From the Post-Dispatch’s Q&A with Blues owner Tom Stillman, on his team’s current financial state:
Q: How is the organization doing financially?
Stillman: We’re doing better. We’re more stable. But we have a ways to go to reach our goal of being a really sound, stable franchise with a secure long-term future. We still have some work to do.
Q: The 2013-14 season was one in which the NHL salary cap came down and the Blues’ payroll increased, putting the club near the $64.3 million cap ceiling. With the cap projected at $71.1 million in 2014-15, where do you foresee the club’s budget?
Stillman: We haven’t decided on an absolute, final salary number, but I know that we’ll put a competitive team on the ice and our cap number will be very respectable.
Per CapGeek, the Blues have 18 players signed for next season, for a cap payroll of just over $48 million. So even with an internal budget and RFAs like Patrik Berglund, Vladimir Sobotka and Jaden Schwartz to re-sign, there’s room for general manager Doug Armstrong to operate in free agency, if that’s an avenue he wants to explore. A second-line center may be worth adding, at the right price.
Stillman took over as owner two years ago, making no promises to spend to the cap. Obviously, the team’s first-round elimination in this year’s playoffs didn’t help, financially speaking. St. Louis had just three home playoff dates, the same disappointing number as last year. The Blues have won just two playoff series since reaching the conference finals in 2001.
Related: Armstrong wonders if the Blues need a ‘different formula’ on offense
The Boston Bruins keep flipping the script.
In Wednesday’s case, it swerved to a “Cinderella” story, as little-known forward Frank Vatrano scored two of Boston’s three goals – including the overtime clincher – as the B’s beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 (OT).
Here’s his first goal of the night:
While this is his overtime game-winner:
It wasn’t a perfect night for the 21-year-old, yet it may have been a convincing one.
The Bruins continue to begin a month on a sour note before ending up with impressive sprees.
October: 0-3-0 start, finished month with four straight wins and victories in six of seven contests.
November: 0-3-0 start, losses in four of five; currently on a four-game winning strek with victories in five of six.
Boston faces a challenge in closing this month out against the Rangers on Friday, and it’s possible that this trend may continue, as they begin December with a three-game road trip through Western Canada.
More than anything else, the safest bet with the Bruins is for ups and downs.
Controversy just seems to find the Pittsburgh Penguins. Credit Sidney Crosby & Co. for responding with a win on Wednesday.
Crosby generated two pretty goals, including this slam-dunk slapper:
… While Evgeni Malkin‘s overtime-winner stood as the Penguins managed a 4-3 overtime win against the St. Louis Blues tonight.
(You can see Malkin’s OT-clincher in the video above this post.)
Will this win and strong performance from Crosby silence murmurs about his relationship with Mario Lemieux? Probably not, yet it likely turns the volume down in some ways, including killing the “Is he struggling because of distractions” storyline.
You know, at least for a little while. Maybe.
Claude Giroux isn’t the nastiest, most physical captain the Philadelphia Flyers have employed. Even so, he can be feisty at times.
Wednesday showed that, as he clearly wasn’t happy with an earlier Nick Leddy hit, and eventually got the New York Islanders defenseman to drop his gloves.
You can see the fight and the check that inspired that scrap in the video above.
It’s the fourth fight Giroux has been a part of, with his most recent adversary being may his most bitter rival.
Not a heavyweight bout between Giroux and Leddy, mind you, but sometimes it’s amusing to soak in such a rare sight.
Update: The fight may have inspired the Islanders more than the Flyers, as they bested Philly 3-1 on Wednesday.
Carter Hutton is getting something that might make fellow Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne jealous: goal support.
Still, there was at least one moment where Rinne was likely happy to be on the bench, as Hutton was left flipping during this collision with Buffalo Sabres forward Marcus Foligno:
Remarkably, Hutton remained in the game.
If you’re the type who loves adding to your “hockey players are tough” files, put this under the goalies section.
Check out this incredible shot of that moment:
Update: The Predators held off the Buffalo Sabres to win 3-2.