After knocking off defending Cup champs Chicago for the second time this season on Thursday, the Blues are giving two of their elder statesmen some rest.
St. Louis announced alternate captain Barret Jackman and forward Brenden Morrow would be held out of Friday’s game against Winnipeg, giving Ian Cole and Adam Cracknell their season debuts in the process.
“We’re going to rest Jackman and Morrow — both have upper-body ailments,” Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “So they’ll rest today and give a chance for Cole and Cracknell to play.”
Jackman played 17:50 against Chicago last night — finishing with a minus-2 rating — while Morrow played 10:32 after being shaken up on a hit from San Jose’s Brent Burns on Tuesday night.
While it wasn’t a banner effort from either guy, they were part of a Blues team that rallied from a disappointing 6-2 loss to the Sharks to remain perfect against the Blackhawks.
As for the day off, Hitchcock insisted this wasn’t just about keeping two veterans — Jackman’s 32, Morrow’s 34 — out of a back-to-back scenario.
“They’ve been kind of playing through things, so this gives them a chance to reset the dial,” he explained. “It’s easy because you want to put other guys in.
“But I think this gives us two days (off) because we’re not going to skate tomorrow. So they should be 100 percent, or close to it, and ready for Sunday’s practice.”
Fairly big move out of Anaheim on Friday, as the Ducks have inked defenseman Simon Despres to a five-year, $18.5 million deal, per TVA.
The $3.7 million cap hit represents a nice pay bump for Despres, who’s in the last of a two-year deal that pays $900K annually. A former first-round pick, Despres was acquired by the Ducks from Pittsburgh at last year’s deadline in exchange for Ben Lovejoy, a move that was widely questioned.
Probably because the guy that made it, Pens GM Jim Rutherford, admitted it was a mistake.
“If I had a chance to make that trade today, as we speak, I wouldn’t make it,” he told the Tribune-Review in late May. “I knew at the time, over time, the trade would certainly be in Anaheim’s favor. But at the time we made it, and the reasons we made it for, I still feel it was the right thing to do.”
Despres, 24, has shown well in Anaheim since the deal.
He had six points in 16 games last year while averaging just under 19 minutes per night, and was a big part of the club’s run to the Western Conference final, scoring seven points in 16 playoff games with his TOI going over 20 per.
Lovejoy, meanwhile, looks like he’ll be a bottom-pairing guy on a Pittsburgh defense that isn’t especially deep. He played just 16:28 in Thursday’s season-opening loss to Dallas; only Brian Dumoulin played less.
The Avalanche will be throwing a bunch of different looks at us this season.
Having already released specialized “Mile High” jerseys for February’s Stadium Series game, the Avs unveiled new third sweaters on Friday — less than 24 hours after a bitter 5-4 home loss to Minnesota in their season opener.
(Guess Colorado wanted to send out some good vibes after blowing a 4-1 third-period lead.)
While undoubtedly exciting for the organization, the release of these new thirds isn’t taking anybody by surprise. Last month, several websites published leaked images of Colorado’s and Anaheim’s third jerseys, so the design has been in the public eye for several weeks.
The Avs will debut these new thirds on Oct. 24, in a Saturday night tilt against Columbus.
Related: Roy explains why he didn’t call time out