Tyler Seguin

Days with the Cup: Conclusion of Stanley’s Euro tour, Paille goes to Niagra Falls and more

The Stanley Cup has seen some exotic (and wet) places since we last took a look at its tour among the Boston Bruins. Let’s go in chronological order, beginning with the last leg of its European tour.

Tuukka Rask’s day (July 24):

It must be strange to be Rask. He was the expected starter going into the 2010-11 season only to see Tim Thomas return to his Vezina Trophy form from 2008-09 and steal back the job. Instead of being the Bruins’ starter, he was relegated to solid backup duty. A lot has been made of the trade value of backups like Cory Schneider and Jonathan Bernier, but Rask’s case might be the most interesting since Thomas is an aging star.

There wasn’t a whole lot of information available about Rask’s day wit the Cup in Finland, but this mini-clip shows that it wasn’t for a lack of fun.

Shawn Thornton relaxes with the Cup (July 27):

The bruising forward had his first run with the Stanley Cup thanks to the Anaheim Ducks’ dominating 2007 win, so he told NHL.com that he “took care of” the fans and other people who demanded their moment with him and the silver chalice last time around. (Note: “took care of” does not mean murder.)

That being said, Thornton wasn’t a total homebody; he took the Cup to the top of Toronto’s CN Tower and spent plenty of his time signing autographs and making sure that people had their chance to see it.

“I think when you tell the city or whatever you’re going to show up somewhere, you end up being there for a lot longer and we don’t have it for that long,” Thornton told the Bruins’ website. “I’ve seen it happen before, you schedule two hours to be at an event and you end up being there for four or five because you don’t want to say no to the kids.

“I’m fortunate enough that this is my second time and I did a lot of the ‘taking care of people’ the first time I had it, so this time is a lot more chill, a lot more relaxed.”

Danile Paille (July 28):

Unlike Thornton’s laid-back day with the Cup, Daniel Paille’s was scripted to get the most of his measly hours. The rugged winger brought it to a place it’s apparently never been before: Niagara Falls. Here’s video footage of the Stanley Cup going along for the “Maid of the Mist” ride.

Rich Peverley (July 29):

Peverley shared the Cup with 2,300 fans from his hometown of Guelph, but for the most part, the underrated center decided to take it easy with his family and friends on his day with the Cup.

Gregory Campbell’s heartwarming day with the Cup (July 30):

It was easy for critics to pick on the son of former discipline czar Colin Campbell during the 2010-11 season, but it’s nearly impossible to do anything but admire “Soupy’s” use of his day with the Cup. The grinding forward brought the Cup to Grand River Hospital in Kitchener to share it with kids who are “fighting a much bigger fight” than any hockey game could provide.

Tyler Seguin is today’s lucky winner for a day with the Cup. We’ll keep an eye on what he does, but if you cannot wait, here are a few photos to whet your whistle. Stay tuned for more day with the Stanley Cup updates as the Bruins’ summer-long victory lap continues.

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.”