The 60-player roster has been split into two teams.
Training camp kicks off with many players back, but Hitchcock says 'full-on competition' is there.
Coach promises to place greater emphasis on checking.
Blues hold the leverage over their budding young star — and GM Doug Arnstrong will use it.
Hitchcock says it's a chance for the club to look at young players in a key role.
You may have seen my first proposal. I had the idea to just go the easier route and make fewer complications for the NHL Board of Governors. I figured that the less work done on a new divisional alignment plan, the less time it would take for NHL fans to understand the new concept.
Since that time, I have received a lot of feedback on what a new alignment should look like, as well as ramblings of fans from certain cities who are asking for better travel for their clubs.
Needless to say, I have caved in and seen the error of my ways.
We all got an idea of what NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman wants when he made it public in July that this current alignment just no longer works. He wants four divisions opposed to six, also alluding to the possibility of a return of divisional playoffs.
A four-division set-up would mean that the divisions would not be as equal as they are now. Currently, the NHL has two conferences and six divisions. Within each conference, there are three divisions. Within each division, there are five teams.
A two conference – four division set-up would call for uneven divisions. Two divisions would have eight teams and two divisions would have seven teams.
As I am sure all of Blues Nation already knows, the Blues relieved Head Coach Davis Payne of his coaching duties and replaced him with NHL coaching veteran Ken Hitchcock. On the outside looking in, this looks like a smart move. The Blues have posted a dismal 6-7-0 record this season, with players like Chris Stewart (3 points) and Patrik Berglund (5 points) off to very slow starts. But do the numbers really justify this move?
If you are a member of Blues management, you may not like my answer to this question.
Payne, who posted a winning record with the Blues (67-55-15), was hired in January 2010 and coached just one full season with the NHL club. Payne replaced former Head Coach Andy Murray after it was apparent that the Blues roster was not responding to his coaching techniques. Now with Payne in Murray’s shoes, everyone wonders if it was the same situation this time around.
It was not. Payne was getting results. There were other members of the organization who were not.
Our friends over at St. Louis Game Time posted an article Monday afternoon about how Payne was not the one who should have been let go. Instead, they suggested that assistant coaches Brad Shaw and Ray Bennett should have received the axe. This is a correct assumption.
This short article is in response to the article posted at Kukla's Korner in the Abel to Yzerman blog on 11/4/11.
I suggest you read that article first before reading this one...not that I want to send traffic to that blog...but I'll ask you guys to stomach it before reading this.
Ok...how was it?
Yeah, I thought the same thing. Sorry you had to suffer through it.
In this article, I'm not going to ask for "a solid" because that's just a douchebag thing to say. (Who talks like that?)
What I am going to say in response to his question of "How do I write about a team playing so badly?" is this...
For years, LetsGoBlues.com has been your home for an interactive discussion board for all fans to participate. We have been your #1 stop for news and analysis provided by you, the fans!
Last season, LetsGoBlues.com creator Curt Price invited me to provide some of my work on the front page. I was very happy to do it and have no regrets on my decision.
As if that was not enough, Curt and myself joined Jeff Quirin of BlueNoteZone.com to create STLBluesRadio.com, the only podcast dedicated solely to the St. Louis Blues hockey team. Seven episodes in, we have enjoyed reading your comments and feedback about the show. It seems that this is something the three of us will want to continue far into the future.
With all of this added responsibility, Curt and I have found it very difficult to keep pace with content on the front page of LetsGoBlues.com. Our free-time is at an all-time minimum and we are looking to help relieve some of the pressure to stay constant.
This is where you come in. LetsGoBlues.com is officially looking for 1-2 more writers for the front page. I will tell you now that LetsGoBlues.com prides itself on having a little edgier and more humorous content; while we still do not want to "bash" the Blues, we like to dive deeper than your mainstream media. Basically, we want content on the front page that you may not read anywhere else. Keep in mind that game recaps, in-game blogs, player news and team sale news are a big focus for LetsGoBlues.com ((as any news site or blogging site).
Usually, giving up 4 goals in a night is not a good sign for a goaltender.
I present to you the very rare exception. Jaroslav Halak, who gave up 4 goals on 30 Oiler shots in St. Louis’ 4-2 loss Sunday night in Edmonton, saw his first start in 12 calendar days. The reason for this is that backup Brian Elliott has been lights-out in net while Halak has struggled out of the gate. Elliott was undefeated until his first loss as a Blue came Friday night in Calgary.
Halak came back with a vengeance Sunday, showing why he is still considered the #1 goaltender in St. Louis.
4 goals-allowed or not, Halak played a well-rounded game. The biggest saves that he made were at key situations in the game.
The first memorable save came after Barret Jackman threw the puck up the middle, causing a turnover. Oilers forward Ben Eager one-timed the puck after it hit off of a skate. Halak was alert and caught the puck in his chest to cover up for the face-off. This kept the game at 3-1 Oilers.
After the Blues’ penalty kill allowed yet another power-play goal to make the game 4-1, the Oilers broke in on defenseman Roman Polak with a 2-on-1 late in the second period. Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle was able to get a pass to teammate Taylor Hall, who one-timed the shot. Halak got over and kicked the puck out while sprawling on the ice. The Blues already had a treacherous mountain to climb; if Halak allows that goal, the Blues were standing at the bottom of Mount Everest without any sherpas to help them along.