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


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.”

The verdict is in: Dubinsky gets one game for cross-checking Crosby


Brandon Dubinsky has been suspended one game for his cross-check to the back of Sidney Crosby‘s neck.

The incident took place during the second period of Friday’s game.

Crosby did head to the locker room after the play, but he was able to return.

When deciding on the number of games to give Dubinsky, here’s what the NHL took into account:

  1. Dubinsky delivered a clear cross-check.
  2. Dubinsky has been fined before, but never suspended.
  3. Crosby wasn’t seriously injured on the play.

“In this case, while Dubinsky’s cross-check isn’t overly violent or forceful, it is an intentional strike to an opponent’s head using his stick,” the NHL said in their explanation of the play. “This is not a case where the head contact was caused by a sudden movement by Crosby or by a stick riding up a player’s back or shoulders and making subsequent contact with the head.”

Click on the video at the top of the page to watch the NHL’s full explanation.

The Blue Jackets take on the Blues in St. Louis tonight.

Ready to Roll: Oilers activate Schultz from IR, send down Reinhart

Justin Schultz
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The Edmonton Oilers activated defenseman Justin Schultz off injured reserve and assigned Griffin Reinhart to the minors.

Schultz has missed the last 14 games because of a back injury, but he’ll suit up in Saturday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The 25-year-old has one assist and a minus-6 rating in nine games in ’15-16.

Here’s his interview with Oilers TV from earlier today:

Reinhart was acquired in an off-season trade with the New York Islanders this summer.

The former fourth overall pick has no points and a minus-1 rating in 12 games with the Oilers.

The Leafs will be without Reimer on Saturday

James Reimer
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James Reimer (lower body) won’t be available to play in Saturday’s game against Washington.

Reimer was injured during a team practice earlier this week and although the injury didn’t appear to be serious, it will prevent him from suiting up in at least one game.

The Leafs originally thought that the 27-year-old would be good to go for this tilt, but head coach Mike Babcock said Reimer didn’t feel good enough to play.

Reimer’s emerged as the go-to-guy for the Maple Leafs this season and for good reason.

He has 7-3-4 record with a 2.07 goals-against-average and a .934 save percentage in 15 games.

Another reason the Leafs have been counting on him so much is because Jonathan Bernier‘s been awful.

Bernier will get another opportunity to prove himself on Saturday night, but he faces a stiff test against Alex Ovechkin and company.

The 27-year-old has an 0-7-1 record with a 3.17 goals-against-average and a .895 save percentage in ’15-16.

In a corresponding move, the Leafs sent defenseman Scott Harrington to the minors and recalled goalie Garret Sparks.

Sparks was Toronto’s seventh round pick in 2011.

The 22-year-old has an 8-2-1 record with the Toronto Marlies this season.

War of words continues between Rangers and Bruins on Saturday


The Rangers are getting ready for their second straight matinee game on Saturday, but head coach Alain Vigneault wasn’t done addressing yesterday’s loss to the Bruins.

After Friday’s game, Bruins coach Claude Julien wasn’t pleased with Henrik Lundqvist‘s “acting” that led to a goalie interference penalty being called on forward Brad Marchand (above) and he let everyone know it in his postgame press conference.

On Saturday, it was Alain Vigneault’s turn to lash out.

“Well, (the Rangers public relations staff) filled me in a little bit on what was said after the game,” Vigneault said via the New York Daily News. “I mean it’s a little disappointing. Obviously everybody saw the knee to the head. The comments on Hank were very inappropriate. The way Hank conducts himself, on the ice, away from the rink, off the ice, the example that he sets. Who would you rather have as a son, Henrik Lundqvist or Brad Marchand? For him to say things like that about Hank, totally wrong, and probably Claude is getting a little older and needs to check his eyesight.”

The Rangers will take on the Flyers at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.