Tag: Zbynek Michalek

T.J. Oshie, Kevin Shattenkirk, Brian Elliott, Shawn Matthias

Not ‘one good thing’ about the Blues’ game ‘right now,’ says Michalek


As if a potential injury to Vladimir Tarasenko wasn’t concerning enough for the St. Louis Blues, it was far from the only worrying thing about Monday’s 4-1 home loss to Vancouver.

Take it away, Zbynek Michalek.

“I don’t think there’s one good thing about our game right now,” the Blues’ defenseman said, per the Post-Dispatch. “We need to look in the mirror. Right now, it seems like everybody’s doing a different thing. They need to get on the same page. We’re not playing for one another.”

The Blues need to pull it together, and soon. The playoffs start in a couple of weeks and right now it looks like a first-round matchup with Chicago, the same team that eliminated St. Louis in last year’s first round.

With just one win in their last six, the Blues host Calgary on Thursday.

Here’s Michalek and Hitch:

Shattenkirk is ‘ready to go’ for Blues

Kevin Shattenkirk
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As anticipated, the St. Louis Blues are getting a significant boost on Saturday, as key defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk returns to the lineup against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

As an added bonus, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch points out that the Blues will see the return of two blueliners with Carl Gunnarsson also slated to come back.

Shattenkirk sounds excited about shaking off the rust.

“I’m ready to go,’” Shattenkirk said. “I felt good out there. It was nice to just be back with the team and get the speed of the game back a little bit. I’m exited about it.

“I’ve done what I’ve had to do rehab-wise. It’s time to just get back into it. It may not be pretty to start, but you have to get that mindset of playing games to really get back up to speed.”

To start things off, head coach Ken Hitchcock is pairing Shattenkirk with Barret Jackman, Gunnarsson with Alex Pietrangelo and rounding things out with Jay Bouwmeester – Zbynek Michalek. There’s also a chance that St. Louis will dress seven defensemen, but if not, Robert Bortuzzo would be a healthy scratch.

Despite missing 25 games with this abdominal injury, Shattenkirk is second in scoring among Blues defensemen with 40 points (Pietrangelo just passed him with 41). This already-formidable St. Louis squad could be very scary if the 26-year-old can get up to speed by the playoffs.

Report: Blues think Shattenkirk, Gunnarsson will be back Saturday

Kevin Shattenkirk

Kevin Shattenkirk hasn’t played since Feb. 1 because of an abdominal injury, but St. Louis Blues believe that the 26-year-old defenseman will be available for Saturday’s game against Columbus, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford.

That seems to mesh well with Blues coach Ken Hitchcock’s note on Tuesday that Shattenkirk’s return is coming “pretty quick,” per the Post-Dispatch, and the Blues’ announcement yesterday that 21-year-old defenseman Petteri Lindbohm has been sent to the AHL Chicago Wolves.

Before Shattenkirk was injured, he looked like a potential Norris Trophy candidate. He had 40 points and 77 blocked shots in 49 contests while averaging 22:54 minutes per game. Despite missing a player of his caliber, the Blues have stayed strong with a 14-8-3 record during his absence. They’re in the running for the Presidents’ Trophy.

Defenseman Carl Gunnarsson (upper body) is also expected to return from a two game absence. If both of them are available, then Hitchcock will have a tough time assembling the lineup given that he also have blueliners Barret Jackman, Zbynek Michalek, Jay Bouwmeester, Chris Butler, Alex Pietrangelo, Robert Bortuzzo to choose from. With that in mind, St. Louis might dress seven defensemen on Saturday.

Doan: Arizona’s situation is ‘kind of embarrassing’

Montreal Canadiens v Arizona Coyotes

With just 12 games left in the season, the Arizona Coyotes find themselves sitting 28th in the NHL, tied on 50 points with Edmonton, just three up on last-place Buffalo and right in the thick of the McEichel Derby.

For the organization, there’s silver lining in the prospect of landing a generational talent like Conor McDavid or Jack Eichel at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

But for veteran captain Shane Doan, this year has been lousy.

“Obviously, it’s kind of embarrassing,” Doan said, per Mayor’s Manor. “As a player, it’s always tough. You never want to be stuck in this situation, but we are and we have to deal with it. The new guys coming in, they’ve played well. We’ve been in games; we just haven’t found ways to win, and that’s the name of it.

“It’s just disappointing. You just feel bad, we’ve been bad. There’s no way to get around it. We’ve been bad and we have to be better.”

Doan, 39, is one of a few holdovers from the team that went to the Western Conference Final just three years ago. Fellow vets Antoine Vermette, Zbynek Michalek and Keith Yandle were traded at this year’s deadline, the latest in an exodus that previously saw Radim Vrbata, Raffi Torres, Daymond Langkow, Ray Whitney and Rostislav Klesla all leave town.

The result? Arizona’s slumped steadily and hit rock bottom this season, especially over the last 16 games — the Coyotes are 1-14-1 and Doan’s one pace for one of the least productive seasons of his career (averaging .46 points per game, his lowest since ’97-98.)

Earlier this month, Doan expressed dismay about the direction Arizona was taking, saying a rebuild “was not my idea,” and “not my ideal situation.”

That was met with a rather sharp reply from GM Don Maloney.

“I get it, I understand it, but we’re not in the Girl Scout business,” Maloney said, per Arizona Sports. “We’re in the business of winning. That’s why we’re here, that’s why we’re getting paid.

“Shane’s a pro, he’ll get through it, he’ll understand it when he sees where this can take us.”

That back-and-forth reignited talks about Doan’s future in the desert. He’s in the third of a four-year, $21.2 million deal and will be an unrestricted free agent next summer, leading many to speculate he could be on the move to a contender.

Doan didn’t say he wanted to be moved,  but didn’t rule it out either.

“I really haven’t thought too much about it, going forward,” he explained. “It’s one of those things – we have 14, 15 games to go. Every game you get to play in the NHL is pretty special. I don’t want to miss those games. I want to make sure I’m focused on them and enjoying the moment that we’re in; not getting caught up worrying about what’s going to happen in the future.

“When you get there, it will take care of itself.”

Jackman scratched; ‘I’m sure he’s not pleased,’ says Backes

St Louis Blues v Colorado Avalanche

A potentially interesting development in St. Louis, where Barret Jackman — one of only three Blues to have played all 69 games this year — will be parked in the press box for tonight’s tilt against Calgary.

Nobody’s really sure why this is happening. It could be nothing more than a rest opportunity as Jackman, who just turned 34, is the second-oldest player on the team. It could also allow head coach Ken Hitchcock to see some of his newer d-men, specifically deadline acquisitions Robert Bortuzzo and Zbynek Michalek, in larger, more expanded roles.

Thing is, Hitchcock wouldn’t say why he scratched Jackman — “I’m not going back and forth on who we’re sitting out everyday,” he told the Post-Dispatch — and Jackman wasn’t made available to the media following today’s skate.

That left the talking to captain David Backes.

“I’m sure he’s not pleased by any means,” Backes said of Jackman. “It’s extremely tough to see a guy that puts it all on the line every night to be sitting out.

“If he’s not playing tonight, he’ll be ready for the next one.”

If feathers do end up ruffled here, it won’t be the first time. Two weeks ago, Hitchcock rattled the cage of goalie Brian Elliott by putting him in after Vancouver scored four times on Jake Allen, only to quickly go back to Allen after Elliott allowed one goal on six shots.

Hitchcock later said Elliott was “mad” about having to come out, and that he had to tell veteran goalie to relax.