Payne Making Early Impression with Blues

Tuesday, 01.26.2010 / 8:41 AM CT / St Louis Blues - Features
By NHL .com  - Correspondents
X
Share with your Friends


Payne Making Early Impression with Blues
Davis Payne was hired as the new coach of the Blues on Jan. 2, 2010 (Getty Images).
CALGARY -- Hockey has taken Davis Payne to 10 zip codes across the United States -- from Greensboro to Greenville, from Rochester to East Rutherford, from Providence to Phoenix to Peoria.

And prior to Jan. 2, it had brought him to precisely one NHL city -- Boston, where he played 22 games for the Bruins over parts of two seasons in the mid-1990s.

The new coach of the St. Louis Blues understands the privilege of playing in the greatest hockey circuit in the world. He expects his players to understand that, too.

"I would hope so. The last thing you want is to have a player’s senses dulled as to how special this opportunity to play at this level is," Payne, the Blues’ interim head coach, told NHL.com on Monday morning, while preparing for an evening game in Calgary against the Flames.

"Be it a large reminder or a small reminder, we all have to understand that this is a special situation for every player, every staff member, every coach to be involved in."

Payne, who replaced Andy Murray behind the Blues’ bench on Jan. 2, took command of a club with talent, leadership, an exciting youthful nucleus with the likes of Erik Johnson, Patrik Berglund, Roman Polak, T.J. Oshie and David Perron, and seriously underwhelming tendencies in the first half.

At 39, Payne, of King City, Ont., is the second-youngest head coach in the NHL. But he has certainly paid his dues, with seven seasons as a bench boss in the ECHL before joining the Blues’ top affiliate, the AHL’s Peoria Rivermen, for the 2008-09 season.

Club president John Davidson, who remarked that Payne "might be our coach long term" when making the announcement, said the former Michigan Tech forward was more than ready to take the step up.

"You don’t put people in positions to fail," Davidson told NHL.com on Monday. "Davis had a chance to join another NHL team this past summer, and chose to stay and continue with our Peoria club. We liked that sense of loyalty.

"When we made this change, we gave him the opportunity to prove himself. And that’s what we’re in the middle of right now," Davidson added. "He deserved it. This isn’t charity. He knew our players after running our orientation camps with the young players the past couple of years. We felt he was the right guy, and we think he can do the job.

"Davis has studied the game. He’s open to finding ways of making himself better as a coach. He uses the people around him very well. When you study the resume, he’s got a wealth of experience at all levels. He carries himself well, and he certainly got the respect of the players right out of the chute, which is something we watched for."

After Monday's game vs. Calgary, the Blues (23-21-8) are 6-4-2 with Payne at the helm, sitting 13th in the Western Conference and four points out of a playoff spot.

They are still working to establish more consistency, but Payne has made an impact in the locker-room.

"He’s very well-prepared. He’s really good at managing the players. Cleaning up our game is what we need right now, and that’s what he’s very good at," defenseman and alternate captain Barret Jackman told NHL.com. "Whether it’s looking at film or watching the game for a period, he’s very good at making changes on the move, putting us in better position to handle the opposition.

"I don’t know if the message was stale, or things just needed to be changed within our structure. Davis has mixed and matched, and brought some good energy to our team.

"Right from the first moment he walked in the room, he gave us a very good speech. He told us he’s not going to come in and revamp everything, but that he’ll work with our team. He demands energy and passion, and that we respect each other, because you play for the guy next to you. Right from Day 1, he connected with the players right away."

Last season, the Blues used a second-half surge to make playoffs, with a League-best 25-9-7 record over the final 41 games.

The club likely won’t need anything quite so dramatic this spring, but Payne says it’s time to start moving forward -- steadily, consistently.

"We have to be a great working group. We have to be a group that trusts each other, and we have to be a group that plays with a lot of passion," said Payne, a 1989 draft choice of the Edmonton Oilers.

"We have to hold the young guy and the old guy accountable to the whole process. There are certain times for understanding, and the soft sell, and there are certainly times for the demanding and direct approach."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - ANA 78 49 22 7 227 216 105
2 x - NSH 78 47 22 9 224 193 103
3 STL 76 46 23 7 229 190 99
4 CHI 76 46 24 6 217 176 98
5 MIN 76 44 25 7 219 186 95
6 VAN 77 45 27 5 224 208 95
7 CGY 77 42 28 7 229 204 91
8 WPG 77 39 26 12 217 204 90
9 LAK 76 37 25 14 201 192 88
10 DAL 77 37 30 10 239 248 84
11 SJS 76 37 30 9 212 215 83
12 COL 76 35 29 12 206 213 82
13 EDM 76 23 40 13 185 255 59
14 ARI 77 23 46 8 161 256 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
V. Tarasenko 76 36 35 25 71
A. Steen 73 24 38 6 62
J. Schwartz 69 24 32 12 56
D. Backes 75 25 29 6 54
T. Oshie 67 19 33 13 52
P. Stastny 68 14 29 3 43
A. Pietrangelo 76 6 36 -6 42
J. Lehtera 69 11 29 16 40
K. Shattenkirk 51 8 32 15 40
P. Berglund 71 9 13 -7 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
B. Elliott 24 14 3 .919 2.20
J. Allen 19 6 4 .906 2.45

 
TICKETS
Single Game Tickets
2015-16 Ticket Plans
Group Tickets
Luxury Suites
Renew Your Season Tickets
NHL Ticket Exchange
View From Your Seat

TEAM
Roster
In the System
Coaches
Front Office
Blues History
All-Time Player Roster
Chicago Wolves
Alaska Aces

SCHEDULE
Regular Season
Practice Schedule
Promotions Schedule
Schedule Downloads

STATS
Player Stats
League Standings

NEWS
News
Features
Blues Overtime Blog

VIDEO
Video Channels
Game Highlights

GameDay

SOCIAL
Find a Player
Facebook
Twitter
Mobile App
E-mail Subscriptions

FANS
Hot Deals for Cool Fans
Photo Galleries
License Plates

COMMUNITY
Blues in the Community
Blues 14 Fund
50/50 Raffle Numbers

SHOP
Online Store
Blues Auctions
True Blues Authentics

stlouisblues.com is the official Web site of the St Louis Blues. St Louis Blues, stlouisblues.com and stlblues.com are trademarks of the St Louis Blues Hockey Club. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 St. Louis Blues Hockey Club and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

PRIVACY POLICY | ADCHOICES | TERMS OF USE | EMPLOYMENT & INTERNSHIPS | GUEST EXPERIENCE SURVEY | CONTACT US