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2014 NHL playoffs preview: St. Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks

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Andrew Shaw of the Chicago Blackhawks and Ryan Miller of the St. Louis Blues

With the Blues in free fall, the pressure will be on goalie Ryan Miller (39) against the Blackhawks. (Getty Images)

By Brian Hamilton

Regular season recaps

 Oct. 9: Blues 3, Blackhawks 2

Oct. 17: Blues 3, Blackhawks 2 (OT)

Dec. 28: Blues 6, Blackhawks 5 (OT)

March 19: Blackhawks 4, Blues 0

April 6: Blackhawks 4, Blues 2

Notable injuries

Blues: C David Backes (foot, day to day), C Patrik Berglund (upper body, out indefinitely), LW Brenden Morrow (broken foot, out indefinitely), RW Vladimir Tarasenko (fractured right hand; out indefinitely), RW T.J. Oshie (upper body, expected to return for Game 1)

Blackhawks: C Jonathan Toews (upper body, expected to return for Game 1), RW Patrick Kane (knee, expected to return for Game 1)

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  • Published On Apr 15, 2014
  • NHL suspends Mike Rupp of Minnesota Wild four games for Oshie head shot

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    By Allan Muir

    It didn’t take long for the NHL’s new chief disciplinarian to make his mark.

    Appointed to fill the void created by the departure of Brendan Shanahan to the Maple Leafs earlier Friday, Stephane Quintal made a good call in handing Minnesota Wild forward Mike Rupp a four-game suspension for an illegal check to the head of St. Louis forward T.J. Oshie on Thursday night.

    The suspension includes the Wild’s final regular-season game and their first three playoff games. Considering what Rupp brings to the table, it might have been more punitive to make him skate a regular shift in those games, but you know these things work.

    It was a pretty clear-cut case for Quintal and his staff. Not only was the hit late, but Oshie’s head was the primary point of contact. As the league’s Patrick Burke points out in the video, Rupp was obligated to hit him cleanly and within a reasonable amount of time after Oshie dished off the puck. Since Rupp did neither, there wasn’t a lot of latitude for leniency here.

    The one bright spot for Rupp: he sacrifices just one game’s salary ($7,692.31) to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund because players are only paid through the end of the regular season.

    Nice job here by the new crew. I hate to have to retire “Shanabanned,” but as long as the boys in New York dole out the discipline appropriately, we’re ready to make that sacrifice.

    Captain Quintal, the NHL’s new chief disciplinarian takes over:


  • Published On Apr 11, 2014
  • Blues’ T.J. Oshie injured after high hit from Minnesota’s Mike Rupp

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     Bruce Kluckhohn/Getty Images

    It’s not yet known how long T.J. Oshie will be out as the Blues prepare for a postseason run. (Getty Images)

    By Mike McMahon

    St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie was forced out of Thursday night’s game against the Wild by a high hit from Minnesota enforcer Mike Rupp.

    Oshie remained down on the ice for several minutes before being helped to his feet by players and trainers and leaving under his own power.  He did not return to action and it is unclear how much time the Team USA Olympic shootout hero will miss as the postseason rapidly approaches.

    Rupp, who has played in just 12 games this season, received a match penalty for the hit that injured the Blues star.

    This may turn out to be an interesting development between the Wild and the Blues, who could potentially face each other in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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  • Published On Apr 10, 2014
  • St. Louis Blues forward David Backes day-to-day with lower-body injury

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    Backes has contributed 27 goals and 57 points to the Blues' cause this season. (Keith Gillett/Icon SMI)

    David Backes has contributed 27 goals and 57 points to the Blues’ cause this season. (Keith Gillett/Icon SMI)

    By Amy Lilek

    While the Chicago Blackhawks and Colorado Avalanche fight on the playoffs without the likes of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Matt Duchene, the St. Louis Blues have been luckier than their Central Division rivals. Most of their big guns are healthy. That might have changed on Tuesday night against the Washington Capitals.

    Captain David Backes is now day-to-day with a lower-body injury, according to Blues coach Ken Hitchcock. While no one knows exactly when or how Backes was hurt, it’s believed that he took a shot off his foot. Read More…


  • Published On Apr 09, 2014
  • GIF: Blues’ Backes goes after Avs’ MacKinnon in midst of heated game

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    By Amy Lilek

    The St. Louis Blues play a tough and physical style of hockey and on Saturday afternoon, Colorado Avalanche rookie Nathan MacKinnon found out just how physical the Blues can be.

