Dwayne Roloson named NHL’s number one star of the week

This week’s edition of the NHL three stars of the week features a pair of names we haven’t seen come through much and one name we’ve seen virtually every week.

Islanders goaltender Dwayne Roloson walked away with this week’s top honors after going 3-0-0 with a 0.98 goals against average and a .972 save percentage in helping the Isles to go 4-0-1 over their last five games and getting the team out of last place overall in the NHL. Roloson’s outstanding play comes at a time when the Isles were showing little to no hope of doing something positive and now suddenly find themselves out of the basement being supplanted there by the Devils.

Roloson, who is 41 years-old, has had his name thrown around in trade rumors to help out a contending team in need of solid goaltending thanks to his play has been one of the few steady players in Long Island this season. Even though his overall record this year looks crummy (5-12-1) his save percentage (.920) and goal against average (2.38) say he’s been the reason the Isles have had any success at all. If Roloson is a candidate to be moved, you could see him earning a lot of interest elsewhere.

Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg took home the week’s number two star of the week after stepping up his play in the absence of Pavel Datsyuk. Zetterberg tallied three goals and four assists in helping the Red Wings win all three of their games in the past week. Zetterberg’s always consistent level of play will come under closer scrutiny now with Datsyuk out with a broken hand but for now, he’s the man leading the team in scoring with 13 goals and 27 assists over 35 games.

Unsurprisingly, Sidney Crosby earns the the league’s third star of the week. Crosby’s been a point producing machine all year in helping the Penguins to be one of the top teams in the league and over the past week he’s been no different. Sid the Kid had four goals and three assists in leading the Pens to a 3-1-0 record over the last week and extended his consecutive games with a point streak to 24 over that time. All Sid has done this year is lead the NHL in goals scored (30) and points (61) so far this year. Ho hum, another great season for one of the league’s top players.

DiMaio named Blues’ director of player personnel

via St. Louis Blues
Leave a comment

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.”