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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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  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NSH 62 41 14 7 188 147 89
2 ANA 63 39 17 7 186 176 85
3 STL 61 39 18 4 190 152 82
4 CHI 63 37 21 5 183 150 79
5 WPG 63 31 20 12 174 170 74
6 VAN 61 35 23 3 174 162 73
7 MIN 61 32 22 7 173 160 71
8 LAK 61 29 20 12 164 157 70
9 CGY 62 33 25 4 175 160 70
10 SJS 62 30 24 8 173 177 68
11 COL 62 27 24 11 166 179 65
12 DAL 62 27 25 10 195 207 64
13 ARI 62 20 35 7 137 210 47
14 EDM 62 18 34 10 142 206 46

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2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
V. Tarasenko 61 31 29 27 60
A. Steen 59 19 32 4 51
J. Schwartz 54 20 26 16 46
D. Backes 60 20 21 3 41
T. Oshie 53 17 24 12 41
K. Shattenkirk 49 8 32 18 40
P. Stastny 53 11 23 10 34
J. Lehtera 54 9 24 16 33
A. Pietrangelo 61 5 27 -3 32
P. Berglund 57 8 11 -2 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
B. Elliott 19 9 2 .921 2.21
J. Allen 17 6 2 .905 2.50

 
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