Tag: St. Louis Blues


Is it too early to get excited about Crosby vs. Ovechkin again?


Yes, we’ve been in this spot before.

For all the star power that the NHL boasts outside of Pittsburgh and Washington, it’s difficult to resist the siren call of a spike in the Sidney Crosby – Alex Ovechkin rivalry. It’s perfectly plausible that we’ll never get a sequel to that memorable 2009 playoff series.

With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s be honest: it’s been a while since the Penguins and Capitals were in a better position collectively to pull this off.

Serious firepower

It’s still strange to picture Phil Kessel in a Penguins uniform, firing home well-placed passes from Crosby and/or Evgeni Malkin … but would it be that outrageous to imagine Kessel chasing Ovechkin in the Maurice Richard race now? As excited as Crosby and Malkin seem to be about the acquisition, Kessel and hockey fans should be especially thrilled.

Here’s the wrinkle that makes things even more fun: while the Penguins added the biggest name, Washington’s moves likely provide the Capitals with a deeper array of weapons.

Beyond the obvious in Nicklas Backstrom, the Caps now combine seasoned newcomers (Justin Williams and T.J. Oshie) with promising youngsters (Marcus Johansson, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Andre Burakovsky) to form a frightening forward group.

Hockey’s a team sport, and Crosby – Ovechkin can only be so riveting on their own … so how about Crosby, Malkin, Kessel and Kris Letang vs. Ovechkin, Backstrom, Williams, Oshie and Washington’s bevvy of pricey blueliners? Yeah, that sounds like appointment viewing.

While they’re still young

NHL TV Awards Show
via Getty Images

As strange as it sounds, the window might be closing on this rivalry, at least as a true showcase of two players who are seriously considered two of the best alive.*

Ovechkin will turn 30 on Sept. 17, and his hair is already looking a little grayer these days. Crosby turns 28 in August and people are already wondering if he’s starting to slow down.

No, the Penguins and Capitals haven’t totally mortgaged their futures this summer, yet the complexion of each franchise changed in some resounding ways in the past few days. You never know what might happen – we’ve been fooled before – but it’s tough not to picture an epic 2016 playoff series between these two players (and teams).

If nothing else, it’s fun to think about.

* – One could quibble about where the two rank among the elite, but they’re at least up there, right?

Blues ink Brodziak, Harrold to one-year contracts

Kyle Brodziak

After trading for Troy Brouwer earlier in the day, St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong added some depth via free agency Thursday evening.

The Blues signed free agent forward Kyle Brodziak and defenseman Peter Harrold to one-year deals.

Brodziak joins the Blues after spending the past six seasons with the Minnesota Wild. The 31-year-old scored 72 goals and 97 assists during his time with the Wild. He leaves Minnesota seventh all-time in games played (446) and eighth in points (169).

He is expected to be the Blues’ fourth line center next season.

Harrold joins the Blues after parts of four seasons with the New Jersey Devils. The 32-year-old was informed by Devils’ GM Ray Shero last weekend that he would not be re-signed.

In 43 games with New Jersey during the 2014-15 season, Harrold recorded three goals and two assists while averaging 15:15 a night in ice time. His deal is a two-way contract.

Related: Oshie on trade from St. Louis: ‘Changes had to be made’

Oshie on trade from St. Louis: ‘Changes had to be made’

T.J. Oshie

With back-to-back first round playoff exits and the St. Louis Blues retaining its coaching staff, T.J. Oshie expected changes to the roster.

Oshie was dealt to the Washington Capitals on Thursday as part of a four-player trade.

“I felt like it was a very good possibility,” Oshie said. “I did feel with the players in that locker room that we were falling short, but that if we went back with the same team we would’ve done a good job and hopefully learned from some of our mistakes.

“After I found out that (Ken Hitchcock) was coming back, I figured there would be at least one or two moves that (GM Doug Armstrong) would want to make.”

Despite expecting change, Oshie thought the window on him being moved had passed.

“I thought something would possibly happen in the draft,” he said. “As a couple days passed, I just figured that I’d be staying in St. Louis. Got a call from Armstrong today, and my initial reaction was a little bit of shock even though I knew it was a possibility. Then after a few minutes, I started getting excited and actually really excited to go on to the next chapter of my career.”

