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Tkachuk hoping to get new contract to remain in St. Louis

Monday, 05.04.2009 / 3:18 PM / St Louis Blues - Features
By Chris Pinkert  - St. Louis Blues
Blues forward Keith Tkachuk has worn the BlueNote through good times and bad and wants to help the team earn its first Stanley Cup (Getty Images).
With a taste of the playoffs, Keith Tkachuk is ready for more.

Just over a year ago, Tkachuk hinted he was considering retirement. But now that he has helped the Blues reach the playoffs again for the first time since 2004, he says he wants to return to chase the one thing that’s eluded him his entire career: the Stanley Cup.

“Hopefully, one of these days I’ll sit down with (Blues General Manager) Larry (Pleau) and see if they are interested in having me back,” Tkachuk said shortly after the season ended. “We’ve come a long way over the last couple years and I want to be part of that next big step. Hopefully we challenge for the Stanley Cup next year.”

Coming off a season that saw him score 25 goals and 24 assists in 79 games, Tkachuk says he still has one year of good hockey left. At 37, he knows his opportunities to win a championship are becoming limited, but he also knows the Blues are "real close" to being a legitimate contender. That’s why he would be willing to accept a third or fourth line role if it meant staying in St. Louis.

“I realize I’m getting older and I’m going to have to challenge the coach to keep playing me,” he said. “Knowing I have to let some of these other kids play, I understand that and I have no problems with that. I’m going to have to play center if I want to come back here, probably have to play on the third or fourth line, but that’s okay with me.

“As long as we win, I don’t care.”

For a guy who has reached plenty of individual milestones, including 500 goals, 1,000 points, 1,000 games played and 5 All-Star appearances, Tkachuk has developed a team-first mentality that is winning him big points with teammates and management. That’s why at this season’s trade deadline, the Blues opted to keep him around.

“I can tell you this, if we had traded (Tkachuk) for a really important draft pick, we would not have made the playoffs in my opinion,” said Blues President John Davidson. “He was a great leader in our room all year. He was very good as a person that was a conduit between our players and our coaching staff.

“He was a warrior. I’m very satisfied (with him)," added Davidson. "This season, there’s not one ounce of negativity from my mouth about him and the way he played, the way he treated himself, the way he treated the team, the way he carried himself…it was awesome.”

Tkachuk will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, meaning if the Blues do not offer him a contract before that date, any team could make an offer to obtain his services.

“I think everyone hopes (he’s back),” said forward Brad Boyes. “(Tkachuk) was our leader in experience on the ice and off the ice, too. He says the right things at the right times. Guys listen to him and it’s tough to get guys like that.”

Tkachuk was first acquired by the Blues in 2001 in a trade that sent Michal Handzus, Ladislav Nagy and Jeff Taffe to Phoenix. Just a year earlier, the Blues had won the President’s Trophy as the team with the best record during the regular season but suffered a quick playoff exit in the first round. After acquiring Tkachuk, the Blues made it to the Western Conference Finals in 2001.

Tkachuk has worn the BlueNote during good times, and he’s worn it during the bad times that saw the team finish last in the standings. This year, he was part of a team that is helping the Blues to find those good times again.

“I love being around the guys. I love being around and I’m not ready to let that go yet,” Tkachuk said. “I want the Stanley Cup, no question about it, and I know we have a chance to do it next year.”




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


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
B. Elliott 18 6 2 .922 1.96
R. Miller 25 30 4 .918 2.64

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