Stalberg, 27, fell out of head coach Joel Quenneville’s favor during the playoffs and was a healthy scratch four times during the Stanley Cup run — hence the “no surprise” thing.
But this isn’t to say Stalberg won’t generate interest when he becomes a UFA on July 5.
At 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, he’s got the size and skating ability — he was one of Chicago’s fastest players — to be a handful for opposing defensemen.
He posted career-highs in goals (22) and points (43) in 2011-12 and, in the shortened 2013 season, still managed to score at a 0.49 points per game clip, pretty close to what he posted the season prior (0.54).
• Superstar forward Vladimir Tarasenko apologized afterward for the team’s poor play at Enterprise Center, which has seen one Blues victory there since Nov. 11 (1-4-1).
• With tensions high around the team, forward Zach Sanford and defenseman Roberto Bortuzzo let some emotions out and engaged in a bit of a scrap during Monday’s practice.
This isn’t the spark that general manager Doug Armstrong envisioned for his team when he fired Mike Yeo and replaced him with Berube. A 3-5-1 record since the change hasn’t helped the Blues climb out of the bottom tier of the Western Conference standings.
Under Berube, the decline that began during Yeo’s time in charge has continued. Their goals per game is down from 2.95 to 2.44; goals allowed is up from 3.11 to 3.78 per game; and the power play went from a 24.2 percent success rate to 20.8 percent. Also, four of those six losses have been by three or more goals, so they’ve been busy fishing pucks out of their net.
Empty seats. Boos. The f-word thrown around. Apologies. Fights at practice. What’s got to change? From Berube’s perspective, nothing. He’s just going to keep hammering home his message until it gets through — if it ever does.
“The way out is the same thing we preach day in and day out,” he said. “You have to go into every game, no matter who you play, and you gotta be committed to giving 100 percent effort and compete as hard as you can, every game. … We’re going to keep at it, we’re going to keep pounding it in their heads until they get it. That’s it.”
Armstrong also added that there are only so many changes that can be made before that group gets torn apart.
“The core group’s equity that was built up is gone,” he said. “That’s what I have to say. I guess I could say it again that with the next head coach, if we’re having this same conversation, they’ll be players gone.”
Speaking with the Post-Dispatch this week, Armstrong expressed his frustration at a lack of consistency in the Blues’ play and their inability to find another gear when needed. When adversity strikes, it snowballs and there isn’t enough resiliency in the group to fight back.
So where do the Blues go from here? Their already thin playoff hopes are hanging by a string and it doesn’t appear that a turnaround is going to happen thanks to some extended winning streak. Fourteen points back in the Central Division and 11 points out of a wild card spot, Armstrong will have some tough decisions to make in reshaping this roster going forward.
If his patience was already thin when he made a coaching change, what’s left nine games later when the move hasn’t shown itself to have made an impact?
NBCSN’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with Tuesday night’s matchup between the Detroit Red Wings and Washington Capitals with coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.
When you start the season with one win in your opening 10 games and you’re Jeff Blashill, your seat will be quite warm. Blashill’s future with the Detroit Red Wings was already in jeopardy, even going back to the end of the last season, but since that slow start they’ve won 13 of their last 21 games and taken points in 15 of them. That run has put them three points out of a wild card spot in a jumbled Eastern Conference.
With the way the Red Wings have played and the way some of their younger players like Dylan Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou, Dennis Cholowski, Tyler Bertuzzi, and a pre-injury Anthony Mantha have taken strides forward through 31 games, the hot seat talk around Blashill has quieted for now. But as he coaches in the final year of his current contract, who’s behind the Detroit bench in 2019-20 still remains a big question.
Blashill wanted his team to be “miserable” to play against on a nightly basis, hence the “sixty minutes of hell” t-shirts that the players have worn this season. The Red Wings have 10 fighting majors so far, so there’s a definite toughness bred into the current roster. They’re getting balanced scored up front, a healthy Mike Green (3 goals, 16 points) is producing like the old Mike Green, and Jimmy Howard is upping his trade value (.936 even strength save percentage) with every start.
