Quick hits: Crosby stays hot, Sabres win, Oilers coach questions hockey gods


There are a ton of games this Tuesday, so let’s not shortchange anyone. Here are some quick summaries of tonight’s other games. Click here for the Leafs win against the Wild and Vancouver topping Philadelphia. This post will be updated later on with various strays, too.

Buffalo 4, NY Islanders 3 (SO)

Huzzah, the Sabres finally won their first game of the season. A ton of people will decry the fact that they needed to win it via a “skills competition,” but Buffalo probably won’t. Somehow Ryan Miller wasn’t listed as one of the game’s three stars despite stopping 41 out of 44 shots and two of the Islanders’ three shootout attempts. Let’s chalk that up to the universe being geared to make Miller strangely miserable.

Pittsburgh 3, Edmonton 2

Sidney Crosby assisted on all three of the Penguins’ goals on Tuesday, giving him a ridiculous seven points (three goals, four assists) in the past two games. Ales Hemsky and Jordan Eberle were Edmonton’s goal scorers while Jason LaBarbera curiously played back-to-back games.

Dallas Eakins cried out to hockey’s Mount Olympus after the game.

“The hockey gods aren’t lined up with us right now,” Eakins said.

Chicago 3, Carolina 2 (SO)

The Chicago Blackhawks won their first game in Carolina since 1998 (!). New father Patrick Sharp provided an interesting bit of analysis to the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc.

Tampa Bay 5, Los Angeles 1

Jonathan Quick’s up-and-down start to the 2013-14 season continued on Tuesday, as he was pulled after allowing four goals on 17 shots. New Bolts captain Martin St. Louis had two goals and an assist while Ben Bishop made 31 out of 32 saves.

Nashville 4, Florida 3

The Predators won and Shea Weber might finally be awake (two points on Tuesday after collecting one in his first five contests). Still, it’s not the best sign when Mike Fisher just pulled ahead in your team’s goal-scoring category with his second tally.

Detroit 2, Columbus 1

The two relocated division “rivals” produced the usual Red Wings win. Daniel Alfredsson finally got a goal for the Red Wings tonight.

Ottawa 4, Phoenix 3 (OT)

The Phoenix Coyotes took a 2-0 lead very early in the game, but Jason Spezza made his presence/former absence felt by scoring three unanswered goals. Mike Ribeiro finally found the net for his first Coyotes goal, but the Senators won it in OT on Cory Conacher’s wrister.

Montreal 3, Winnipeg 0

All kinds of good things for the Canadiens: Carey Price got a shutout (36 saves), P.K. Subban continues to have a great/probably going to be really expensive year and even slow-starter Danny Briere scored tonight. As the Winnipeg Free Sun’s Ken Wiebe points out, Evander Kane’s Tuesday wasn’t so hot.

DiMaio named Blues’ director of player personnel

via St. Louis Blues
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The St. Louis Blues named Rob DiMaio their director of player personnel on Tuesday.

He’s been with the organization for some time. He joined as a pro scout in 2008 and was the pro scouting director starting in August 2012.

He was also a scout for the Dallas Stars before landing with the Blues (one would assume his biggest connection is GM Doug Armstrong, then).

In case his nose didn’t give it away, he also enjoyed a lengthy hockey career over 19 seasons.

No doubt about it, this is a pivotal season for the Blues after multiple campaigns in which strong regular seasons dissolved into playoff disappointments. Perhaps DiMaio can make a difference in a heightened role?

Hitchcock going to more aggressive attack for Blues

Ken Hitchcock

ST. LOUIS (AP) After three straight first-round playoff exits, the St. Louis Blues have learned to temper expectations.

They have been consistently among the NHL’s best in the regular season and realize it is past time to build something for the long haul. The sting still lingers from the latest failure, against the Minnesota Wild last spring.

“We’re all disappointed, everybody can agree on that,” defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. “It’s never easy to kind of think about your failures, but we grow every time it happens.”

Management isn’t ready to tear it all down yet.

“We play, in my opinion, one of the toughest if not the toughest division in the NHL, and we’ve finished first or second in the last four years,” forward Alexander Steen said. “So we have an extremely powerful team.”

Maybe a change in strategy will be enough: Coach Ken Hitchcock is back with a mandate for a more aggressive, even reckless, style of play from a roster that hasn’t changed appreciably.

“We’re coming hard from the back and we’re coming hard to see how close we can get to the attack,” Hitchcock said. “I think it’s where the game’s at; I think it’s where the game’s going to go.”

The 63-year-old Hitchcock is pushing forward, too, unwilling to dwell on the flameouts. Coach and players agree that would be “wasted energy.”

“My opinion is when you sit and think about the past, you do yourself no good,” Hitchcock said. “If you learn from the past, that’s when you do yourself a whole bunch of good.”

There were only two major roster casualties. Forward Troy Brouwer came from Washington in a trade for fan favorite T.J. Oshie. Defenseman Barret Jackman, the franchise career leader in games, wasn’t re-signed.

“If you were expecting 23 new faces to be on the roster this year, I don’t think that was realistic,” captain David Backes said. “We’re going to miss those guys in the room and on the ice, but there has been some changeover and I think it’s pretty significant.”

Things to watch for with the Blues:

GOALIE SHUFFLE: Just like last year, there’s no true No. 1 with Brian Elliott and Jake Allen sharing duties. The 25-year-old Allen missed a chance to seize the job last spring when he failed to raise his level in the playoffs.

TOP THREAT: Vladimir Tarasenko had a breakout season with 37 goals and was rewarded with an eight-year, $60 million contract. The 23-year-old winger is by far the Blues’ most dangerous scoring option and said he won’t let the money affect his play. “I never worry about it,” Tarasenko said. “If you play good, you play good.”

NEW FACES: Brouwer and center Kyle Brodziak add a physical element that was perhaps lacking a bit last season. Brouwer has three 20-plus goal seasons and Brodziak, acquired from Minnesota, fills a checking role. Veteran forward Scottie Upshall got a one-year, two-way deal after being coming to camp as a tryout. Rookie forward Robby Fabbri, a first-round pick last year, will get an early look. Another promising youngster, forward Ty Rattie, begins the year at Chicago of the AHL.

RECOVERY WARD: Forward Jori Lehteri bounced back quickly from ankle surgery and opens the season without restrictions. Another forward, Patrik Berglund, could miss half of the season following shoulder surgery.

TRACK RECORD: The Blues won the Central Division last season and Hitchcock, fourth on the career list with 708 regular-season wins, has consistently had the team near the top of the standings. “He is our coach, tough cookies if you don’t like it,” Backes said. “From my experience, he puts together one heck of a game plan.”