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Best and worst sweaters of all-time: St. Louis Blues

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So the Blues don’t have a Stanley Cup in their history, but they do have a history of classic sweaters with an era in the mid-1990s that made everyone wonder just what in the world they were smoking. We’ve all been there. If you’re familiar at all with what the Blues have done in the past, you’ve got a good idea how this list will looks.

Best: The Blues have a long history dating back to the late 1960s, but their best sweater in franchise history dates back to the early 1970s. It’s simple, it’s to the point, and it doesn’t have a nonsensical circular logo. That’s about all we can ask for out of a sweater and the early effective simplicity of just having a blue music note mixed in with white and yellow is perfect.

Worst: Just about the last color you’d like to have dominate a jersey when your team is called the St. Louis Blues is the color red. Red is the color of division rivals Detroit and Chicago and yet while red was a minor highlight of the Blues’ sweaters during the 90s, from 1995-1998 the Blues made red a much bigger factor of their look. Adding a prominent trumpet logo to the shoulders didn’t help the look much and to top it all off, it helped make Wayne Gretzky look like a chump.

Old-timey favorite: The Blues’ current third is nice in that modern vintage look but it’s been done to death by now. The old timey one I’m digging on is the one the Blues broke out in the mid-80s that featured the blue note as well as an arching word mark. It was like a vintage jersey that existed in an era where it was entirely out of place and before it was chic. I’m OK with that.

Disaster averted: During the 1995-1996 season, the Blues were also going to join the third jersey crush and the design they had cooked up would’ve made theirs, by far, the worst NHL sweater to ever see the light of day. It was highlighted by a cartoon mascot, Cool Cat, that touted how “cool” it was going to be. Instead of being awesome, it was more like Poochie the dog from The Simpsons.

The night the Blues were to take the ice in these monstrosities, then head coach Mike Keenan said there was no way his team was taking the ice adorning a jersey made up of music notes, trumpets, and sweeping team colors. Say it with us folks, “Thank you, Mike Keenan.”

Assessment: Their current sweaters are nice. They’re very blue, they highlight the blue note logo perfectly and if nothing else, they’re a little dull. That’s OK though because after the red era of the mid-90s they had to bring the excitement level down a few notches. Their third jersey is striking and honors the team and the city nicely and I’m a fan of it myself, but it was the jersey that unleashed the fury of circular logo third jerseys upon the NHL the last couple years. What was sort of original once became tired looking later on. That’s unfortunate.

Datsyuk ‘wants to make sure the Wings have options,’ says his agent

TAMPA, FL - APRIL 21:  Pavel Datsyuk #13 of the Detroit Red Wings checks his stick before a face-off against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period in Game Five of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on April 21, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
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Pavel Datsyuk‘s future with the Detroit Red Wings and in the National Hockey League has been up in the air for a while now, as he’s linked to rumors of a return to Russia and the KHL.

His agent, Dan Milstein, recently explained to the Detroit Free Press that Datsyuk’s future should become clear in mid-June after meeting with Red Wings general manager Ken Holland.

As per General Fanager, Datsyuk has one more year left on his current deal, which comes with a cap hit of $7.5 million.

From the Detroit Free Press:

“He would like to leave, but at the same time, he wants to make sure the Wings have options,” Milstein said. “He wants to help the team any way he can with the salary cap issue.”

Wings general manager Ken Holland has said there are no loopholes. Because Datsyuk signed his last contract after he turned 35, his $7.5 million salary cap hit remains in tact even if Datsyuk departs. The Wings’ only option is to trade his contract to a team such as Arizona or Carolina that could use the hefty cap hit in order to be above the salary cap minimum.

At the age of 37, his career in the league started in 2001-02, and has spanned 953 regular season games in which he’s accrued 918 points.

He’s had a highly decorated career, with two Stanley Cup championships with the Red Wings, three Selke and four Lady Byng trophies.

Allen or Elliott? Another goalie decision looms for Hitchcock

ST LOUIS, MO - MAY 23:  Jake Allen #34 of the St. Louis Blues tends goal against Nick Spaling #16 of the San Jose Sharks during the third period in Game Five of the Western Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scottrade Center on May 23, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The St. Louis Blues need to win Game 6 on Wednesday, or their season is over. Who they decide to turn to in net is likely to be a talking point — heated debate, maybe? — leading up to that contest.

Do they go back to Jake Allen for a third consecutive start, despite the fact he allowed four goals on 25 shots in Monday’s Game 5 loss to the San Jose Sharks? Or, will head coach Ken Hitchcock turn once again to Brian Elliott, who started every single game from the series opener of the first round versus Chicago to Game 3 of the Western Conference Final.

Hitchcock at least felt that going with Allen over Elliott in Game 4 provided the necessary spark for his team, as the Blues evened the series.

But on Monday, the Sharks, on the strength of two Joe Pavelski goals, eventually overpowered the Blues for the win, moving San Jose one victory away from the Stanley Cup Final.

“I thought he was fine. I don’t know, those are decisions we make in a day or so. But I thought he was fine today. He stopped some point-blank shots, especially early, three times early,” Hitchcock told reporters.

“I don’t know. That’s stuff we’ll talk about tomorrow.”

Feeding frenzy: Sharks send Blues to the brink of elimination in Western Conference Final

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The San Jose Sharks won a back-and-forth Game 5 to take back the lead in a back-and-forth Western Conference Final, moving one victory away from appearing in the Stanley Cup Final.

After scoring the tying goal late in the second period, Joe Pavelski notched his 12th of the playoffs to give San Jose the lead for good just 16 seconds into the third period.

The Sharks earned a 6-3 victory on the road, in a bounce-back effort from Saturday.

Twice, the Blues grabbed the lead. Troy Brouwer gave them the advantage in the first period, showing off his baseball skills by batting the puck into the net on a rebound. Robby Fabbri gave them another lead in the second period, making Roman Polak pay for snapping on Dmitrij Jaskin along the boards.

But the Blues couldn’t hold on. The Sharks scored twice on three power play opportunities and can now clinch the Western Conference on home ice in Wednesday’s Game 6.

As for the Blues, will Ken Hitchcock change up his starting goaltender again? It’s certainly an aspect of this series that will once again be up for debate leading up to Wednesday’s game.

After Brian Elliott had backstopped the Blues through the first two rounds and started the first three games of this series, Hitchcock decided to start Jake Allen in Game 4.

Allen recorded the win Saturday, and was called upon again in Game 5 as expected, but gave up four goals on 25 shots Monday.

Video: Sharks’ Polak snaps, Blues make him pay on the power play

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San Jose Sharks defenseman Roman Polak took serious issue with St. Louis Blues forward Dmitrij Jaskin during the second period, as the two eventually threw off the gloves off in a fight in the corner.

In the process, Polak let his emotions get the better of him — he snapped — by also taking a roughing minor to give the Blues a power play.

The Blues made him — and the Sharks — pay on a blast from Robby Fabbri, who was a game-time decision for Monday’s contest.

The Sharks tied the game at 3-3 before the end of the second period on Joe Pavelski‘s 11th of the playoffs. Pavelski struck again in the third period, giving San Jose the 4-3 lead.