The St. Louis Blues put on an absolute clinic in the second period on Sunday afternoon, scoring a pair of goals and outshooting the San Jose Sharks by a 20-6 margin.
The second goal came from star winger Vladimir Tarasenko when he scored on a penalty shot by ripping a laser of a shot behind Sharks goalie Martin Jones, making him look relatively helpless in the process.
You can see the entire sequence in the video above.
It is a noteworthy goal not only because it gave the Blues a 3-0 lead, but also because it is the first time in Blues franchise history that they have scored a goal on a penalty shot in a playoff game.
It is also only the second time the Blues have had a penalty shot in a playoff game, as Tarasenko’s attempt joined Jimmy Roberts during the 1968 playoffs (Roberts did not score).
Tarasenko’s goal was his seventh of the playoffs and his second of the Western Conference Final. He has now recorded at least one point in every game against the Sharks. He was awarded the penalty shot when he was tripped by Sharks defender Brent Burns on a breakaway.
His goal came after Jaden Schwartz scored his 10th goal of the playoffs earlier in the period, capitalizing on a brutal play by Jones that saw him turn the puck over in front of the net to a wide open Schwartz.
The 2019 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees were named on Tuesday. The class includes four players, in alphabetical order: Guy Carbonneau, Vaclav Nedomansky, Hayley Wickenheiser, and Sergei Zubov. Two builders were also inducted: Jim Rutherford and Jerry York. The induction ceremony will take place on November 18 in Toronto.
Let’s take a look at each member of this year’s class, starting with Wickenheiser.
Wickenheiser becomes the seventh woman named to the Hockey Hall of Fame after winning four Olympic gold medals representing Canada, not to mention seven gold medals at the IIHF world championship. Wickenheiser was a two-time Olympic tournament MVP, and is Canada’s women’s leader in goals (168), assists (211) and points (379) after playing 276 games internationally.
Wickenheiser is currently in the Toronto Maple Leafs organization, another testament to the immense respect she earned as a legend of the sport.
Zubov: The Russian defenseman won one Stanley Cup with the New York Rangers, and one with the Dallas Stars (where Carbonneau was one of Zubov’s teammates).
People, particularly Stars fans, have been debating Zubov’s HHOF merits for some time. As one example, Defending Big D pondered the argument as far back as 2013, with Erin Boylen comparing Zubov to the likes of Scott Niedermayer, Brian Leetch, Rob Blake, and other top contemporaries:
Over their respective careers, Zubov had better offensive numbers than Niedermayer and Blake, though not as good as Leetch. Both Zubov and Niedermayer, though not Blake, could have legitimately put up many more points if they didn’t play in defensively-focused systems for long stretches of their careers. He has essentially equal plus-minus statistics to Niedermayer, much better than Blake and Leetch. He was used in all situations and throughout his career was used as a top-pairing, shut-down defenseman.
The debates have been rampant enough among Stars fans that the Zubov HHOF debate has become a regular joke on the podcast “Puck Soup.” After all, for every Zubov proponent, there will be someone else who points out that he never won a Norris Trophy.
Maybe that debate will continue, but there’s some closure, as Zubov gets the nod.
Zubov finished his NHL career with 771 points in 1,068 regular season contests, spending 12 seasons with the Stars, three with the Rangers, and one with the Penguins. Zubov also appeared in 164 playoff games, and Hockey Reference lists some beefy ice time numbers during his Stars days, as he apparently logged 28:58 TOI per game over 114 playoff games with the Stars specifically.
Speaking of players who ended their Hall of Fame careers with the Stars …
Carbonneau: It’s difficult to shake the parallels between Carbonneau and Bob Gainey, but the good news is that such a comparison is a huge compliment to any two-way player.
Much like Gainey, Carbonneau was a tremendous defensive forward, winning three Selke Trophies during his career. Also like Gainey, Carbonneau made a huge impact on the Montreal Canadiens (where he won two Stanley Cups, and all three Selkes) before also making a considerable impression on the Dallas Stars (where Carbonneau won his third and final Stanley Cup as a player).
