Alex Pietrangelo, Dave Bolland, Duncan Keith

Blues clearly stand alone as NHL’s top team (for now)


Considering the Detroit Red Wings’ history-making home streak and how bad most of the Southeast Division teams have been on the road, the following observation might surprise you:

You could argue that no team could gain as much from home ice advantage as much as the St. Louis Blues.

Blues bold at home

Blame it on the advantage of line changes and matchups at home, the inconsistency of a young roster or any other factor as much as you’d like, the Blues are an elite team at home  (28-4-4) and average (15-14-3) on the road.

The good and the bad

The team’s potential home dependence is the bad news – especially since they’re just a stride or two ahead of the Detroit Red Wings for the Central Division crown.

The good news is that St. Louis currently sits atop the entire NHL with 93 points after beating the Anaheim Ducks 3-1 tonight, leaving them two points ahead of the East-leading New York Rangers. (The Blueshirts do have two games in hand, so don’t give the Blues the Presidents Trophy just yet.)


Considering the fact that Ken Hitchcock took over as the season was already in action, it’s tough to truly gauge the Blues’ power. Are they absolutely elite, maybe in the second tier or perhaps not as good as they seem on paper? Feel free to share your thoughts on the rising upstarts in the comments.

Ducks name Kesler alternate captain

Ryan Kesler
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For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”

On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.

With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.

“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”

As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.

It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.

Diaz could leave Rangers for Europe

Raphael Diaz, Mike Sislo
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Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?

We’ll know in a month.

Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:

The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.

The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.

If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.

Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”

And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.

While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.