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Category Archives: St Louis Blues

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Rumor: The Blues may be interested in goaltender Jimmy Howard

The St. Louis Blues may be looking to make their next major change. A new report from TSN insider Darren Dreger suggests the Blues are keeping a close eye on goaltender Jimmy Howard.
The report of the Blues keeping an eye on the trade market for a new goalie shouldn’t be surprising. Jake Allen has played better of late, but his reliability is a serious area of concern. Chad Johnson hasn’t done enough to prove he can handle any role outside of being a backup.
Could the Blues even afford to make this trade? Despite Howard playing in the final year of his current contract, the Red Wings should be able to demand a steep price. They’d likely want one of the Blues’ top prospects – Dreger mentions Robert Thomas or Jordan Kyrou as a point of reference – in any deal where they’d give up Howard.
Whether or not the Blues should trade for Howard or any goaltender might be a better question. It’s difficult to fairly analyze the team’s goaltending this season given how bad the defense has been in front of them. There’s no question that Allen and Johnson have left a lot to be desired. They have mostly failed to make the big save when it matters most. But, and this is a very important point to note, the defense is giving up Grade A chances on a regular basis. That’s a problem the Blues need to figure out before considering any big changes in goal.
Giving up talented prospects for something that may not solve the overall problem could be a long-term misstep.
Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Here, this scenario feels a lot like the days before the Ryan Miller trade. We all know how well that worked out.

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The Blues now have a formula to follow for success

Category : Blues , NHL , St Louis Blues

The St. Louis Blues played one of their best games of the season on Friday night against the Nashville Predators. The 6-2 victory featured the Blues finishing their checks, disrupting the opposing forwards in the neutral zone and sticking up for one another. Summarized, they did everything they need to do to find success in the NHL.
In the opening period the Blues finished more checks than they have all season long – combined. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much. It was refreshing to watch the Blues step through players rather than around them. Instead of freely giving up time and space, the Blues punished the Predators along the boards. Best of all, some of the biggest checks came from some unlikely sources – Alex Pietrangelo for instance.
The Blues also did a great job around the blue lines, both in their own zone and in the attacking zone. They made it tough for the Predators to gain the blue line by standing tall along it, knocking people around and forcing mistakes. On offense, they did a great job of winning the blue line either cleanly or by getting the puck in deep and actually winning it back.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, is the fact the Blues actually stood up for one another. When things started getting a bit chippy, the Blues rushed in to help their teammate. No one was left to battle on their own. That hasn’t been the case this season. The story was that of individuals. Against the Predators it actually looked like a team effort.
Ultimately, it’s just one game and one win. But, it’s a model the Blues can look back at and follow moving forward. It’s a definition of what needs to be done in order to succeed. It’s proof that this team can play at a high level and can be aggressive, physical and a lot of fun to watch.

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Jake Allen's injury isn't serious, Ville Husso sent down

Hopefully Ville Husso didn’t unpack. The St. Louis Blues have sent Husso back down to the AHL after calling him up just a couple days ago. The good news here, depending on who you ask, indicates that Jake Allen‘s injury isn’t too serious.
Previously, Allen was listed as day-to-day after a nasty collision with Zach Sanford that forced him to leave early against the Chicago Blackhawks. Now, it appears he’s healthy enough to play or to at least back Chad Johnson without any major concerns.

Allen said he's ready to go Thurs, but does not know if he's starting against Vegas. Said he did go through concussion protocol.
— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) October 31, 2018

Though Allen’s 3.99 GAA and .874 save percentage are a whole other topic worth ranting and getting sad about, the Blues would have been in a really tough spot if his injury required significant time. Putting your season on the back of Johnson and Husso is a risky proposition, especially when the defense looks like a confused group. Even the biggest Allen critics shouldn’t feel comfortable with that duo for a large chunk of the season.
Speaking of Husso, it’s not like he’s having better luck down in the AHL. He currently holds a 3.19 GAA and a .887 save percentage. Is there some sort of unwritten rule requiring Blues goaltenders to have a 3+ GAA?

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The St. Louis Blues are embarrassing themselves

Category : Blues , NHL , St Louis Blues

Statistically, this isn’t the worst start the St. Louis Blues could have had to start the 2018-19 season. It’s a sad state of affairs when that’s what we have to tell ourselves to feel better.
The Blues have stumbled out of the gate to the tune of an ugly 2-4-3 record. Immediately following their game on Thursday against the Columbus Blue Jackets, they’ve allowed the most third-period goals in the NHL (18) and the third-most total goals in the league (36). Their dismal defending has wiped out their decent offensive start (12th-best in the league).
About a week ago, I said that the Blues have to play more physical. That’s an extremely broad thing to say about a team loaded with issues, but it focuses more on the players supporting one another and actually showing some anger on the ice. We all know they need to be better on defense and actually hold a lead when they find one. At the very least, when everything is going wrong, the Blues have to still show some heart and stand up for each other. It’s ridiculous that there are multiple examples of a Blues player getting ran (the most recent being Oskar Sundqvist) and no one doing anything about it. Those examples do a nice job of telling the overall story. The Blues are spineless. They don’t look like a team.
Here’s where we are at after nine games.