Carbonneau played 13 seasons with the Canadiens, five with the Stars, and one with the St. Louis Blues. Overall, he generated 663 points and 820 penalty minutes in 1,318 career regular-season games over 19 seasons. Carbonneau was captain of the Canadiens from 1989-90 through 1993-94, and also served as head coach for three seasons.
Nedomansky: As Shen Peng documented for The Hockey News, Nedomansky deserves a mention alongside Alex Mogilny and the Stastny brothers as one of the players who bravely defected to North America to play hockey at the highest levels.
Nedomansky’s path was especially circuitous, as he began his North American playing days in the WHA in 1974-75. “Big Ned” started his NHL career with the Detroit Red Wings in 1977-78, when he was already well into his thirties. He put up some nice numbers in both leagues, and you have to wonder if he’d be a more well-known player if he came overseas during the highest peaks of his prime, in much the same way one might wonder about Igor Larionov and other top Russian players who entered the NHL during the twilight of their careers.
York: Jerry York is a legendary NCAA coach, having won four NCAA titles with Boston College, and one with Bowling Green. In 2016, he became the first NCAA coach to win 1,000 games, which is pretty mind-blowing considering the shorter seasons in college hockey.
Blues fans can relax: Berube signs three-year contract
As silly as it seemed to worry about Craig Berube not being the St. Louis Blues’ head coach after the team won its first ever Stanley Cup, there were those who were sweating the lack of an announcement nonetheless.
After all, we’ve seen some instances in which a coach wins it all, only to change locales. In fact, it just happened with the coach before Berube, as the Washington Capitals didn’t bring back Barry Trotz after winning the 2018 Stanley Cup, only for Trotz to win the Jack Adams with the resurgent New York Islanders. (Also: Mike Keenan.)
With Trotz, there was a succession plan already in place in Washington, so they move on with Todd Reirden. The Blues clearly weren’t penciling in Berube as a sure-thing, either, what with Berube being a mid-season replacement for Mike Yeo, and Berube carrying the “interim” title for a curious amount of time.
It’s slightly disappointing that the money details haven’t leaked (yet?), as it would be intriguing to find out what Berube is getting paid. As much as winning it all drives up your bargaining power, there’s also not the greatest market for coaching jobs by late June, and Berube is likely relieved to not only coach a clearly talented team, but also to find a stable position.
(Stable by the almost inherently unstable standards of coaching jobs in the NHL, at least.)
The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford tracked down some quotes on the re-upping, including from Blues GM Doug Armstrong.
Army: "Craig made an enormous impact on our team when he took over. He restored our identity and provided our players with a clear sense of direction and purpose. The chemistry and trust that he developed with our players was integral in bringing our franchise the Stanley Cup."
It’s been quite the whirlwind year for Berube. He took over for Yeo, saw the ascent of Jordan Binnington, earned a Jack Adams nomination, and then made some deft moves in helping the Blues win the Stanley Cup. Berube’s three-year extension is well-earned, and while he likely isn’t losing any sleep over it, you could very well argue that his Jack Adams case was even better than that of Trotz.
With this question answered, we can move on to the next one: can Berube and the Blues back this all with a strong encore?
Coyotes receive: Soderberg, a 33-year-old forward whose $4.75 million cap hit expires after 2019-20.
Avalanche receive:Kevin Connauton, 29-year-old defenseman, whose $1.375M cap hit expires after 2019-20. Also, the Avalanche receive a 2020 third-round pick.
One team clears cap room, the other profits
If there’s a theme of recent moves, it’s that one team is hoping to land a big fish in free agency, while another is happy to take on another contract to get better in a more modest (and maybe safer) way.
The Nashville Predators received a paltry return for P.K. Subban in that stunning trade, and on face value, the Avalanche didn’t receive much for Soderberg, either.
Carl Soderberg (to Arizona) is a second-line forward who doesn't personally produce points well and Kevin Connauton (to Colorado with a pick) is a third-pair defender at best. pic.twitter.com/z1VExBIXPl
But, of course, context matters: both the Predators and Avalanche made their moves to save cap space.
