Ty Conklin, B.J. Crombeen ride a tandem bicycle in the name of charity

1 Comment

conkblockdrinks.jpgI really can’t get enough stories about athletes becoming actively involved in community service. Any player can throw some money at a problem to give off the appearance that they care, but it’s another thing when they sacrifice that cash and their time.

When you throw in hockey players riding a tandem bike with a needy child, forget about it.

St. Louis Blues players B.J. Crombeen and Ty Conklin did just that this Saturday morning, helping to kick off charitable efforts as part of the Tour de Unite at Francis Park in St. Louis. NHL.com captured the scene.

On Saturday morning, St. Louis Blues forward B.J. Crombeen and goaltender Ty Conklin learned a different sort of teamwork — one that involves two people balancing and pedaling together to ride a tandem bicycle.

The two players helped kick off the Tour De Unite at Francis Park in South St. Louis, an event designed to raise money for the Delta Gamma Center for Children with Visual Impairments, the Disabled Athlete Sports Association and the Recreation Council of Greater St. Louis.

“Just coming here, seeing the kids and how much fun they have when they get on the bike…obviously, they have a tough time being able to do everything,” Crombeen told the Blues website. “To be able to do something like this with them, to see their faces and the enjoyment they get of out of it, it’s a lot of fun for us.”

Crombeen and Conklin began the event riding a tandem bicycle with a child from the Delta Gamma Center.

“It’s a great event that supports great causes and great people,” Conklin told the Blues’ site. “It’s a pleasure for us to do this. It’s not something we’re forced to do. It’s something we want to do.”

Really, the only downer with this story is that there aren’t any photos of the two hockey players riding that tandem bicycle with a child. Still, it’s a great thing to hear about and a reminder that the majority of athletes are normal people with abnormally developed physical skills. Sometimes these nice deeds go unreported, so it’s important to remember that buried underneath the stories of greed and crime are moments of genuine generosity and kindness.

Niemi blanks Pens, notches two assists in Stars debut

Antti Niemi, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist

DALLAS (AP) — Antti Niemi recorded his 33rd career shutout and assisted on two goals in his Dallas debut, as the Stars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on Thursday night in the season opener for both.

Ales Hemsky had a power-play goal and an assist.

Rookie Matthias Janmark scored on his first shot on his first shift in an NHL game to make it 1-0. The Stars acquired Niemi and Janmark in trades earlier this year.

Dallas scored on two of five power plays. Jamie Benn, the NHL’s leading scorer last season, had a power-play goal in the third period.

Niemi made 37 saves to improve his career record against the Penguins to 5-1-1. He withstood a flurry in the final minute after Pittsburgh pulled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for an extra skater.

Fleury had 21 saves.

The Stars are 4-0-1 in their last five home games against Pittsburgh, and have won three in a row overall.

Janmark skated down the slot, took a pass from Hemsky and shot between Fleury’s legs at 1:39 of the first.

The Penguins dominated the latter half of the period, but couldn’t score. Niemi’s best stop was a reaching glove save of Rod Scuderi’s drive from the blue line with less than 3 minutes remaining. Pittsburgh outshot the Stars 10-4 in the first.

Hemsky scored at 5:42 of the second on Dallas’ first power play. His shot from the top of the right faceoff circle went in over Fleury’s right shoulder.

The Penguins again had an advantage in shots, 13-11. Pittsburgh had chances in close, but Niemi turned those away. Midway through the second, John Klingberg cleared away a loose puck from in front of the net.

Seven seconds into the Stars’ fourth power play of the third period, Jamie Benn tipped in Jason Spezza‘s shot from the right point.

NOTES: Dallas acquired Janmark as part of a March trade that sent Erik Cole to Detroit. The rookie had been playing in the Swedish Hockey League. . San Jose traded Niemi’s rights to the Stars in June for a seventh-round draft pick. Also making their Dallas debuts were LW Patrick Sharp and D Johnny Oduya, teammates with Chicago’s Stanley Cup champions last season. . In his first game for the Penguins, Phil Kessel played in his 447th straight game. . Pittsburgh was 0 for 3 on the power play.

Fabbri’s first spoils McDavid’s debut as Blues down Oilers

Robby Fabbri, Justin Schultz
1 Comment

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Rookie Robby Fabbri scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period to help the St. Louis Blues beat Edmonton 3-1 Thursday night, spoiling Oilers rookie Connor McDavid‘s NHL debut.

Vladimir Tarasenko had the tying goal for the Blues near the midpoint of the second period, and Troy Brouwer added an empty-netter with 18 seconds remaining in the third. Brian Elliott finished with 23 saves.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored in the first period for Edmonton and Cam Talbot had 28 saves.

McDavid, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, took 22 shifts, played 18:07 and was on the ice for Brouwer’s goal. He had two shots on goal, and struggled on faceoffs – winning only three of 13.

Fabbri, a 19-year-old forward — and McDavid’s childhood friend — was also playing in his first NHL game. The Blues’ first-round pick in 2014 was one of three rookies in the St. Louis lineup, joining defensemen Colton Parayko and Joel Edmundson.

Nugent-Hopkins gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead late in the first period with a fluke power-play goal. He lost a face-off but when Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo tried to clear the puck it bounced off Alexander Steen and past Brian Elliott. Nugent-Hopkins was credited with the unassisted power-play goal with 2:38 remaining in the period.

Tarasenko tied it a 9:10 of the second after getting loose on a breakaway with a stretch pass from Alex Pietrangelo and beating Talbot through his legs.

Tarasenko, who signed an eight-year, $60 million extension in the offseason, was the last Blues player to score in his debut.

NOTES: McDavid and F Anton Slepyshev made their NHL debuts for the Oilers. … St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina dropped the ceremonial first puck. … The attendance was announced as standing room-only 19,327.