Tarasenko: Feels like shit to play like this in front of our fans. We need to believe in ourselves again. #stlblues @KMOXSports
— Alex Ferrario (@FerrarioKMOX) October 26, 2018

Fans feel the same way about watching whatever it is the Blues call their current product on the ice. This sounds more like a team that’s about to start rebuilding, not one that had high expectations to start the season.
Is a coaching change imminent? It may not be immediate, but it’s not far off if this continues. The Blues overhauled their roster. A huge chunk of the players weren’t even on the team last season. There’s no excuse for them to be coming out with the same mental weaknesses that fans have seen year after year.
Yeo recognizes his job is on the line.

Yeo: “Heck my job should be in question right now. Of course that comes with the trade. But I’m not going to coach to try to save my job. I’m going to coach to try to win the Stanley Cup. I believe in this group so whatever we need every single day, I’m going to try to do that.”
— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) October 26, 2018

Some of Yeo’s decisions have been highly questionable. Why give Jay Bouwmeester important minutes when he’s clearly struggling? Why bench Vince Dunn earlier in the year when Dunn was one of the better defenders? Why does this team always look unprepared? Why do they get rattled so easily? Who do we blame for the lack of punch and the lack of fire on the ice? The answer almost always comes back to the head coach.
Meanwhile, attendance at the Enterprise Center wasn’t exactly thriving to start the year prior to things spinning out of control. These performances aren’t helping. Look for plenty of empty seats (and rows) over the next couple home games.
In a league where making the playoffs and missing out can be decided by a point or two (Exhibit A – the Blues last season), the Blues are digging themselves into an early hole. That’s a big deal, but it wouldn’t feel quite as depressing if they weren’t embarrassing themselves out on the ice.

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Robby Fabbri nearing a return, sent to AHL for conditioning

Robby Fabbri has been sent down to the AHL to join the San Antonio Rampage on a conditioning assignment. Fabbri, who hasn’t skated in a game since February 2017, will use his time in the AHL as the final test for his knee before returning to the NHL.
Last year, Fabbri injured his left knee and was forced to miss the entire 2017-18 season. At 22, he has already shown glimpses of some high-level offensive talent. Unfortunately, injuries have continually delayed and hindered his progress. The Blues signed him to a one-year, $925,000 “prove-yourself” contract over the summer that grants Fabbri the opportunity to show he can contribute and stay healthy. The first major test will be down in the AHL.
To make room for Fabbri when he’s ready, the Blues sent down Sammy Blais to the AHL. Blais appeared in eight games, failing to record a point while leading the team with 26 hits.

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Video: Ryan O'Reilly scores his first goal with the Blues

The St. Louis Blues picked up a needed win on the road in Toronto, beating the Maple Leafs by a 4-1 score. One of the highlights of the game, which there were actually several to pick from, was Ryan O’Reilly picking up his first goal with the Blues.
Watch as O’Reilly scores his first of the season.

It wasn’t the prettiest of goals, but it was one that fits O’Reilly nicely. He found space in front of the net, crashed in and found the back of the net. Against the Maple Leafs, he ended the night with a goal, an assist and a +3 plus/minus.
On the year, O’Reilly has been quietly producing. Through seven games, he now has one goal and six assists for a total of seven points. If you’re keeping track at home, O’Reilly is now tied for the team lead with David Perron with seven points. It’s fairly noteworthy that two of the newcomers (it still feels weird to say that about Perron) are carrying the team’s offense.
Things clicked for the Blues against the Maple Leafs, particularly on defense as they shut down one of the league’s best offenses. That included some strong play with the forwards, including O’Reilly, who assisted in jamming the middle.
Many more goals and highlights from O’Reilly to come.

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If you haven't heard the new Blues goal song, here it is

Category : Blues , NHL , St Louis Blues , The Urge

The St. Louis Blues introduced a new goal song for the 2018-19 season. Calling on The Urge, a band from St. Louis, the Blues wanted something new that could play after the iconic sounds of the organ.
The Urge delivered, and what you hear below is about what you’d hear at the Enterprise Center. The video isn’t perfect in terms of transitions and audio levels, but it’s close.

Summarized, the Blues have the same goal horn and organ music as always, but they’ve added in the new song from The Urge.
From what I’ve seen/heard, fans seem to be enjoying it. A large number are already yelling “hey!” along with the song. Few, if any, are chanting along with the “Let’s go Blues” portion, however.
All in all, I’d call it a fair compromise. The Blues were able to add something new while maintaining the tradition of the organ. The Urge were able to come up with something upbeat and catchy that’s not overly annoying. That’s a tough task and they nailed it.
What do you think?

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The Blues are allowing an obscene number of shots

Category : Blues , Jake Allen , NHL , St Louis Blues

The St. Louis Blues dropped another game against the Chicago Blackhawks, falling to 1-1-2 on the year. Through four games, the Blues have given up a ton of shots. They’ve allowed an average of 34.8 shots per game, which is the fifth-most in the NHL prior to any action on Sunday.
Despite allowing so many shots, the Blues are still narrowly averaging more shots forced per game. They’ve produced 35.5 shots per game, but the issue on defense remains despite the strong shot generation.
Historically, the Blues are off to a real rocky start when it comes to defending.

