Category Archives: NHL
The 2015-16 season should be considered a monumental success by the St. Louis Blues, and their fan base. They advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in more than a decade. More importantly, under the Ken Hitchcock regime, the Blues advanced past the first round since the first year of his tenure.
Defeating the Chicago Blackhawks in seven thrilling games of the first round was a big accomplishment to a team led for several years by captain David Backes. Many, including GM Doug Armstrong, think the team has plenty of room to improve and go even deeper next year. The Blues still are hunting for that elusive first Stanley Cup.
Going into the offseason, Armstrong was faced with multiple difficult decisions. Captain Backes was a free agent, and so was gritty and clutch winger Troy Brouwer. The consensus seemed to be that the team could afford one but not both. But in a surprising turn of events on July 1st, both forwards departed, signing deals with Boston (Backes) and Calgary (Brouwer). On top of that, G Brian Elliott was traded to the Flames for draft picks.
To replace the lost offensive production of those two forwards, Armstrong brought back winger David Perron on a two year contract. He represents a skill upgrade over Brouwer. Perron will likely slot in on the right side of the second line.
Teams that bow out in the mid rounds of the playoffs usually try to add pieces in order to get over the hump. But the Blues have lost three major pieces and added just one. Armstrong and Hitchcock are banking on the continued development, and increased production, from young forwards Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz & Robby Fabbri. Indeed, other forwards will need to step up as well, not just on the scoresheet, but in the toughness department, to fill in for what Backes and Brouwer took with them to their new teams.
So what will Blues fans see in 2016-17? That remains to be seen, but the future seems to be bright. New captain Alex Pietrangelo certainly hopes to be the first captain to hoist the Cup for St. Louis.
On June 29th, New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero pulled off a blockbuster move that sent defenseman Adam Larsson to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for forward Taylor Hall. The general consensus amongst those in the Devils community feel that the move was a necessary one and will play a role in bringing Jersey’s Team back into the playoff fold. But just what can fans truly expect to get out of the young Hall? (more…)
The Carolina Hurricanes are having another rough season. For a few seasons now fans in Raleigh have had to hear the same refrain of weak optimism: there’s young talent on deck, management is willing to spend, and better times lie ahead. But through coaching changes, strong draft picks, and a few years of waiting, the Canes just don’t seem to have gotten much better. Despite having played nearly .500 hockey of late, Carolina rests in seventh place in the division with a losing record (as of the time of this writing) of 16-17-7.
The All Star Weekend for the NHL is a time when most players can spend much needed moments with family and friends and rest up for the final last push of the regular season. There are a select few however, who are chosen to take part in the All Star Game festivities such as the skills competition, rookie showcase and the actual game. But is it time a new voting format should be introduced that takes the power out of the hands of the fan? (more…)
The Ducks lost in their first taste of 3-on-3 overtime against the Colorado Avalanche, 5-4. They look to rebound tonight (9/25) against the arch-rival Kings. Here are three things to be on the lookout for.
The days of Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek of the early 2000′s are now a distant memory for Buffalo Sabres fans, many who have stayed faithful to their team through their struggles recently. At one point they were widely considered one of the best teams in the NHL, but never seemed to be able to put things together when it came time for the playoffs. With their teams core coming of age all at the same time the sabres were forced to dealoff some of their key pieces in order to sign big names like Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller. But now they are gone and it is time to put the past behind them, after two years in the basement in the NHL it looks like there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Rick Rypien was a NHL player most hockey fans knew because of the fights he fought on the ice during games. He was one of the leagues toughest enforcers. No one, except for a few people he opened up to knew of the fight he was putting up with off the ice, battling with depression. (more…)