Alex Pietrangelo, Tyson Strachan make the cut for the St. Louis Blues

alexpmakestheblues.jpgThe St. Louis Blues decided to keep top prospect Alex Pietrangelo and Tyson Strachan on their NHL roster, according to Jeremy Rutherford. Defenseman Ian Cole and forward Nicholas Drazenovic were sent down to the AHL to make space for the two players.

Rutherford captured the reactions of both Pietrangelo and Strachan. First, Pietrangelo discusses the situation with Rutherford.

Here is Pietrangelo’s reaction to making the team: “It’s a relief. It’s exciting. It’ll probably hit me more on Saturday during the home opener, if I’m playing. But it’s exciting. I’ve enjoyed the process here … it’s been a pretty good competition. We’ve been pushing each other pretty good, the guys that have been sticking around. It’s a relief, that’s probably the best way to put it. But at the same time it’s only a start right? There’s guys breathing down your neck, trying to get the same spot. You’ve just got to keep playing, keep pushing forward. They said the same thing I’m saying right now . . . it’s just a start and you’ve got to just keep pushing forward.”

On losing some of the pressure and advancing his game: “I’m feeling a lot more confident these past couple of days. I’ve got to go out there Thursday and Friday and have a good practice and Saturday is a big start to the season.”

Useless NHL ’11 note: if you’re doing a fantasy draft in Be a GM Mode, draft Pietrangelo. He turns into a star in about three or four years. Surely, there is some real-life relevance to Pietrangelo too, but for me he’s still one of those “awesome prospects who lives larger in video games at this point” type guys. (Jay Bouwmeester used to be that guy. Now he’s the fast defenseman who gets paid a ton of money.)

Next, Rutherford catches up with Strachan.

Here is Strachan’s reaction to making the team: “They let me know that I’m starting the season and I made the top seven and I’ll be competing for playing time. It’s stressful to get the call when they say ‘Meet with Davis (Payne)” because over the last two years, I’ve had those meetings and afterwards I was making the three-hour drive (to Peoria). It’s hard to explain. I just worked really hard and I’m excited to have the opportunity.”

So, there you go. The Blues seem like they could be a sneaky-good team next season, but it will require solid play from many young skaters. If Pietrangelo and/or Strachan work out, that would increase the odds of St. Louis succeeding substantially.

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    NHL on NBCSN Doubleheader: Wild vs. ‘Hawks; Pens vs. Sharks

    Scott Darling, Charlie Coyle
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    NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2015-16 campaign tonight with a pair of interesting games. It all gets underway when the Chicago Blackhawks host the Minnesota Wild at 8:00 p.m. ET. If you want to watch the game online, you can do so here.

    The Wild come into this game having lost three in a row and six of their last seven games to close out the month of November.

    The good news for Minnesota is that Zach Parise returned to their lineup last Friday after missing eight games because of a knee injury.

    He has no points and minus-2 rating since coming back.

    Besides the two teams Parise’s played for (New Jersey and Minnesota), there isn’t a team in the league he’s produced less against than the ‘Hawks.

    The 31-year-old has three goals and seven points in 20 games against Chicago.

    The Blackhawks are off to an average start, but they’ve proven that they’re still tough to beat at home.

    Chicago is 8-2-1 at the United Center this season.

    This will be the Hawks’ first home game since Nov. 15. They closed out their six-game road trip with a 3-2 OT loss to the Kings on Saturday.

    Following that tilt, NBCSN will broadcast the late game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and San Jose Sharks at 10:30 p.m. ET. You can watch the game online by clicking here.

    The Penguins closed out the month of November with a pair of disappointing losses to the Blue Jackets (OT) and Oilers (SO).

    Pittsburgh hasn’t won a game in regulation since Nov. 19 when they defeated Colorado 4-3.

    You can’t blame Evgeni Malkin for the Penguins’ recent struggles.

    The 29-year-old has scored each of Pittsburgh’s last four goals and he has 10 points in his last three contests.

    November was very kind to the Sharks.

    The team set a new franchise record by sweeping a six-game road trip that saw them win in Detroit, Buffalo, Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Columbus.

    They lost their first game back home to Chicago, but they closed out the month with a 5-2 win over the Flames on Saturday.

    Sharks defenseman Brent Burns scored a pair of goals when these two teams met on Nov. 21. San Jose won that game by a score of 3-1.

    PHT Morning Skate: Legendary broadcaster Doc Emrick sits down with HBO Real Sports


    PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

    Legendary broadcaster Doc Emrick sat down with Andrea Kremer to discuss his 40 years in hockey. (Above)

    Watch as a group of people (including some former NHLers) take part in a pond hockey game on the Rocky Mountains. (Bardown)

    Check out Josh Jooris and Johnny Gaudreau‘s crib:

    Former NHL referee Kerry Fraser explains why Brad Marchand deserved a penalty for his collision with Henrik Lundqvist. (TSN)

    The EIHL’s Braehead Clan suited up in a kilt-like uniform.

    Today’s the day you can start voting for your 2016 NHL All-Stars. (

    The Panthers are healthy scratching Bolland, and he is their highest-paid forward, but they insist they’re not sending a message

    Dave Bolland, Derek Nansen
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    It feels like there’s a story brewing in Florida, where Dave Bolland — the team’s most-expensive forward, at $5.5 million a season — has been a healthy scratch for three consecutive games.

    But according to head coach Gerard Gallant, there’s nothing to see here. Move along.

    “There’s nothing to talk about,” Gallant said, per the Miami Herald. “He sat out, our team is playing well. There’s nothing more than that. We have to sit two guys and I like the way we’re playing. The next game is a different game. We may change something up, who knows.”

    Bolland had just one goal and five points in 18 games prior to getting parked in the press box. Well, technically he got dropped to the fourth line before hitting the press box, but you get the idea. He’s not exactly in Gallant’s good graces.

    Not helping Bolland’s case is the fact that, as Gallant pointed out, the club is playing pretty well without him. The Panthers have rebounded from a rough start to November by winning back-to-back games against the Islanders and Red Wings, which set them up nicely for the remainder of this current five-game road swing.

    Florida has games still to play in St. Louis, Nashville, Columbus and New Jersey. It’ll be interesting to see when — or, if — he draws back into the lineup.

    In closing, a reminder that Bolland’s in the second of a five-year, $27.5 million deal.

    Canucks rookie Virtanen exits with upper-body injury, won’t return


    After sitting out Friday’s game in Dallas, Vancouver’s Jake Virtanen had to be excited at drawing back in for tonight’s game against the Ducks.

    Unfortunately, the excitement didn’t last long.

    Virtanen suffered an upper-body injury after playing just 1:45 in the opening frame, and was ruled out of the contest during the intermission. It’s unclear exactly what happened, but it looks like Virtanen was injured on a hit by Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf.

    Virtanen didn’t take another shift following the incident, and Getzlaf was given a minor penalty on the play.

    While we don’t know what the injury is or it’s severity, losing Virtanen for any length of time would have ramifications for the Canucks and this year’s Canadian entry at the World Juniors. There has been talk of Virtanen possibly being released by the Canucks to participate in the tournament; last year, he was part of the team that captured gold in Montreal and Toronto.

    Virtanen has played in 18 games for the Canucks this year, scoring one goal and four points while averaging 10:17 TOI per night.