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Blame it on some fantastic competition in the Western Conference or not, but the St. Louis Blues must have an empty feeling after dropping four straight games to lose to the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 in their first round series. Let’s take a brief look back at their season.
- Here’s the synopsis before we get into the details: the Blues enjoyed another exceptional regular season only to fall in the first round for the second season in a row.
- Some won’t care about context, but they lost to the eventual champions in 2012 in the semifinals, those same Los Angeles Kings who were defending champions in 2013 and the current defending champion Blackhawks. Maybe that earns a little leeway?
- The Blues lost 10 of their last 12 games and gave up a 2-0 series lead. Fair or not, there will be some who will throw around the word “chokers.”
- After being patient with Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott, the Blues bet big on Ryan Miller. While he started off hot after that trade, the ultimate result was mediocre results in the regular season (10-8-1 with a .903 save percentage) and a pretty poor finish. The Blues out-played the ‘Hawks heavily yet Corey Crawford topped Miller in Game 6.
- This is probably bad news for the Buffalo Sabres, too, as they lose out on a first-round pick under most circumstances. (Read more about the in’s and out’s of that here.)
- The Blues were a dominant team for much of the season, but they sagged heading into the playoffs thanks to injuries and other concerns. PHT asked if the Blues could get back on track and the answer appeared to be “No.”
- There are plenty of questions about where the team should go from here. Ken Hitchcock isn’t getting any younger, which has to be a consideration even for a head coach. Most obviously, the biggest question is in net; Miller may opt for a team like the Anaheim Ducks while Brian Elliott is an unrestricted free agent. Where do they go from here?
- Much of the Blues’ core is in place and is fairly young, so GM Doug Armstrong may lean toward tweaking his setup rather than blowing everything up (especially after signing Alexander Steen to a big extension).
Joni Ortio has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Stockton, the Calgary Flames announced today.
The 24-year-old goalie was always likely to clear, what with his dreadful numbers this season (0-2-1, .868),
But we suppose there was always the chance he’d get picked up, so it’s a relief for the Flames all the same. With a little more time to hone his game in the AHL, Ortio could still turn out to be a quality NHL netminder.
In a related move, veteran goalie Jonas Hiller has been activated from injured reserve. Hiller and Karri Ramo are the only goalies on the Flames’ active roster now.
Two injury updates in one post.
First, the situation with Montreal goalie Carey Price, who was hurt last night versus the Rangers.
According to Canadiens coach Michel Therrien, Price has been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. That means he’ll be out at least a week, though no exact timeline was provided.
“We don’t know how long Carey will be out, but for us it’s business as usual,” said Therrien.
Mike Condon will get the start tomorrow in New Jersey.
As for Oilers forward Nail Yakupov, he’ll be out 2-4 weeks after spraining his ankle last night in Carolina while getting tangled up with a linesman.
Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf wasn’t impressed with at least two things last night in Arizona:
1. His team’s performance in a 4-2 loss to the Coyotes.
2. The atmosphere inside Gila River Arena, where the announced attendance was just 11,578.
“It’s hard. When you come into a building … it’s dead,” Getzlaf told the O.C. Register. “Nothing against the fans. It’s hard to fill a big building like this and have the amount of people in it to build your energy. So you have to do it yourself. You have to be ready when you step on the ice. I thought we came out flat.”
Anaheim’s record fell to 8-11-4 with the defeat.
The Coyotes’ average attendance also fell, to 13,144 in eight games.
Like Frank Corrado (see here), Tomas Jurco (see here), Stanislav Galiev (see here), and Patrik Nemeth (see here) before him, Canadiens defenseman Jarred Tinordi is off to the AHL for a conditioning stint.
Tinordi, 23, has yet to play a single game for the Habs this season; however, because he’s no longer exempt from waivers, the former first-round pick has remained on Montreal’s roster.
It’s an issue that’s received a good deal of attention lately. Some believe the league should do something about it, lest more young players get “stuck” in the NHL.
Tinordi will only be allowed to spend two weeks in St. John’s, as per the rules of his conditioning loan.
Safe to say, if you’re an NHL general manager who thinks Tinordi still has potential, Marc Bergevin would welcome your best offer.