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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.
He will play on a line with Stastny and Lindstrom.
First NHL teams looked at their kids. Then they gave depth guys their chance. Now coaches are locking in serious season preparation with their key players.
Blues forward will wear No. 17 to honor his late sister Mandi.
It’s time to put the excuses away for a few minutes. This team has to get better in the coming weeks and excuses are just slowing them down.
Injuries are devastating. If any two roster players go down with an injury, it will affect the team’s play. We all know this. We’ve all heard this from the Blues management, coaching staff, players, media, fans and custodial staff. I’m included somewhere in there.
It’s time to stop asking “Why is this happening?” and start asking “How can we fix it?”
After dropping their last game before the All-Star break to the Flames in an undesirable fashion (scoring on their own net has added a new element to the formula of losing), the Blues have gone winless in their last four games, and have won just twice since the start of the new year (2-9-2 record in January). This has caused the Blues to drop to 14th in the NHL standings, five points out of the 8th and final playoff spot. Something has to change.
Firing the head coach will put the team in the wrong direction. About 13 months ago, the Blues tried that. John Davidson let veteran coach Andy Murray go and brought in Davis Payne to lead this team to victory. It was working for awhile, but even that has gone sour. So blame Payne for that? No way. He is working with what he is given; it just so happens that what he is given is not producing.
Entering the game just one point behind the Flames for twelfth place in the Western Conference standings, the Blues dropped their fourth game in a row, which was also their tenth loss in 12 games.
Ty Conklin went between the pipes for the Blues, since Jaroslav Halak was lit up in Colorado Monday night. Tonight was not much better for the Blues’ back-up. He made 16 saves on 19 shots, while his counterpart, Miikka Kiprusoff, made 28 saves on 29 shots, including a dazzling stop on Alex Steen mid-way through the third period on the breakaway.
After a few chances early, the Flames scored the first goal… technically. While on the power-play, David Moss took a shot from the right wing boards and Conklin kicked the puck to the middle. Erik Johnson was there for the rebound, but inadvertently fired the puck into his own net. Moss’ 11th goal of the season gave the Flames a 1-0 lead at 5:34 of the first period.
The power-play chances just kept coming for Calgary.
The current NHL waivers system has to be changed. Blues President John Davidson has dealt with the absurdity of the rule first hand and his demands for change are right on the button.
Currently, the National Hockey League has a rule in place that states that if an NHL team signs a player that has played overseas after the start of the NHL regular season, that player must enter a 24-hour waiver period.
Davidson dealt with this twice, as his Blues saw two players nabbed away from thier grasp. First the team signed former-KHLer Marek Svatos to an NHL contract, but the Nashville Predators stepped in and picked him off waivers. Then the Blues signed another former-KHLer, Kyle Wellwood, but the San Jose Sharks took him off the market. Needless to say, Davidson was a tad-bit upset over his inability to control his own signings.
"I have no problems with the teams picking them because they didn't break a rule," Davidson said while being a guest on NHL Home Ice XM 204 on Tuesday. "The rule is what it is, but it could be tweaked.“It's hard to understand how you can take a player who is finished somewhere else, becomes available, and you do all the work. You do a formula to finding a contract, you make late-night phone calls, you get lawyers involved. Then you try to get him here, when nobody else had thought of it and the other team says 'Oh, I'm going to take that player.'"
Signing players to contract extensions does not always work out.
Exhibit A: Vincent Lecavalier. After scoring 40 goals and posting 92 points in 2007-08, the Tampa Bay Captain inked an 11-year, $85 million contract extension. Tampa was hoping for another fantastic season from the gifted center. Imagine the disappointment when he scored just 67 points the following season, 70 last season and is now on pace for just under 38 points this season.
Exhibit B: Rick DiPietro. After charging Team USA through the 2006 Olympic Games and playing stellar between the pipes on the Island, newly appointed General Manager Garth Snow signed DiPietro to a 15-year, $67.5 million contract in September of 2006. DiPietro played strong the following season, recording a .919 save percentage in 62 games. He played fairly well the following season, but the contract started looking like a bust soon after. Since the start of the 2008-09 season, DiPietro has played in just 30 NHL games. Injuries have taken over the player’s career not even halfway through his 15-year contract.
David Backes is not looking to be another contract extension punchline.
Davis Payne sure has proven that he is ready for the big time.
Just over a year ago, Blues Team President John Davidson announced that he had relieved Andy Murray of his coaching duties and replaced him with former Peoria Rivermen Head Coach Davis Payne. Davidson only had warm things to say about his new head coach.
"Davis is very knowledgeable of the players in our organization and we feel he is the best candidate to coach our team," Davidson said during the press conference.
So many questions followed; could Payne be ready for the NHL? Would the players respond well to a new NHL coach? Could this be the guy that could finally get the Blues over the hump and into a regular-playoff spot every season?
In his first outing as an NHL coach, Payne led his new team to a devastating 6-3 loss to the rival Chicago Blackhawks. The questions immediately rose regarding Payne’s ability to coach an NHL team.