Pietrangelo to Miss Start of Training Camp

Wednesday, 09.11.2013 / 8:58 AM / St Louis Blues - News
By Louie Korac  - NHL.com Correspondent
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Pietrangelo to Miss Start of Training Camp
Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo will not be on the roster to start training camp until an agreement on a contract is reached.

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- There was no common ground to be found between the St. Louis Blues and defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, despite the fact the two sides met well into the night Tuesday.

So when the Blues get on the ice to begin training camp on Thursday, Pietrangelo will be a noticeable absentee.

That's the news General Manager Doug Armstrong gave Wednesday on the fourth pick of the 2008 NHL Draft, who is represented by Don Meehan of Newport Sports.

"He's not in training camp," Armstrong said. "We've worked in earnest with his representatives trying to get him into training camp. We've talked about a lot of different options as far as a number of years.

"[Tuesday] night, we gave it a last-ditch kick at the can around eight or nine o'clock at night and it didn't hold. So from this point forward, he's not in camp and we treat him like an injured player. ... If he misses a week, a month, a year, we're not really sure, but he's not here now and we have to move forward."

So for the time being, talks have broken off between the two sides and the Blues will move forward without their top defenseman, who has 121 points in 224 career games.

"I was always hopeful a deal would get done," Armstrong said. "My experiences get me not to be disappointed in things like this. When you put your best foot forward to try and get something done ... we talked a while ago that a deal gets done when everyone gets uncomfortable. I was very uncomfortable [Tuesday] and it didn't get done.

"I probably had my best sleep last night than I've had in three weeks when I realized this deal wasn't going to get done because I felt that we had really had done what we could do to get it done, to get him in here today. Training camp's a very important time for a team. It wasn't able to get done, so now we move forward with the players that we have, and at some point we'll re-engage and see if there's a different option that wasn't there. We were focused in on a deal that had a lot of term. Maybe that's not going to happen. We'll have to find out."

Other young defensemen similar to Pietrangelo have missed part of training camp or longer while negotiations continued in recent seasons. The most recent was Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban, who missed six games last season before he signed a two-year "bridge contract." Armstrong indicated that a shorter-term deal is a possibility for Pietrangelo.

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, who was selected two spots before Pietrangelo in 2008, missed most of training camp in 2011 before he got an eight-year deal. Both Doughty and Subban are also represented by Meehan.

The Blues have established three deadlines in the Pietrangelo negotiations. The first was to get him signed by the opening of training camp, then the regular season and Dec. 1, which is the deadline to get restricted free agents signed or they will have to sit out the season according to a stipulation in the recent collective bargaining agreement. But should Pietrangelo receive an offer sheet, Armstrong was adamant again that the Blues would match it.

"At some point, Alex will sign here," Armstrong said. "There's really three options: He's going to sign with us, he signs an offer sheet or he doesn't play this year. Those are the three things. There's no fourth thing.

"He will be a Blue. I want to crystalize that for our fans and for 29 other poachers out there. He's going to be a Blue."

Armstrong said the recent conversations between he and Pietrangelo's agents focused on long-term contracts, but that the "bridge contract" is now something that's definitely in play. The Blues' GM also has spoken with Pietrangelo's father, Joe, in recent weeks.

"Our initial talks were that he felt most comfortable with a longer-term deal," Armstrong said. "As a core player, we wanted him here as a longer-term deal. But one of the things we have talked about is if it is a shorter-term deal, it doesn't mean he can't sign a long-term deal later. The goal is to get him in here.

"... If both sides feel short is the way to go, then short is the way to go. If both sides feel long is the way to go, we have to find the common ground where we're both comfortably uncomfortable."

When asked how big the gap is, Armstrong replied, "Big enough where he's not in camp.

"I'll take Alex's perspective: he thinks he's made us a hell of an offer. I disagree. We think we've made him a hell of an offer. He's disagreed. That's where we're at."

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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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