Originally a first round pick of the Blues (24th overall in 2005), Oshie appeared in 443 regular season games with St. Louis scoring 110 goals and 310 points.

During the 10-minute conference call, Oshie also addressed his comments following the Blues’ 4-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on March 30. He had returned to the lineup after missing one game due to the flu.

Here’s what Oshie had to say via Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Dispatch back in March:

“I didn’t think the flu would be good for me,” he said, “but coming back in tonight and not having to sit through all the meetings and same old practices, it really felt good to get out there. I was excited again to do something as simple as change well for the next guy coming out.

“I can’t put one finger on it. I’ll just say it was nice for me coming in tonight. I was mentally fresh. Physically, I didn’t feel my best, but I think I was so sharp our there that my game looked a lot faster.”

On Monday morning, Oshie, when asked about the possibility of the Blues clinching, had joked, “We’ve got enough to focus on with Hitch’s video.”

The 28-year-old said on Thursday that he felt those comments were made into a bigger deal.

“I expected big things out of myself. I think the fans did as well,” he said. “There’s a lot of disappointment after the way we lost out. I feel like the media blew out of proportion the thing that I said about being refreshed after I missed (time) cause of the flu. I think fans thought that me and Hitch had a bad relationship or something like that. Changes had to be made.

“I couldn’t be more excited about going to Washington.”

With the trade to Washington, Oshie is looking forward to the possibility of playing alongside Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.

“It would be something I’ve never experienced before,” Oshie said. “I’ve always played with very good players, players that have played in the Olympics, but never players that have put up numbers like those two guys have.

“To get out there with them would be amazing. I’d be excited. I feel kind of like a kid in the candy store playing with that calibre of players.”

Blues sign Bortuzzo to a two-year, $2.1 million deal

St Louis Blues v Pittsburgh Penguins
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The St. Louis Blues have agreed to terms on a two-year deal with defenseman Robert Bortuzzo, the club announced on Thursday.

According to Lou Korac of NHL.com, the deal is worth $2.1 million with a $1.05 million annual average value. Bortuzzo will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the deal.

The 26-year-old appeared in 13 regular season games with the Blues following a mid-season trade from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The St. Louis Blues have also come to terms on a one-year, two-way contract with forward Jordan Caron.

Caron split the 2014-15 season between the Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche organizations.

The 24-year-old appeared in 11 games with the Bruins registering 16 penalty minutes and a minus-1 rating. He was involved in the trade, which saw Max Talbot go from the Avs to the Bruins.

In 19 games with Colorado, Caron picked up two penalty minutes and a minus-1 rating.

Caron was originally a first-round pick of the Boston Bruins (25th overall) in 2009.

Trade: Caps acquire Oshie from Blues for Brouwer, Copley and draft pick

St. Louis Blues v Boston Bruins

The Washington Capitals continue to load up.

After signing Justin Williams on Wednesday, the Caps have acquired T.J. Oshie from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Troy Brouwer, goaltender Pheonix Copley and a 2016 third-round pick.

“T.J. is an outstanding skater with a tremendous skill set,” said Caps’ GM Brian MacLellan in a statement. “He is a powerful player and has consistent track record of production throughout his career in the NHL. We feel that he complements our core group nicely and can help us get to the next level in achieving our ultimate goal.

“We also want to thank Troy for his contributions to our organization on and off the ice and wish him well in St. Louis.”

Oshie has two years remaining on his five-year, $20.875 million deal, which carries a cap hit of $4.175 million. The 28-year-old had 19 goals and 55 points in 72 games last season.

With Oshie off the books, it gives Blues’ GM Doug Armstrong a little more room to work with in the on-going negotiations with restricted free agent forward Vladimir Tarasenko.

Brouwer, who has one year remaining on his three-year, $11 million deal, comes in at a cap hit of $3.6 million.

Copley went 17-4-3 in 26 appearances with the Hershey Bears in 2014-15 posting a 2.15 G.A.A. and a .925 save percentage. The 23-year-old was expected to challenge for the starter’s role in Hershey next season.

Related: Caps landing ‘affordable’ Williams a sign of the new free agency