Pre-game reading: Retirement has been an adjustment for Jackman

— Up top, the St. Louis Blues’ youth hockey program has been an unexpected gateway to the NHL, with five players selected in the first round of the 2015 draft — Matthew Tkachuk, Clayton Keller, Logan Brown, Luke Kunin, and Trent Frederic.

— Former Blues defenseman Barret Jackman is retired now, and it hasn’t been the easiest adjustment for the 35-year-old veteran of over 800 NHL games. “It’s tough to get motivation to do anything,” he says. “There’s days when all I want to do is just go home and sleep and have no motivation. I end up sitting there, surfing the internet and doing needless things around the house just to occupy my time and wait until 3:30 to pick up the kids. But there’s other days where I’m like, ‘OK, I’m going to get something accomplished today.'” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

— The Carolina Hurricanes were on a nice run for a while there. At one point in January, they even came close to moving into a playoff spot. But they’ve since fallen apart, with just three wins in their last 12 games. The News & Observer delves into what went wrong, and what comes next for a ‘Canes team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2009. (News & Observer)

— If the Toronto Maple Leafs make the playoffs, they’ll become the first team since the 2007-08 Flyers to make the cut one year after finishing dead last. That Philly team, featuring then-youngsters Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Final, where it lost to the Penguins in five games. (Toronto Star)

— According to the Tennessean’s Adam Vingan, the Nashville Predators may be in the market for a top-six winger. Vingan notes that the Preds have been “circling through left wings on captain Mike Fisher‘s line,” and that could be a hole they try to plug with a rental before March 1. (The Tennessean)

— Bob McKenzie would like to have a “rational” discussion about hits to the head. He’s not sure if that’s possible, but he’s going to try anyway. In the process, he illustrates why Jacob Trouba’s hit on Mark Stone was different that Evgeni Malkin’s on Blake Wheeler. (TSN)

Enjoy the games!

Scroll Down For:

    Blues name Larry Robinson as new senior consultant to hockey operations

    Getty
    Leave a comment

    Larry Robinson has joined the St. Louis Blues.

    The Blues made the announcement Thursday, revealing that Robinson has joined the organization as a senior consultant to hockey operations.

    Based on the comments of Blues general manager Doug Armstrong, it sounds like Robinson will work closely at times with head coach Mike Yeo. It could also further help the development of an already impressive defenseman in Colton Parayko.

    “Bringing someone like Larry in, I just think, helps our hockey operations from top to bottom,” said Armstrong, per the Blues website.

    “His ability to talk to Mike Yeo about coaching — that’s one area that we don’t have on our staff is a former head coach. You can think you know what Mike’s going through but I don’t know what Mike’s going through. Larry does. So he’s going to be able to relate to him on a lot of the things that he’s going to go through.

    “He’s coming in as a consultant. I can learn a lot from him, our assistant coaches can, Parayko can. There’s not an area of our hockey operations he can’t touch to make us a better group.”

    Robinson was most recently the director of player development with the San Jose Sharks, however it was reported in May that he would not return to that organization for this season.

    Looks like Matt Duchene will make preseason debut tonight vs. Stars

    Getty
    1 Comment

    According to reports, there is substantial interest from other teams in Matt Duchene. That said, he remains with the Colorado Avalanche for now and will, it appears, make his preseason debut Thursday against the Dallas Stars.

    Earlier this week, Darren Dreger reported on TSN that as many as eight teams have interest in Duchene, with the Senators aggressively pursuing the 26-year-old forward.

    According to Mike Chambers of The Denver Post, Duchene will be in the lineup tonight versus the Stars.

    Trade speculation has been swirling around Duchene for months now. He reported to training camp last week, and has since said his status with the Avalanche is a “day-by-day” situation.

    “I love playing hockey. I want to win,” Duchene told The Denver Post. “That’s the biggest thing on my mind. I’m trying to get better every time I touch the ice right now.”

    Habs prospect Juulsen out six weeks with fractured foot

    Getty
    Leave a comment

    Tough news for the Montreal Canadiens and prospect defenseman Noah Juulsen on Thursday.

    The Habs have announced that the 2015 first-round pick is expected to be sidelined six weeks after suffering a fractured foot on Monday.

    The Habs selected Juulsen with the 26th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft following his 52-point regular season with the Everett Silvertips in the Western Hockey League.

    This past spring, Juulsen appeared in two playoff games for the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps. He turned 20 years old in April and it seemed like the Habs were going to give him a serious look to make the NHL club out of training camp.  

    “We like the way he skates and his transition game,” said head coach Claude Julien earlier this week, before the injury was revealed. “He’s going to get a chance to make this team and if he doesn’t he’s not going to be too far away.”

    Fight Video: Lappin, Puempel land some good shots in preseason tilt

    MSG
    Leave a comment

    Who says players don’t care about preseason hockey?

    Matt Puempel and Nick Lappin are trying to earn spots on their respective clubs, so they know they may have to do the little things others aren’t willing to do to stick around in the NHL.

    On Wednesday night, that involved dropping the gloves against each other. These two seemed to be in mid-season form when it came to throwing punches.

    Neither player is considered a tough guy. Lappin had 17 penalty minutes in 43 games with the Devils last season, while Puempel has 28 penalty minutes in 79 career NHL games.

    Here’s the video footage of the scrap:

    By the way, the Rangers won 4-3 in overtime.