Doug Armstrong AP

Blues GM praises his team for making the neutral zone “like seaweed”


The St. Louis Blues might be first overall in the NHL, but it’s safe to say they don’t lead the league in high-flying entertainment.

The Blues boast a 1.86 goals-against average and could become the first team since the 1955-56 Montreal Canadiens to finish with a GAA below 2.00. They’re also one of the few teams whose games average fewer than five goals.

Wins are wins, however, and St. Louis has 39 of them since coach Davis Payne was fired on Nov. 6 and defensive-minded Ken Hitchcock took over behind the bench.

“They work so well together,” GM Doug Armstrong told the Globe and Mail, describing his team under Hitchcock. “The neutral zone, it’s like seaweed.”

Globe writer Eric Duhatschek calls that “a good analogy, but also a grim way of looking at how they play the game.”

It also begs the questions, is the Blues’ success good for the NHL? Because it’s pretty tough to market a brand of hockey that’s “like seaweed.” (All-you-can-eat sushi nights?)

The Blues’ success is good for the Blues though. Yesterday the team announced it was raising ticket prices 9.8 percent, a move that (by our math) could raise regular-season revenue by over $3 million if current attendance remains consistent. And then there’s all the additional playoff revenue that comes with a winning team.

The risk is more and more franchises, particularly those with limited budgets that can’t afford superstar scorers, copy the Blues’ style and we end up in another dead-puck era.

Despite tough fight, Stars hand Wild their sixth straight loss

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The Minnesota Wild put together the kind of effort that would beat a lot of NHL teams on Tuesday. Unfortunately for that beleaguered group, it wasn’t enough to edge the Dallas Stars.

Despite generating 40 shots on goal and generating 1-0 and 2-1 leads, the Wild lost to the Stars 4-3 in overtime. With that, they’ve lost six straight games.

(The view doesn’t get much prettier if you pull away a little further, either, as Minnesota’s only won once in the last month, going 1-9-2 in their last 12.)

Ultimately, the Stars’ big guns were too powerful. Tyler Seguin generated two assists and so did Jamie Benn, who set up John Klingberg‘s overtime game-winning goal.

Again, the effort sure seemed to be there for the Wild, even if they’re far beyond the point of accepting moral victories.

As frustrating as this must be, Minnesota’s not that far from a playoff spot. Still, it has to sting to see “Close, but not good enough” as a prevailing theme as of late.

Royal beating: Lucic, Kings crush Bruins 9-2

As Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron (37) looks on Los Angeles Kings' Milan Lucic waves to the crowd after a tribute to him was played on the screen during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

The Boston Bruins welcomed Milan Lucic back on Tuesday. Maybe they shouldn’t have extended such a warm welcome to the Los Angeles Kings overall, however.

You won’t see many games as lopsided as this one, at least in 2015-16, as the Kings walloped the Bruins by a humbling score of 9-2.

Lucic wasn’t just there, either, as he scored a goal and an assist in his quite triumphant return to Boston.

Tuukka Rask had a short night in Boston’s net, yet it wasn’t as if Jonas Gustavsson enjoyed his time. It was a pretty sound beating by all accounts.

This dominant win is a heck of a way for the Kings to begin an imposing seven-game road trip, which continues against the New York Islanders on Thursday. The Bruins probably want to burn the tape on this one themselves, as they’re about to head on a six-game road trip.

Video: Evander Kane believes he won his fights vs. Alex Petrovic


The Florida Panthers are beating up the Buffalo Sabres where it counts – on the scoreboard – but Evander Kane was happy to highlight his perceived victories in a couple bouts.

Buffalo’s power forward fought Alex Petrovic twice on Tuesday, and Kane wasn’t shy about holding up a “2-0.”

You can watch the second fight above, and the first one below, via Hockey Fights by way of MSG:

This GIF might just say it all, really:

Update: Apparently they fought again moments after this post went up.

Probably safe to call it a rivalry between the two, right?

The Panthers ultimately won 7-4.

Fight video: Yes, a visor-breaking punch

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Some hockey players resist the urge to wear a visor, at least if they’re given that choice.

Perhaps a few will say “Hey, Nathan Beaulieu will just punch it off anyway.”

Maybe not, but Beaulieu provided a rather unique moment in his fight with Cedric Paquette during the Montreal Canadiens – Tampa Bay Lightning game. You can watch that bout in the video above, and see a cut on the Lightning pest’s face from that blow.

Want it in GIF form? OK then: