ABOUT THE BLUE NOTE INSIDER
Chris Pinkert has covered the St. Louis Blues for more than seven seasons and will frequently contribute news, analysis and stories from the locker room to the Blue Note Insider blog. Check back often for exclusive behind the scenes access to the Blues and be sure to follow him on Twitter at @BlueNoteInsider
POSTED ON Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 12:22 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blue Note Insider

The Blues seem to be very happy with their performance in Game 1.

But just about everyone you talk to knows they’ll have to turn it up a notch to win the series, or even just to win tonight’s Game 2.

Here’s what some of the players had to say about being ready for a strong push from the Kings tonight.

Jordan Leopold: “We didn’t play a perfect game by any means, but we played pretty well. To be able to come out and do that, that was big. Especially to begin at home, we wanted to get our crowd into it and get the ball rolling early. We’ve got to go out tonight and come prepared and be ready to work.”

Chris Stewart: “You know they’re going to come hard. You can’t get frustrated and you can’t retaliate or take a penalty. Just match their intensity.”

Ken Hitchcock: “We’re playing as well as we’ve played all year, we’re playing that way right now, and all that does is give us an overtime win. That’s how good the hockey club we’re playing against is. We’re going to have to find a way to keep getting better and better as this series moves on, because we know in that room, they will.”

All that being said, the Kings find themselves in rather unfamiliar territory. They never trailed in a series during their Stanley Cup Playoff run last season, beginning each round with a 3-0 lead. It will be interesting for sure to see how they respond.

The Blues know tonight won’t be easy, but they say they’ll be ready.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 04.30.2013 / 12:02 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blue Note Insider

The Blues lost all four games against the Kings in last year’s playoffs, and they lost all three regular season meetings this season.

So why does Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock think this time around will be different?

“The one thing we have going for us is I don’t think they know our team, because they haven’t played against this team,” Hitchcock said after today’s practice. “This is a different team than they played even here in the 4-2 (loss on March 28), and it’s a much different team than they played in the 6-4 (loss on March 5). What we’re hoping on is the way we played at the end of the year in the last six weeks is what our team is and we’re good enough to play against them.

“We’ve been preparing for this for 10 days and we think we’re ready.”

Since last playing the Kings on March 28, the Blues have won 12 of their last 15 games.

The Kings had an impressive 16-4 record last season in the playoffs en route to their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Hitchcock said they are the only team in the League with the knowledge of what it takes to win the Stanley Cup.

“They know how deep they have to go, they know how deep they have to dig. Nobody has that knowledge,” Hitchcock said. “We’re all trying to get it, but they’ve got it. We’re going to have to find that if we expect to win because they’re not going to give us anything easy.”

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POSTED ON Saturday, 04.27.2013 / 12:28 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blue Note Insider

It all comes down to this.

The Blues can finish with the No. 4, No. 5 or No. 6 seed in the Western Conference, and it all depends on two games (Blues / Blackhawks at 7 p.m. and Kings / Sharks at 9:30 p.m.)

Here are a few possible scenarios:

  1. With a Blues win against the Blackhawks, the Blues guarantee themselves the No. 4 seed in the West and have home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Their first round opponent will be the winner of the San Jose / Los Angeles game (9:30 p.m. tonight, NBC Sports Network).
  2. If the Blues lose in overtime or a shootout tonight, they still get home-ice advantage if San Jose beats Los Angeles.
  3. If the Blues lose in regulation, they won’t have home-ice advantage in Round 1.
  4. The Blues finish sixth if they lose tonight in regulation and San Jose beats Los Angeles in overtime or a shootout.

That’s a lot of math, and it’s not always simple.

Basically, the Blues can play either Los Angeles, San Jose or Vancouver in the first round, and they’ll know the answer tonight after the Sharks / Kings game.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 03.30.2013 / 8:07 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blue Note Insider
Of all the charity work the Blues do over the course of a season (and trust me, there’s plenty of it), my favorite event is Dream Night with the Blues.

Each year, the entire team volunteers for this unique event, which takes place at Side Pockets in St. Charles and gives fans an opportunity to meet the players, get autographs and challenge them to video games, pool, darts and much more.

The fans pay an admission fee and then make a small donation for every game they play, autograph they get or photo they take, and all the money benefits The Dream Factory of St. Louis, a local nonprofit organization that finds seriously ill children and sends them on their dream vacations.

And I haven’t even told you the most touching part: a lot of the kids The Dream Factory supports are in attendance, too. For a few hours at least, they can forget about the challenges they face and just enjoy themselves.

Who couldn’t support a cause like that?

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POSTED ON Thursday, 02.28.2013 / 12:02 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blue Note Insider

The Blues will face a stiff challenge when they host the Chicago Blackhawks tonight at 7 p.m. at Scottrade Center.

