Tyler Seguin tallies two assists, Nino Niederreiter gets in first fight during Bruins-Islanders rookie game

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Thumbnail image for tylerseguindraftday.jpgWhile the Traverse City Prospects Tournament wrapped up tonight, there were other rookie competitions of note. We’ll cover the big three Edmonton prospects’ debut in the Young Stars Tournament tomorrow, but the Boston Bruins and New York Islanders also had a rookie game that caused quite a stir.

NHL.com captures the scene that included much more than a 5-2 Bruins win, including the debut of the second pick of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Tyler Seguin.

With a pair of top-five picks from the 2010 NHL Draft on display — Boston’s Tyler Seguin and New York’s Nino Niederreiter — an impressive crowd of 11,571 came out to see two teams of fresh faces at TD Garden, but it was Jordan Caron who stole the show with a hat trick, as the Bruins came out on top, 5-2.


Thumbnail image for ninonied.jpgAnd the two headliners made their presence known in both aspects of the game.

Seguin tallied a pair of assists and jostled with the Isles’ Travis Hamonic, while Niederreiter scored New York’s first goal of the night off Hamonic’s deflection at 11:51 of the second and later dropped the gloves in the third period for a joust with Boston’s Tyler Randell.

Robin Figren would also score for the Islanders in the third period.

Niederreiter’s fight with Randell was one of several on a night that saw a delay in the third period to clean blood off of the ice. The rules established before the start of the game declared that any player who fought twice would be ejected, but nobody received more than one fighting major.

So Seguin produced two helpers and Niederreiter got in his first career fight in a game violent enough that people needed to clean blood off the ice? Sure, this might only be an exhibition game, but for the players involved it means something. Especially when it’s your first semi-real taste of NHL hockey.

So far, so good for both prospects, it seems.

DiMaio named Blues’ director of player personnel

via St. Louis Blues
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The St. Louis Blues named Rob DiMaio their director of player personnel on Tuesday.

He’s been with the organization for some time. He joined as a pro scout in 2008 and was the pro scouting director starting in August 2012.

He was also a scout for the Dallas Stars before landing with the Blues (one would assume his biggest connection is GM Doug Armstrong, then).

In case his nose didn’t give it away, he also enjoyed a lengthy hockey career over 19 seasons.

No doubt about it, this is a pivotal season for the Blues after multiple campaigns in which strong regular seasons dissolved into playoff disappointments. Perhaps DiMaio can make a difference in a heightened role?

Hitchcock going to more aggressive attack for Blues

Ken Hitchcock

ST. LOUIS (AP) After three straight first-round playoff exits, the St. Louis Blues have learned to temper expectations.

They have been consistently among the NHL’s best in the regular season and realize it is past time to build something for the long haul. The sting still lingers from the latest failure, against the Minnesota Wild last spring.

“We’re all disappointed, everybody can agree on that,” defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. “It’s never easy to kind of think about your failures, but we grow every time it happens.”

Management isn’t ready to tear it all down yet.

“We play, in my opinion, one of the toughest if not the toughest division in the NHL, and we’ve finished first or second in the last four years,” forward Alexander Steen said. “So we have an extremely powerful team.”

Maybe a change in strategy will be enough: Coach Ken Hitchcock is back with a mandate for a more aggressive, even reckless, style of play from a roster that hasn’t changed appreciably.

“We’re coming hard from the back and we’re coming hard to see how close we can get to the attack,” Hitchcock said. “I think it’s where the game’s at; I think it’s where the game’s going to go.”

The 63-year-old Hitchcock is pushing forward, too, unwilling to dwell on the flameouts. Coach and players agree that would be “wasted energy.”

“My opinion is when you sit and think about the past, you do yourself no good,” Hitchcock said. “If you learn from the past, that’s when you do yourself a whole bunch of good.”

There were only two major roster casualties. Forward Troy Brouwer came from Washington in a trade for fan favorite T.J. Oshie. Defenseman Barret Jackman, the franchise career leader in games, wasn’t re-signed.

“If you were expecting 23 new faces to be on the roster this year, I don’t think that was realistic,” captain David Backes said. “We’re going to miss those guys in the room and on the ice, but there has been some changeover and I think it’s pretty significant.”

Things to watch for with the Blues:

GOALIE SHUFFLE: Just like last year, there’s no true No. 1 with Brian Elliott and Jake Allen sharing duties. The 25-year-old Allen missed a chance to seize the job last spring when he failed to raise his level in the playoffs.

TOP THREAT: Vladimir Tarasenko had a breakout season with 37 goals and was rewarded with an eight-year, $60 million contract. The 23-year-old winger is by far the Blues’ most dangerous scoring option and said he won’t let the money affect his play. “I never worry about it,” Tarasenko said. “If you play good, you play good.”

NEW FACES: Brouwer and center Kyle Brodziak add a physical element that was perhaps lacking a bit last season. Brouwer has three 20-plus goal seasons and Brodziak, acquired from Minnesota, fills a checking role. Veteran forward Scottie Upshall got a one-year, two-way deal after being coming to camp as a tryout. Rookie forward Robby Fabbri, a first-round pick last year, will get an early look. Another promising youngster, forward Ty Rattie, begins the year at Chicago of the AHL.

RECOVERY WARD: Forward Jori Lehteri bounced back quickly from ankle surgery and opens the season without restrictions. Another forward, Patrik Berglund, could miss half of the season following shoulder surgery.

TRACK RECORD: The Blues won the Central Division last season and Hitchcock, fourth on the career list with 708 regular-season wins, has consistently had the team near the top of the standings. “He is our coach, tough cookies if you don’t like it,” Backes said. “From my experience, he puts together one heck of a game plan.”