Posted October 08, 2011 on
AP on Fox
The St. Louis Blues feel they can reach the playoffs for the first time in three seasons, but they hope the injury problems that derailed them in 2010-11 aren't already recurring.
One week after forward B.J. Crombeen suffered a broken left shoulder blade in the preseason finale, St. Louis opens its season Saturday night against a Nashville Predators team looking to snap a lengthy scoreless stretch at the Scottrade Center.
The Blues opened 9-1-2 in 2010-11, but injuries to centers T.J. Oshie and Andy McDonald along with left wing David Perron sidetracked a season that ended 38-33-11. St. Louis finished fourth in the Central Division for the second straight time and missed the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons.
Crombeen, who had seven goals and seven assists last season, is out indefinitely after getting hurt last Saturday. There is no timetable for the return of Perron, who missed the final 72 games last season due to a concussion suffered on a hit by San Jose's Joe Thornton.
The fourth-year player had a career-high 20 goals along with 27 assists in 2009-10.
"I've just felt like it's been a really long summer,'' said winger Chris Stewart, who scored 15 times in 26 games after being acquired from Colorado in January. "I think if we come in and have a healthy year, there's no reason why we can't win our division.''
The addition of veteran forwards Jason Arnott, Jamie Langenbrunner and Scott Nichol may provide an offensive boost for a team that had five 20-goal scorers last season.
"This is a team that I feel is on that doorstep and has the ability to take that next step into that upper group of teams,'' Langenbrunner said.
The Blues will look for another big season from right wing David Backes, who matched a career high with 31 goals while notching a team-best 62 points in 2010-11.
Center Patrik Berglund, second to Backes with a career-best 52 points, signed a two-year extension in the offseason. Oshie got a one-year deal worth $2.35 million after recording 34 points in 49 games.
"I think that's my biggest motivation, to get to the playoffs, to live up to the hype that's kind of around St. Louis,'' said Oshie, who missed time due to a fractured ankle.
Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk each finished with 43 points apiece last season, and the club is hoping the young defensemen can avoid a second-year slide. Pietrangelo tied McDonald for the team lead at plus-18.
Jaroslav Halak begins his second season with the club after going 27-21-7 with a 2.48 goals-against average in 2010-11.
Three of his seven shutouts - tied for fourth in the league - came against the Predators, including a 24-save effort in a 2-0 season-ending victory April 9.
Halak has helped the Blues go 4-0-1 in their last five against Nashville. He hasn't allowed a goal at home to the Predators in the last 126 minutes, 52 seconds.
Nashville will try to change that after winning 3-2 in its season opener at Columbus on Friday.
Rookies Craig Smith and Matt Halischuk scored, defenseman Ryan Suter added a goal and an assist and Pekka Rinne made 32 saves while battling the stomach flu.
"He played well,'' coach Barry Trotz said of last season's Vezina Trophy runner-up. "He probably wanted to get that first one back but he was good the rest of the night.''
Rinne went 1-3-1 with a 1.75 GAA against St. Louis in 2010-11. If he can't go Saturday, Anders Lindback will get the nod. The second-year player stopped 32 shots in his only start against the Blues, a 4-3 home win Oct. 14.
St. Louis will try to win its third straight over Nashville at the Scottrade Center following a five-game home losing streak in the series.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
ST. LOUIS -- After the horn had sounded and his first regular-season game as the St. Louis Blues' captain was complete, wing David Backes hunched over and glided toward a tunnel. Behind him, Nashville Predators players cleared their bench and hugged one another near a goal after their 4-2 victory Saturday at the Scottrade Center.
Backes stepped off the ice and walked toward...
Blues forward Patrik Berglund scored his first goal of the seasonin the Blues 4-2 loss to the Nashville Predators in the team'sseaons opener on Saturday night. - Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Expectations are high for the St. Louis Blues this season. The team's roster full of young talent is one year older and the additions of veterans like Jason Arnott and Jamie Langenbrunner...
from Norm Sanders of the Belleville News-Democrat, Each year in the NHL, at least one team seems to emerge from the shadows and become the kind of franchise that suddenly has “arrived.”
In recent years, Chicago, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Montreal and others have turned themselves around and made long playoff runs.
Could the trendy team of 2011-12 be the St. Louis Blues? From the...
Blues coach Davis Payne may have a new owner to
work for at some point this season. Matthew
Hulsizer has an agreement in principle to purchase control
of the team.
David Perron exited the Blues' locker room, walked onto the
team's bench, and as soon as his name was announced, the sellout
crowd of 19,150 at Scottrade Center gave him a thunderous
The Morning After:Yesterday’s results:Predators 3, Blue Jackets 2Recaps around the blogosphere:Preds On The GlassInside SmashvilleSection 303Puck SceneHockey Night in NashvilleOn The ForecheckPlay of the game:---Game 2/82:Nashville Predators @ St. Louis Blues7:00 CT… TV: FS-TNPlayers to watch:NSH- Cal O’ReillyO’Reilly had a strong effort in last night’s win. He also had...
The St. Louis Blues will honor former players Pavol Demitra and Igor Korolev by wearing a No. 38 decal on the back of their helmets during the 2011-12 season.
Demitra and Korolev wore No. 38 during their tenure with the Blues.
Both players w...
The Nashville Predators will return to the ice tonight at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis and hope to make it two in a row in an unusual scheduling situation where the team opened with back to back games on the road against divisional opponents, a first in franchise history.Last night's 3-2 win over Columbus was pure "Predator hockey" with Pekka Rinne starting his...
Aloha *******. I was watching the bottom line creep across a hiccuping Sportscenter two days ago and was pleasantly disgusted to see something that looked a lot like this: “St. Louis Blues considering offer from Chicago businessman to buy pathetic franchise that hasn’t won dick in more than 40 years.” Word for word? No. But close. Really close.
And that’s funny.
A two-hour St. Louis Blues Season Preview show will air tonight on KMOX 1120 AM from 9 - 11 p.m.
The show will feature interviews with David Backes, Jason Arnott and Jaroslav Halak.
In addition, GM Doug Armstrong discusses five critical poin...
The St. Louis Blues are reportedly close to finding a new owner.
David Backes estimates that he spends over an hour a day longer at the rink now than he did before he was named captain of the St. Louis Blues.
"There are more interviews, photos, videos, meetings and secretarial duties," he said.
Wait … secretarial duties?
"I don't know if many captains do this, but I operate the team fund as well. Tracking guys down to pay...
Photo Credit: Mark Buckner/NHLI via Getty Images
Nashville takes both of their first back-to-back of the year getting a 4-2 win against the St. Louis Blues in their home opener. Rookie Craig Smith had a 3 point game and Legwand had 2 goals, along with Klein finding the net as well
Powerplay – 2 for 4, 50%
Penalty Kill – 4 for 5, 80%
Best Play of the Game: 57 seconds...
Photo Credit: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images North America
The Predators started the season off with a bang last night as Suter/Halischuk/Craig Smith all got on the board in a 3-2 win against the Blue Jackets. They’ll be continuing their road “Home Opening” extravaganza with the second of their back-to-back games this weekend by taking on the St. Louis Blues tonight in St. Louis...