Keith Tkachuk, Dave Checketts

St. Louis Blues fans range from uneasy to livid regarding news that team is for sale

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Moving past the obvious fact that every sports team has its fair share of die-hard fans, it’s clear that teams such as the Phoenix Coyotes and Atlanta Thrashers would be less endangered to relocate if their season tickets were selling like iPods. Instead, their games are generating Microsoft Zune-like attention, so they find themselves in a tough situation when it comes to selling their teams.

(The Dallas Stars are probably the equivalent to Pearl Jam’s music career by this analogy, then. They were hot in the ’90s, ignored once they fell out of favor and now are approaching previous levels even if most people haven’t noticed.)

When St. Louis Blues owner Dave Checketts announced that the team is up for sale – basically everything, including his 20 percent share, by the way – it marked a unique moment in recent sales news. Unlike the Stars, Thrashers and Coyotes, the Blues are a box office hit this season even though their team is middling at best.

Of course, with that almost-blind devotion comes plenty of emotion. Upon hearing news that their team might be on the market, Blues fans reacted in ways that ranged from genuine concern to boiling outrage (warning: the latter link is quite vulgar).

First, Jeremy Rutherford dispelled the notion that the team might move in his chat today.

Michael Cook: I feel like with all the failures the Blues have had with our owners throught the years, that it would appear to me that with in five years the Blues will be forced to move. Whats your thought on this? My reason is simple the Blues with a full sellout home crowd this year is still only a break even team.



Jeremy Rutherford: Here’s the key question: Where would they go? Would an owner take the risk of moving to another city where there’s no guarantee that they could withstand the initial novelty of having an NHL team. Possibly, but is it worth the risk? Fans in St. Louis have proven they will come out in droves, regardless of if they’re watching a playoff team. If you put a playoff team in front of them, the new owner can count on the support. And if the team ever puts it together and makes a real run, you’re talking about the possibility of playoff revenue and raising ticket prices and then you’re talking about some real money.
Not every response was calm and measured, though. St. Louis Game Time published a passionate (and profane) response to the announcement. Here are a couple tidbits we can actually publish (click here for the full rant, if you can handle some harsh language).

So here we are, five years later, and another failed owner for this franchise goes down.  I stand by this team, as you all know.  I refuse to side with Checketts, though, as I feel as if he has broken my trust.  In business terms, he sold me what I thought was a cherry, and it turned out to be a total lemon.


This Blues franchise, despite never winning anything in the history of ever (or at least as I see it), is a proud franchise with a solid fan base.  But we, as fans have had our trust in the management of this team tested way too many times.  And now, it happens to me again.

As you can see, fans aren’t too pleased with the news, even if the team is unlikely to move. If nothing else, prospective owners cannot accused the St. Louis market of a lack of passion for the sport, though.

* – The Toronto Maple Leafs’ sale resides in a whole other dimension.

Preds place Salomaki on IR, recall Sissons

Jake Allen, Miikka Salomaki
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Nashville made a minor roster transaction on Thursday, putting forward Miikka Salomaki on IR while recalling fellow forward Colton Sissons from AHL Milwaukee.

Salomaki, 22, was a fairly regular lineup presence through the of November, appearing in eight games while averaging just under 12 minutes per night. Despite his relatively small frame (5-foot-11, 198 pounds), he racked up 28 hits over that time and emerged as a decent energy guy for the Preds.

As for Sissons, he’s about to get yet another crack with the parent club.

Having spent most of the last two seasons in Milwaukee, Sissons — the 50th overall pick in 2012 — has seen some action with the Preds this year. He has one goal in five games with Nashville, and eight points in 12 games with the Admirals.

Oilers say McDavid ‘ahead of schedule’ in broken clavicle recovery

Connor McDavid
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There hasn’t been much good news for the Oilers lately — Connor McDavid‘s hurt, Nail Yakupov‘s hurt, they’ve lost seven of their last nine — so what GM Peter Chiarelli had to say on Thursday qualified as very welcome news.

“He’s ahead of schedule,” Chiarelli said of Connor McDavid and his broken clavicle, per Sportsnet. “He’s been in the pool, been lifting weights… There are no soft tissue injuries, which is important.

