DougArmstrong

Any GMs looking to send 50-goal scorers to St. Louis, give Doug Armstrong a buzz

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After scoring just 10 goals in a six-game playoffs ouster, the St. Louis Blues know they need more offense.

But, as GM Doug Armstrong points out, offense isn’t easy to come by.

“This is a public cry that for any GMs that have 50-goal scorers that they want to send to St. Louis, give me a call,” Armstrong joked (we think) to the Belleville News-Democrat. “This doesn’t happen, you have to deal in reality.

The reality is with free agency the way it is now, teams tie up those elusive top-end goal scorers. They draft them. Malkin, Crosby, Tavares, Stamkos were drafted by those teams.”

The Blues have now been bounced in consecutive series by the Kings, and a lack of goalscoring has been a major theme throughout (in 2012, the Blues scored just six times in a four-game sweep.)

In his season-ending remarks, head coach Ken Hitchcock cryptically referred to needing more “from people that are homegrown,” and “the boys we built around.”

One could assume Hitch was referring to players St. Louis drafted that failed to produce this series: David Perron (no goals), Patrik Berglund (one goal) and possibly captain David Backes, a two-time 30 goal scorer that now has just four tallies in 19 playoff games.

That said, there are other culprits as well.

Two “un-homegrown” players — Andy McDonald and Chris Stewart — were virtual no-shows in the playoffs, combining for one point.

Stewart was the team’s leading goalscorer during the regular season (with 18) and McDonald led the Blues in playoff scoring last year with 10 points in nine games.

So no surprise their disappearing acts threw the Blues off course.

That said, it doesn’t sound as though St. Louis is planning a roster shakeup. If the words from Hitchcock and Armstrong suggest anything, the Blues will simply demand more of the players they currently have.

“It’s incumbent upon the players in this room to find out how to produce when the lights are the brightest, to score those goals,” he said. “If I can find a guy that can come in and help us score goals, certainly we’re gong to look at doing it.

“But to think that player’s out there and teams just give them away and say ‘Geez, it’s St. Louis’s time to win, we’ll give you Ovechkin.’… You’ve got to deal in reality.”

Blues put Pietrangelo on IR with knee injury

Pietrangelo-Coyle
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Not good news for the St. Louis Blues — the club announced this morning that defenseman Alex Pietrangelo has been placed on injured reserve with a right-knee injury. He’ll be re-evaluated in three weeks.

Pietrangelo suffered the injury Saturday in a knee-on-knee collision with Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle.

Based on the timeline provided, the Blues will be without their leader in average ice time (26:40) until at least the end of the month. St. Louis plays 10 times between now and Feb. 29, which also happens to be the trade deadline.

The big question, of course, is whether Pietrangelo will be ready to go upon re-evaluation.

The first day of the playoffs is April 13.

Update:

Related: Armstrong wants Blues to get healthy before any trades are made

“I wonder if that’s Crosby, what happens?’ — AV upset after McDonagh concussed by Simmonds

Alain Vigneault
AP
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Alain Vigneault took another shot at the NHL’s Department of Player Safety today.

This time, the Rangers head coach was upset about the lack of supplementary discipline for Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds in the wake of Saturday’s altercation with New York captain Ryan McDonagh.

“An All-Star player gets sucker-punched, goes down,” Vigneault said, per The Record. “I wonder if that’s (Sidney) Crosby, what happens? What are the consequences? And, on top of that, a player breaks his stick, throws it at the referees. In the rulebook, that’s automatic. It’s three games. Nothing happens. It’s not even on the sheet after the game.”

Simmonds’ punch left McDonagh concussed and unable to play tonight versus New Jersey, with no timetable for his return.

Earlier this season, Vigneault voiced his frustration with the league after Rangers center Derek Stepan suffered broken ribs in Boston on a hit from Bruins forward Matt Beleskey.

Vigneault felt the hit was late.

“I remember Aaron Rome in this building, .6 seconds late, getting suspended four games in the Stanley Cup Final,” the former Vancouver Canucks coach said, recalling the contentious 2011 final.

Beleskey was not suspended.

Crosby, Karlsson and Trocheck are NHL’s three stars of the week

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby celebrates his goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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Penguins center Sidney Crosby, Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, and Panthers center Vincent Trocheck have been named the NHL’s three stars for the past week.

From the NHL:

Crosby led the League in goals and points (5-3-8) in three games as the Penguins (26-18-7, 59 points) earned four of a possible six points to secure the second Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference.

Karlsson led the League in assists and ranked second in points (0-7-7) in three games as the Senators (24-23-6, 54 points) won one of three starts for the week.

Trocheck notched six points (3-3—6) in three games, helping the Panthers (31-15-6, 68 points) widen their lead atop the Atlantic Division to six points.

Related: Red-hot Crosby could make Pens a flawed (but dangerous) dark horse

Malkin to miss third straight game with lower-body injury

Evgeni Malkin
AP
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Evgeni Malkin‘s “nagging” lower-body injury will keep him out at least one more game.

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said this morning that the star center will sit out tonight at home against the Ducks. Malkin already missed two contests this weekend in Florida. His status is day-to-day.

The Penguins lost, 6-3, in Tampa on Friday, but rebounded Saturday with a 3-2 OT win over the Panthers.

Pittsburgh’s next game after tonight’s is Wednesday at home versus the Rangers.