St. Louis Blues

Blues stay hot, but lose Lehtera, Berglund vs. Preds

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The Blues battled hard in a back-and-forth game against the Central Division-leading Nashville Predators Thursday night and in the end, St. Louis managed to come away with a 5-4 shootout victory. Improving to 8-0-1 in its last nine games, it seems the All-Star break hasn’t disrupted St. Louis’ forward momentum.

Unfortunately the Blues are facing a new challenge now. Patrik Berglund sustained an upper-body injury during the second period and the Blues then lost Jori Lehtera (upper body) in the third. The severity of their injuries wasn’t immediately clear, but Blues coach Ken Hitchcock has already ruled them out for Friday’s contest against Carolina, per the team’s Twitter feed.

Lehtera, 27, has spent much of the season playing on an effective line with Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz. That’s helped Lehtera score nine goals and 30 points in 46 contests in his first NHL season.

The 26-year-old Berglund hasn’t been as productive offensively with six goals and 16 points in 46 games, but he’s looked very good from an analytics perspective. Using Corsi, the Blues take 55.5% of all 5-on-5 shots when Berglund is on the ice and just 49.5% when he’s not, per the War on Ice.

With last night’s win, the Blues trial Nashville by just four points, but on the other hand their hold on second place in the Central Division is far from secure. Chicago is only two points behind St. Louis and Winnipeg is four points shy.

Here’s why Brodeur is working for Blues (instead of Devils)

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It was odd enough for New Jersey Devils fans to see Martin Brodeur in a St. Louis Blues uniform, but to stay with the organization as assistant general manager? More than a few brows must have furrowed in the Garden State.

For those wondering, the just-retired Brodeur was offered a “substantial” job with the Devils, yet the Blues’ offer won out because it allows him to keep a more hands-on role with players. Here’s the full explanation from NJ Advance Media:

1. Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello came up with a job offer that Brodeur called “substantial” but it was away from the actual team and his new position as assistant to Blues GM Doug Armstrong allows him to stay close to the players. The Devils’ offer was not to be assistant GM.

One imagines having a title like assistant GM doesn’t hurt either, mind you. (To emphasize the position being legit, that article notes that Brodeur is now in John Davidson’s old office. Quite a legacy of goalies-turned-suits there, huh?)

Along with saying goodbye with a smile on his face, Brodeur also took to social media to say thank you to his many fans.

Goalie nods: Dubnyk goes again for Wild in key game vs. Flames

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All the latest from the blue paint…

All Devan, all the time

Devan Dubnyk has been the goalie of record for Minnesota since coming over from Arizona two weeks ago, and that won’t change tonight when the Wild face the Flames in Calgary.

Dubnyk, who’s posted a .911 save percentage and 2.04 GAA in five games, is coming off a 2-1 win over Edmonton in which he stopped 23 of 24 shots. He’ll need a similar performance tonight if the 12th-place Wild want to stay within striking distance of the eighth-place Flames, who are currently seven points up in the standings:

For Calgary, Jonas Hiller starts in goal.

Elsewhere…

Bruins at Isles: Jaroslav Halak for New York, Tuukka Rask likely for Boston.

Habs at Rangers: Carey Price vs. Henrik Lundqvist

Jets at Flyers: Michael Hutchinson vs. Steve Mason

Jackets at Panthers: Curtis McElhinney vs. Roberto Luongo

Wings at Bolts: Petr Mrazek vs. Ben Bishop

Stars at Sens: Robin Lehner for Ottawa, Kari Lehtonen likely for Dallas.

Coyotes at Leafs: Mike Smith vs. Jonathan Bernier

Preds at Blues: Carter Hutton vs. Brian Elliott

Sabres at Oilers: Jhonas Enroth vs. Ben Scrivens

Ducks at Sharks: Ilya Bryzgalov likely for Anaheim, Antti Niemi likely for San Jose.

Poll: Where does Brodeur rank among all-time goalie greats?

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Martin Brodeur officially ended his illustrious career on Thursday, walking away with a laundry list of accolades that might never be duplicated:

— 691 wins, most in NHL history (and 301 more than the new active leader, Roberto Luongo.)

— 125 shutouts, most in NHL history. One of only two goalies to ever hit triple digits in clean sheets (the other, Terry Sawchuk, had 103.)

— 74, 438 minutes played, most in NHL history. (Next closest? Patrick Roy, at 60K.)

— Four Vezinas, three Stanley Cups, two Olympic gold medals and a Calder Trophy.

There’s no argument about Brodeur’s spot in the Hall of Fame — that’s a lock. The real debate is if he’s the greatest goalie ever.

Others in that conversation include…

Dominik Hasek: Six Vezina wins and the highest save percentage (.922) of all time. Biggest accolade, though, might be that he’s the only goalie in league history to win two Hart Trophies as league MVP.

Patrick Roy: Won four Cups, and his postseason excellence is unparalleled — he remains the only player to win the Conn Smythe three times.

Jacques Plante: A goaltending innovator (the first to wear a mask regularly.) No netminder has won more Stanley Cups (six) or Vezinas (seven).

Terry Sawchuk: In terms of longevity, he was Brodeur before Brodeur. Played for 21 seasons — winning four Cups and four Vezinas — and retired as the all-time shutouts leader (a record Brodeur broke in 2009).

Others: Ken Dryden, Tony Esposito, Glen Hall.

With that on the table, go ahead and vote:

Brodeur announces retirement, leaves ‘the game with a big smile on my face’

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Let’s face facts. It looked weird.

There stood Martin Brodeur, the legendary goalie who won three Stanley Cups with the New Jersey Devils, in front of a backdrop featuring the logo of the St. Louis Blues, announcing his retirement from a Hall of Fame career.

Brodeur ended up playing just seven games for the Blues, with whom he’ll remain for at least the rest of the season as a senior advisor to general manager Doug Armstrong.

He played almost 1,500 games, including the playoffs, for the Devils.

Given the optics, it was no surprise Brodeur took the opportunity to insist his relationship with New Jersey president/GM Lou Lamoriello remains strong as ever.

“For anybody that thinks that me and Lou are not on the same page, everybody’s wrong,” said Brodeur.

“We’ve stayed in contact before I signed in St. Louis, during when I was playing, and while I was hanging out in Florida.

“He agreed with me that this was probably the best opportunity. It’s something that he was not able to give me at this time. I’m really excited to be here (in St. Louis).”

Brodeur has made no commitment either way, to St. Louis or New Jersey, for next season.

As for the decision to retire, he said he saw the writing on the wall when Blues starter Brian Elliott returned from injury. With backup Jake Allen also on the roster, it left three goalies, and no real opportunity for Brodeur.

“Just the fact they got healthy, it was harder for me to stay around,” said Brodeur. “I’m a competitive guy. It was hard to stay on the sideline.”

Brodeur joked that it got to the point where he started to feel “in the way” as the third goalie at practice, and that eventually he was just trying to not get “run over by the line rushes.”

At the same time, the 42-year-old has no regrets about going out the way he did.

“The thing about hockey for me,” Brodeur said. “I’m really competitive, but I love to have fun. And I’m leaving the game with a big smile on my face.

“I don’t think if I would’ve [retired] last year it would have been the case.”