Those are all encouraging signs for a franchise in a transition phase. The playoffs may not be the end game this season, but when you consider the Red Wings’ current state, seeing those young pieces develop shows there’s light at the end of the tunnel. There are still decisions to make which could affect the “re-tooling” of the roster. Nyquist, Howard, Niklas Kronwall, and Thomas Vanek can all become unrestricted free agents this summer. They would certainly be able to bring in assets that general manager Ken Holland can use for the future if some of them waive their no-trade/movement clauses. But those are decisions that can be made closer to the February trade deadline barring some complete drop-off.
How this season ends for the Red Wings will ultimately determine Blashill’s fate. Should Holland feel the need to make a change, it could be an easy search for a successor with Dan Bylsma already there as an assistant — an assistant that Blashill wanted after they worked together at the 2018 IIHF World Championship.
For now, the progress is there under Blashill, and what once was a hot seat has now cooled considerably.
John Walton (play-by-play) and AJ Mleczko (‘Inside-the-Glass’ analyst) will have the call from Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.
Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• There will be some unique pucks used during the Winter Classic on Jan. 1 (1 p.m. ET, NBC) when the Chicago Blackhawks take on the Boston Bruins at Notre Dame Stadium. The biscuits used during the game and other NHL “tentpole events” this season will feaure thermochromic coatings that will change from purple to clear to indicate the puck’s temperature is above freezing, telling the officials it should be replaced. [NHL.com]
• Pierre Dorion is in unique territory trying to sign two star players — Matt Duchene and Mark Stone — to eight-year extensions. [TSN]
• A Baltimore brewery is coming out with the perfect beer in honor of the Washington Capitals. Fans will soon be able to enjoy some Cup Stand Pilsner. [RMNB]
• Which Pittsburgh Penguins defense pairings are working and which ones need to change? [Pensburgh]
• The time is right for more people of color to get the call from U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. [Color of Hockey]
• Has anyone not named Rantanen, Landeskog or MacKinnon picked up the pace in production this season for the Colorado Avalanche? [Mile High Hockey]
• Carter Hutton should be back in net for the Buffalo Sabres this week after missing Saturday’s game with an upper-body injury. [Buffalo Hockey Beat]
• Apparently it’s not too early for headlines like this: “Pettersson building early case as greatest Canuck in team history” [Sportsnet]
• “This fragile style of play is a contagion infecting everyone on this team and needs to be cured immediately. The first step of the cure has been accomplished:identification of the problem.Now for the hard part the treatment, is Coach Berube part of that cure?” [Bleedin’ Blue]
• Why the NHL Department of Player Safety needs some fixing. [TXHT Hockey]
• We’re in the midst of a pretty enjoyable NHL scoring boom. [Featurd]
• Josh Ho-Sang is back up with the New York Islanders, but Barry Trotz says he feels “zero pressure” to insert him into the lineup. [Islanders Insight]
• Things look bleak now, but with the way that Adam Boqvist is playing for the OHL’s London Knights there’s some hope down the line for the Chicago Blackhawks. [NBC Chicago]
• Calgary Flames defenseman Oliver Kylington is showing he’s here to stay in the NHL. [EP Rinkside]
• Finally, if you missed it over the weekend, one week after Eeli Tolvanen scored his first NHL goal for the Nashville Predators, his brother Atte became the 11th goalie in NCAA history to score:
Stamkos eclipsed the 700-point milestone in style on Monday as he scored a hat trick in a 6-3 win against the New York Rangers — the ninth of his career and first since 2014.
Stamkos has 701 points now in 696 games (363 goals and 338 assists). He’s the first player from the 2008 NHL Draft to reach the 700-point plateau and third in franchise history to do so after Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier.
Meier scored twice on Monday in a 5-2 win for the Sharks against the New Jersey Devils.
Meier now has 16 goals on the season, just five back from his career high of 21 set last season. He’s also up to 30 points, which is six back of his career high of 36, which was also set last season. He had those 21 goals and 26 points in 81 games last season. He’s up to 16 goals and 30 points with 53 games to go.
He’s going to shatter last year’s numbers, it would seem.