This all starts two weeks ago, during Hall of Fame weekend. The legendary Scotty Bowman is on hand since, at one time or another, he has coached three of the four inductees. Bowman is asked how many Hall of Famers he coached in his career, so he starts with the St. Louis Blues, who had Doug Harvey and Dickie Moore at the end of their careers, along with a goaltending tandem of Glenn Hall and Jacques Plante.
“They put up big numbers,” Bowman says. “They had 13 shutouts and only 157 goals against in 76 games. We had 22 one-goal games that year.”
Though the Blues have had to deal with a season’s worth of injuries before they had even reached the 20-game mark, St. Louis has managed to stay atop the Central Division. Through 20 games, the Blues have 27 points, just five back of the vastly improved Dallas Stars.
One major reason St. Louis has been able to keep pace in the Central is the play of goaltender Jake Allen. Allen, 25, entered the season with some uncertainty about where exactly he fit on the depth chart, but he’s battled against veteran Brian Elliott and it appears Allen is putting his stamp on the No. 1 job more and more each game. Case in point, this stop on Buffalo Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly.
With the Blues leading the Sabres 1-0 in the first frame, O’Reilly created havoc in front of the St. Louis goal and was able to knock a rebound loose. Allen was out of position when O’Reilly fired the rebound back towards the net, but a quick stick from Allen made sure the puck stayed out of the net: Read more
Another day, another St. Louis Blues player on the injured list.
The Blues, who have suffered injuries to a number of key players this season, may be without center Jori Lethera and defenseman Colton Parayko for Thursday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres, marking two more man games lost in what has been an injury-riddled season in St. Louis.
Lehtera took a stick in the throat from Brandon Saad in the first period Tuesday in the Blues game against the Columbus Blue Jackets and was ruled out of the remainder of the game. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford, Lethera was taken to hospital by ambulance, but his status was not updated post-game. Read more
St. Louis Blues rookie defenseman Colton Parayko has done everything that has been asked of him this season. Through 16 games, the 22-year-old blueliner has been a staple of the top-four on the blueline, has managed five goals and 11 points and has played steady minutes on the power play.
But Parayko is contributing on the defensive side of the puck, as well. And while his role since the return of Kevin Shattenkirk has been more limited, Parayko found a way to impress Thursday night, this time using his stick for something other than putting up points.
Seconds into the second frame, with the Blues already trailing 3-1, with goaltender Brian Elliott down and out, Parayko found himself chasing New York Rangers winger J.T. Miller to a loose puck. Miller beat Parayko and was able to get a shot off, but the freshman rearguard laid out and made a miraculous save with the shaft of his stick: Read more
St. Louis’ super sniper Vladimir Tarasenko signed an eight-year, $60-million contract in the off-season, and if ever you find yourself wondering what made the Blues right winger so valuable, just take a look at this video.
In Thursday’s tilt between the Blues and New York Rangers, St. Louis found themselves down by two goals heading into the second frame. But when Tarasenko has the puck on his stick, he can make things happen from just about anywhere on the ice. Case in point, Tarasenko picked up a pass that was mishandled by New York’s Viktor Stalberg, came streaking down the ice and ripped a wrist shot from the top of the left wing circle that no goaltender on earth, including Henrik Lundqvist, could have stopped: Read more
This is getting crazy already. Not even one quarter of the way through the season, New York Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist has made at least four or five saves that could stand as the save of the year. His latest robbery? A stick stop on St. Louis’ Alexander Steen.
Not even five minutes into the contest, Rangers center Derick Brassard found the back of the net behind Blues goaltender Jake Allen to give New York an early 1-0 lead. But less than one minute later, with St. Louis attacking, the Blues had a shot to tie it up thanks to a puck that fell fortuitously onto the tape of Steen. With Lundqvist down in his butterfly trying to block the shot from the blueline, he watched as Steen scooped the puck and turned to fire it into the empty net to Lundqvist’s right. And then the stick came down: Read more
One of the St. Louis Blues’ biggest downfalls in the past three post-seasons has been their goaltending. The Blues have had deep rosters, top-flight scoring and all the potential of a Stanley Cup contender, but their goaltending has failed them time and time again.
In the 2014-15 post-season, in a first round series against wild-card entrant Minnesota Wild, St. Louis was downed in six games in a shocking upset. Sure, the Wild were one of the hottest teams in the league, but the Blues were the top seed in the extremely tough Central Division. Some Blues fans considered a lack of goal scoring in the series what sent St. Louis packing in the opening round, but a combined .875 save percentage for goaltenders Jake Allen and Brian Elliott didn’t help matters.
It wasn’t much different in years prior, either. In 2013-14, the Blues went out and acquired Ryan Miller at the trade line. Miller proceeded to post a .897 SP as St. Louis was eliminated in six games. Elliott’s 2012-13 SP in the post-season was .919, which was 10th-best of the 13 netminders to play at least six games in the playoffs.
But Allen’s play has improved big time in 2015-16, and things could change in the post-season for St. Louis if he keeps this up. Read more
During what is now a Hall of Fame career, Nicklas Lidstrom garnered so much respect that he earned the nickname, The Perfect Human. Not The Perfect Hockey Player. Not The Perfect Defenseman. The Perfect Human. People called Chris Pronger lots of things during what is now a Hall of Fame career, too. None of them is suitable for publication on a website that might be viewed by young people. Many of those words begin with the letter ‘F’.
It was not easy to play the game the way Lidstrom did, but he made it look that way. Playing the game and preparing for it the way Lidstrom meticulously did and maintaining a ridiculously high standard on and off the ice presented its fair share of challenges. But it’s also not easy going to the opposing rink from the time you’re a kid and knowing that you’re going to be the most hated guy there. But like Lidstrom, Pronger embraced his role and status. Lidstrom wore the white hat and Pronger donned the black, and both of them managed to do it while becoming two of the most dominant defensemen of their generation.