with the Montreal Canadiens, shattered his old mark and put up 21 goals this season. D’Agostini found himself on the top line many games this season, showcasing his strength and fancy puck work. D’Agostini was also the workhorse of the team, joining David Backes as the only two Blues who played in all 82 games this season.
The Blues welcomed back three players who have been out of the lineup for multiple games. Fan-favorite T.J. Oshie was returning from a team suspension (2 games), and forward Alex Steen (10 games) and defenseman Barret Jackman (10 games) were returning from injuries. The Blues also saw a big milestone reached by David Backes.
Backes scored at 14:27 of the second period, which was his 100th career NHL goal after a nice pass from Kevin Shattenkirk. The goal was Backes’ 29th of the season.
The Blues added a goal from Matt D’Agostini, who had the first goal of the game and broke Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff’s Blues shutout streak of 144:41. The power-play goal was assisted by Backes and Shattenkirk and was D’Agostini’s 21st goal of the season.
But it was not enough as the Blues could not hold their lead and fell to the Flames 3-2 in regulation.