Organizers hope to preserve the arena in which 'The Miracle on Ice' took place

miracleonice1980.jpgYou know an event was special when even the creative by-products of those moments provide an incredible experience. From Disney’s feature film “Miracle” to HBO’s fantastic documentary “Do you believe in Miracles?” all the way down to the sorely under-appreciated book “The Boys of Winter,” I just cannot get enough retrospectives on the 1980 U.S. Olympic team’s gold medal run.

Yet when you talk about hockey pilgrimages, visiting Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, NY rarely registers unless you’re in close proximity to the area. One way to draw hockey fans (and people interested in the history of American sports in general) is to make sure that the arena stands as a well-represented monument to a moment many consider the greatest moment in U.S. sports history.

Unfortunately, the efforts to maintain Herb Brooks Arena have fallen under hard times thanks in large part to the country’s stagnant economy. Here is more from Bill Meltzer of

The arena in Lake Placid that now bears the name of the late coach of the American team is in need of repair and upkeep. A non-profit project is under way to transform Herb Brooks Arena into a living monument to the Miracle on Ice, both for current and future generations.

Under the auspices of the Village of Lake Placid and the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) and the curatorial direction of Liz DeFazio, the process of planning a facility makeover has begun. The first tangible steps likely are to involve the preservation of Dressing Room No. 5, the room where Team USA got ready for its historic come-from-behind victory over the mighty Soviet team on Feb. 22, 1980. The current museum plan includes a proposal to create a profile for each Team USA player located in the individual stall where he dressed. This will include a photo of each player, his bio and possibly his Olympic stats.

Unfortunately, there are limited government funds available to undertake the project. Funding has been cut each and every year, and the current fiscal year has been particularly steep, with the economy still in a precarious state. As a result, the financial groundwork for the project will have to come through private funding.

Here are a few other things I’ve love to see as they attempt to turn Herb Brooks Arena into something of a museum:

  • A replica of Brooks’ hilarious plaid suit from the Olympic Games (that for some reason is now very difficult to find via Google).
  • The whistle used by Brooks during the “Again!” session of Herbies. (This clip includes that dramatized sequence and the plaid suit. Huzzah!)
  • A signed copy of a photo of the late first period goal allowed by Russian goalie Vladimir Tretiak, who has become a good sport about the moment over the years. Probably because he’s only, what, 1/3 culpable?
  • A viewing room with the game in full. I still haven’t seen the actual, full game and I think that’s a crime.
  • The gold medal that Mark Wells unfortunately needed to sell.

Anyway, just consider those ideas a few gentle suggestions. The article didn’t include any information about how to donate to the cause to preserve Herb Brooks Arena, but we’ll pass along any notes and updates on the upkeep for the site of “The Miracle on Ice.”

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.”