The Blackhawks have yet to lose a game in regulation, going 16-0-3 and setting a new record for the best start to a season in NHL history. The record was previously held by the Anaheim Ducks, who opened the 2006-07 season with points in 16 consecutive games.

Chicago is coming off a seven-game homestand and is playing its first road game since Feb. 10. Each of the Blackhawks’ last five wins (Los Angeles, Vancouver, San Jose, Columbus and Edmonton) have been decided by one goal.

How can the Blues break the streak?

“Sixty (minutes),” Hitchcock said. “Play 40, you’re dead. You’ve got to play 60 the right way and see where it goes. That’s the reason they’re winning…they play more minutes than other teams. They just play more minutes than any other team in the West right now.”

Added Matt D’Agostini, “We’re not thinking too much about their streak. We know they’re a beatable team, we’ve beat them before. So we’ll come out and play our A-game and we’ll get on them quick.”

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 02.19.2013 / 11:54 AM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blue Note Insider

Stop me if you’ve heard this joke before: 23 hockey players walked into an airport...

OK, nevermind.

For the Blues players, coaches, broadcasters, equipment guys and management, yesterday’s situation in a Vancouver airport was ANYTHING but funny.

The team was supposed to take off from Vancouver at noon St. Louis time, but were delayed when the airline needed to wait for a replacement part to arrive. Just over 15 hours later, the Blues took off for St. Louis, where they landed at approximately 6:30 a.m. this morning.

Here’s the rub: the Blues host the San Jose Sharks tonight at 7 p.m. and then will fly to Denver after the game, where they’ll face the Colorado Avalanche tomorrow night at Pepsi Center.

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POSTED ON Friday, 02.15.2013 / 11:06 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blue Note Insider

I'd like to issue an apology for screaming (with capital letters) while tweeting during the first period of Friday's game in Calgary.

I'm sorry.

But can you blame me?

That save from Jake Allen, who was making just his second NHL start, was just so darn unbelievable.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 02.13.2013 / 11:45 AM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blue Note Insider
Goalie Jake Allen is expected to make his first NHL start tonight when the Blues meet the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.

"It's a great feeling. It's something you work for your whole life," Allen told reporters after the morning skate. "You want to make the most of it. It's hopefully another step in my career. It's more experience under my belt and I'm looking forward to the challenge tonight."

It won't be Allen’s first NHL appearance, however. Just last week, he played 31 minutes in relief of Brian Elliott on Feb. 5, where he made 6 saves on 8 shots in the Blues’ 6-1 loss to Nashville. In addition, Allen saw just over one minute of playoff action last season in Game 2 of the Blues’ second-round series vs. Los Angeles.

With Jaroslav Halak still out of the lineup with a strained groin and Brian Elliott struggling, Hitchcock has decided to give Allen his first chance to start between the pipes.
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POSTED ON Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 12:20 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blue Note Insider
Wade Redden participated in today’s morning skate and could play tonight when the Blues meet the Predators at 7 p.m.

If he plays, the 35-year-old defenseman would be appearing in an NHL game for the first time since Apr. 11, 2010.

“It’s a chance to come back and show I can play and just be part of a team,” Redden said. “We’ve got a good team here, and I want to help the team win and have some success.”

Redden spent 11 seasons with the Ottawa Senators, most of which were spent playing alongside Zdeno Chara. Redden signed as a free agent with the New York Rangers prior to the start of the 2008-09 season, but struggled in New York. He spent the last two seasons with their American Hockey League affiliate, the Connecticut Whale.

Now, the Blues have given him another chance to play in the NHL.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 01.22.2013 / 12:52 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blue Note Insider
Brian Elliott will start in goal tonight when the Blues meet the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center (7:30 p.m. on FOX Sports Midwest and KMOX 1120 AM).

Elliott picked up his first win of the season yesterday in relief of Jaroslav Halak. Elliott stopped all 13 shots he faced and then turned aside two Predators in the shootout to help the Blues to their second consecutive win.

“You just want to do your best for the guys,” Elliott said after the game. “When you get thrown in the fire, obviously (with) the long layover that we had last year (and) my first action of the year, it’s almost better to get in there with really nothing to lose and go out there and play your game. Let the guys in front of you do their job.”

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SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Steen 68 33 29 17 62
T. Oshie 79 21 39 19 60
D. Backes 74 27 30 14 57
J. Schwartz 80 25 31 28 56
A. Pietrangelo 81 8 43 20 51
K. Shattenkirk 81 10 35 1 45
V. Tarasenko 64 21 22 20 43
D. Roy 75 9 28 -1 37
J. Bouwmeester 82 4 33 26 37
V. Sobotka 61 9 24 14 33
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
B. Elliott 18 6 2 .922 1.96
R. Miller 25 30 4 .918 2.64

 
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