St Louis Blues have allowed 139 Shots on Goal through 4 games this season.
That is the 3rd highest total through 1st four games in Franchise history.
1978-79 – 151 Shots Against2017-18 – 148 SA2018-19 – 139 SA
2 of the 3 highest totals are Mike Yeo teams.#stlblues
— STL Blues History (@STLBlueshistory) October 14, 2018

As STL Blues History noted on Twitter, two of the three worst starts in terms of shots allowed in the first four games have come under Mike Yeo. That should stir up plenty of coaching questions.
The stats above should be used on any fans who are placing all of the blame on Jake Allen. No one should claim Allen has been great or even good this year (a 4.13 GAA and .878 save percentage is tough to defend), but it’s clear this is more of a team-wide issue than some would choose to believe. That’s an unacceptable number of shots to allow.
So, how do the Blues right the ship? For starters, it would help to have some sort of consistency on defense. The Blues have had rotating groups on defense, with new faces popping in and out of the lineup. It’s tough to build chemistry between defensive pairs when they’re constantly changing.
They also need to do a better job of blocking shots. Through four games, they’ve blocked just 55 shots as a team. That’s tied for the 22nd in the NHL, which is kind of a sad number when you consider just how many shots the team has faced. Everyone needs to help Allen out by trying to cut down on the number of shots he’s seeing.
Keep an eye on this story. The Blues, and any goaltender that the team rolls out, will struggle until the team figures out how to improve on defense.

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Robert Thomas is living in Keith Tkachuk's basement

Robert Thomas is one of the young skaters who cracked the opening night roster for the St. Louis Blues. At 19, he has been given the opportunity to show he belongs in the NHL.
While making his move into the NHL, he also made a move into a familiar name’s basement – Keith Tkachuk. The Tkachuk family and Blues GM Doug Armstrong thought it’d be a good idea for the young Thomas to start his career in a friendly, welcoming hockey environment.
Tkachuk’s comments via the Blues’ website:
“I know what it was like at that age when I was a young guy being on my own in the NHL. Together with Doug Armstrong, we thought it would be a good idea to have Robby come live with us. These kids aren’t equipped yet to take care of themselves, so we thought it would be a good idea to take him in and make him part of the family.”
At 19, it’d be asking a lot of Thomas to find his way both through living on his own in a new city and figuring out the NHL. For Tkachuk, this is just another player who has shared his home. Previously, David Backes and Lee Stempniak stayed with the Tkachuks when they came up to the Blues.
Thomas was also already familiar with the Tkachuk family, as his own family hosted Matthew Tkachuk and Brady Tkachuk when they trained in Toronto during the offseason.
Speaking of Matthew, what advice did he have for Thomas when he moved in?
“Stay out of his chair and don’t touch the controller.”
This is a great story. The Blues pride themselves in how their alumni stay connected with the team long after their playing days are over. Over the years, numerous players have returned to become coaches or assistants, while some like Tkachuk help out in even more personal ways.

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Blues already facing tough questions, including attendance

Category : Blues , NHL , St Louis Blues

The St. Louis Blues are 0-1-1 to start a 2018-19 season where they entered with enormous expectations. The season is still young (extremely young), but there are already some pressing questions surrounding the team. Allowing 10 goals in two contests will do that. Those questions are about the team’s defense, goaltending and their early attendance.
When you allow 10 goals in two games, there’s a lot of things going wrong across the roster. Many will quickly blame goaltender Jake Allen, who does deserve some of the blame, but so too does the defense who allowed the breakaways and open opportunities in the first place. There’s plenty of blame to go round. Isolating that blame down to one individual player is overlooking what’s really going on, and risks oversimplifying the situation. Would a new goalie really perform better when the defense isn’t coming back? Or when they give the puck away in dangerous areas? Probably not.
Many of the team’s veterans haven’t been too sharp to start the year. Many of the players who are usually very reliable with the puck have been making some questionable decisions. Most of these items can be overlooked if the Blues turn things around quickly, but they’re still worth noting.
Simplified, this wasn’t the start Blues fans expected or wanted.
Then there’s attendance. The Blues have a building with a ton of new renovations and a roster that should be pretty exciting. That hasn’t been enough to bring in the crowds. Saturday night’s home game against the Chicago Blackhawks should have packed the Enterprise Center. Instead, it reportedly brought in only 17,249 fans – well below the 18,400 capacity. The second home game of the season (which was on a weekend, no less) failing to sell out is pretty bad. The fact it didn’t sell out against the team’s biggest rival is worse. You can’t blame the Cardinals this time.
Realistically, casual fans who haven’t followed the summer’s transactions too closely may want the Blues to prove that they’re a new team. After missing the playoffs, the old “Show-Me” slogan appears to be alive and well. Fans want some confirmation this team is different. Through two games, the roster is making some all-too familiar mistakes despite having lots of new faces.

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