“When you get a break like that, oftentimes there is accompanying soft tissue injuries. That slows down the recovery.”

McDavid, who suffered the injury on Nov. 3 against Philly, was originally supposed to be sidelined until early March. But per Sportsnet’s Mark Spector, there’s cautious optimism the star rookie could be back in the Edmonton lineup by “mid-to-late January.”

But even with that cautious optimism, there’s still a long way to go.

McDavid has yet to resume skating and is still at his parents’ home in Newmarket, Ontario. That said, he’s expected to join Edmonton soon — when the Oilers take on the Leafs in Toronto on Monday — and, according to Chiarelli, will want to get back onto the ice way sooner than expected.

“I can tell you that when it comes time,” he said, “[McDavid] is going to want to come back a lot earlier than what we forecast internally.”

There’s another Radulov NHL comeback rumor making the rounds

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It’s been roughly six months since the last one so yeah, time for an Alex Radulov update.

Radulov, who’s spent the last four seasons playing for KHL outfit CSKA Moscow, has reportedly rejected the club’s contract extension offer and is ready to become a free agent, per Russian sports writer Slava Malamud.

Sport-Express’ Igor Eronko also reported the Radulov news, tweeting the ex-Preds forward claimed “there’s nothing” regarding a new deal with CSKA, adding “I’m a free agent after this season.”

Radulov, 29, is having another terrific offensive campaign in Russia, with 37 points in 32 games. This comes one year after he tore up the KHL in ’14-15, with 24 goals and 71 points in just 46 contests — one of the best offensive campaigns in league history.

Rumors of Radulov returning to North America happen with the same frequency as Ilya Kovalchuk comeback rumblings, and always with the same outcome. But it’s hard to ignore them completely.


Well, back in late May, Radulov’s agent told Championat Colorado had been in contact about an NHL return once Radulov’s deal with CSKA expired. Colorado, of course, is coached by Patrick Roy — the same guy that had great success coaching Radulov in the QMJHL.

The two were, at one time, a dynamic force for the Quebec Remparts. During the 2005-06 campaign, Radulov scored a ridiculous 61 goals and 152 points in just 62 games, the nine more in four Memorial Cup contests, helping Roy capture his first and only championship as a head coach.

Radulov, of course, hasn’t played in the NHL since an ill-fated reunion with Nashville in 2012, which included him getting suspended for a playoff game after breaking curfew.

Malamud does note that, should Radulov try to return to the NHL, he’d do so as a unrestricted free agent — meaning he’s no longer Nashville property.

Just a friendly reminder about Friday’s Bruins-Rangers Thanksgiving Showdown, on NBC

Brad Marchand, Dan Boyle

If you don’t spend tomorrow eye-gouging someone to save 50 bucks on an iRobot, why not spend it watching hockey?

In case you didn’t know, tomorrow’s a pretty big day. Not only is there an Original Six matchup between the Bruins and Rangers — essentially kicking off the NHL on NBC national broadcast campaign — but there’s also an additional evening game, and a good one at that:

Anaheim hosting the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks, in a rematch of last year’s Western Conference Final.

But before the Ducks and ‘Hawks do battle, the B’s and Rangers will get it on.

This marks the second time in the last three years Boston and New York meet in the Thanksgiving Showdown. Back in ’13-14, the Bruins beat the Blueshirts 3-2, and this Farrelly Brothers commercial went to air:

Tomorrow’s game promises to be a quality affair. The Bruins come in riding a four-game winning streak, which included Wednesday’s 3-2 OT win over Detroit. In that game, Jonas Gustavsson exacted a measure of revenge against his old Red Wings mates, stopping 32 of 34 shots for the win.

The Rangers, meanwhile, come into Friday’s action looking for some redemption.

Alain Vigneault’s club was waxed in Wednesday’s big test against top-seeded Montreal, dropping a 5-1 decision, at home, in front of the MSG faithful. The Rangers allowed five regulation goals for the first time this season, and saw All-Star netminder Henrik Lundqvist get yanked as a result.


New York Rangers at Boston Bruins, 1 p.m. ET, NBC

Chicago Blackhawks at Anaheim Ducks, 5 p.m. ET, NBCSN

For online viewing information via NBC Sports’ Live Extra, click here.