    Late in the third period with the Avs leading 3-0, MacKinnon knocked down David Backes and the Blues captain allowed his frustrations to boil over. Backes dropped his gloves and went after the 18-year-old rookie.

    MacKinnon left the ice and went straight to the Avalanche locker room. He did not return to the game, which Colorado won 4-0.

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  • Published On Apr 05, 2014
  • St. Louis Blues host droids, Wild on Star Wars Night at Scottrade Center

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    By Amy Lilek

    The St. Louis Blues hoped the force was with them in a battle against the Minnesota Wild in a Central division match-up on Star Wars Night. R2-D2 and Darth Maul are among many of the popular characters invading the Scottrade Center for the evening that included Star Wars-themed music and entertainment. Read More…


  • Published On Mar 27, 2014
  • Blues’ David Backes nets hat trick in offensive showcase against Maple Leafs

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    David Backes led the Blues' barrage of goals against Toronto, scoring three of the five. (Graig Abel/Getty Images)

    David Backes led the Blues’ barrage of goals against Toronto, scoring three of their five. (Graig Abel/Getty Images)

    By Darian Somers

    The Maple Leafs were under siege on Tuesday night in Toronto as the visiting Blues pumped 49 shots at netminder Jonathan Bernier en route to a 5-3 win.

    The Blues came out and unloaded 23 in the first period, two fewer shots than the Leafs’ total for in the entire game, as T.J. Oshie and David Backes scored. In the second period, the St. Louis outshot the Leafs, 13-7.

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  • Published On Mar 25, 2014
  • VIDEO: ‘Thank you, Ryan’ — Sabres pay tribute to departing hero Ryan Miller

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    Sabres fans packed the First Niagara Center Friday night, knowing it likely would be the last time they’d get to cheer on franchise legend Ryan Miller.

    They never got their chance.

    Miller and team captain Steve Ott were traded to the St. Louis Blues an hour before the puck dropped against the San Jose Sharks, and while the two players stayed to speak with the media, they didn’t get that one last twirl around the ice to soak up the appreciation of the Sabres faithful.

    The club did the next best thing though, hastily assembling a brief video showcasing some of Miller’s most memorable saves, topped off with a simple message: Thank you, Ryan.

    It wasn’t quite the sendoff the fans were hoping for, but it did give them that cathartic moment they needed to say goodbye to Miller.


  • Published On Feb 28, 2014
  • Ryan Miller traded to St. Louis Blues in five-player deal

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    (Bill Wippert/Getty Images)

    The Blues acquired Ryan Miller and Steve Ott in exchange for Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart, prospect William Carrier, and two draft picks. (Bill Wippert/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    The St. Louis Blues are all in.

    Gearing up for a run at their first Stanley Cup in franchise history, the Blues swung a blockbuster five-player deal tonight with the Buffalo Sabres, acquiring franchise goaltender Ryan Miller and team captain Steve Ott.

    In exchange, the Blues sent goaltender Jaroslav Halak, forward Chris Stewart and prospect William Carrier to the Sabres, along with a first-round draft pick in 2015 and a third-round draft pick in 2016.

    WATCH: Sabres pay tribute to departing hero Ryan Miller 

    Buffalo will also cover the difference between the salaries of Miller and Halak, approximately $1.75 million.

    This is a bold, game-changing move by GM Doug Armstrong, one that not only legitimizes the Blues as a Cup front-runner, but also throws down the gauntlet and dares other challengers to ante up.

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  • Published On Feb 28, 2014
  • Grading the NHL team Christmas videos

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    The Pittsburgh Penguins made a Christmas video for 2013

    Nothing says “happy holidays” quite like Penguins coach Dan Bylsma. (Penguins.nhl.com)

    By Allan Muir

    It’s that most wonderful time of the year, when your favorite NHL stars finally cave in to the pleadings from their teams’ PR departments and agree to abandon all dignity in the spirit of spreading a little holiday cheer.

    Yes, it’s time for the annual video Christmas cards that are sent, with love, to you, the fans. And this year offers a diverse and laugh-filled crop sure to bring years of embarrassment to the participants. Check ‘em out:

    Pittsburgh Penguins: Holiday Album

    The Bit: This one offers charmingly low-rent visuals and a great concept: a compilation album of re-imagined Christmas classics, including “Feliz Niskanen,” “Do Jussi What I See,” and “I Saw Mommy Kissing Sidney Claus.”

    Highlight: Kris Letang channeling Fred Armisen channeling Lawrence Welk.

    Grade: A

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  • Published On Dec 18, 2013


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