Puck Pedia places Colorado’s cap space at just a little bit less than $38M, with 14 roster spots covered, and Rantanen headlining an RFA list that also includes Alex Kerfoot. The Avalanche boast some absolute bargain deals – most obviously in Nathan MacKinnon, yet also getting nice value in Gabriel Landeskog and Tyson Barrie – and Soderberg’s expiring contract was another reminder that the future was bright. Apparently the Avalanche believe that the future is now … although they’d probably argue that they’re enjoying both, as their 2019 NHL Draft weekend was acclaimed after they nabbed Bowen Byram and Alex Newhook.
Don’t sleep on the Coyotes’ takeaway, though.
Soderberg a hidden gem?
Soderberg might not be the sexiest talent in every way, yet he might have been the best example of Colorado’s sneaky value outside of their top guys. The bad news is that MacKinnon, Landeskog, and Rantanen generated the vast majority of the Avs’ offense during the past few seasons. The better news is that players like Soderberg and Kerfoot were strong two-way players who could hold down the fort when those guys weren’t on the ice.
Soderberg scored 23 goals for Colorado last season, and his 49 points ranked fifth-most on the team. There are a number of ways where he seems sneaky-good, including where he falls on this Goals Above Replacement chart among Avalanche forwards (visualization by Sean Tierney; data via Evolving Hockey).
Impressive, right? Surprising, even, considering that Soderberg compares so well to Rantanen, at least by those metrics.
The Coyotes have been building their roster by taking on other teams’ cap concerns, as much as by drafting, particularly since some of their picks haven’t worked out quite as planned (Clayton Keller rules; if Dylan Strome is going to rule, it will be for Chicago).
In Soderberg, the Coyotes might only be leaning into what almost got them into the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs: grinding opponents into a paste. On paper, the Coyotes figure to play a not-so-pretty style, but it’s increasingly trending toward being effective. At least, Soderberg inches them closer to having waves of quality players, maybe enough to wash over opponents and back into the postseason. Maybe their style will end up being desert-dry, but this gives them another quality two-way player, and at a reasonable price.
Of note: Soderberg's cap hit is $750,000 higher than his real salary. If you're operating on a budget, as Arizona is, that has some appeal. https://t.co/sc8SdhVx0O
The 2019-20 NHL schedule has arrived and the 1,271-game regular season journey to the Stanley Cup Playoffs begins Oct. 2 and ends April 4. We’ll have banners being raised, old friends being reacquainted, outdoor games, games in Europe and CBA fun to deal with.
Here’s a look at some notable dates on the 2019-20 season’s schedule:
Sept. 1, 2019 – As the Collective Bargaining Agreement expiration date approaches in 2022, the NHL has the first crack to terminate the agreement as of Sept. 15, 2020.
Sept. 19, 2019 – Should the NHL pass, the NHLPA can choose to end the agreement early on Sept. 15, 2020.
OPENING NIGHT WITH A BANNER RAISING
Oct. 2, 2019 – Washington Capitals at St. Louis Blues
The defending champion Blues open their season with a Stanley Cup banner-raising party at Enterprise Center. This will be the fourth straight year that the Capitals (2016, 2018) or Blues (2017, 2019) will have been involved in a banner raising celebration.
Opening night will also feature the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Ottawa Senators, the Vancouver Canucks visiting Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers, and a playoff rematch as the Vegas Golden Knights host the San Jose Sharks.
Oct. 26, 2019 – St. Louis Blues at Boston Bruins
The last time these two met was Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. They’ll meet for the first time next season back at TD Garden in late October.
TOP PICKS DEBUT AND MEET
Oct. 3, 2019 – Winnipeg Jets at New York Rangers
Kaapo Kakko makes his NHL debut at Madison Square Garden against fellow Finn Patrik Laine.
Oct. 4, 2019 – Winnipeg Jets at New Jersey Devils
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft will make his debut as Jack Hughes plays his first regular season game for the Devils. Also debuting that night with his new team will be P.K. Subban, who will also make his return to Nashville on Dec. 7.
Oct. 17, 2019 – New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils
Jack vs. Kakko for the first time in their NHL careers.
Oct. 26, 2019 – Calgary Flames vs. Winnipeg Jets
The Western Conference division rivals meet at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Saskatchewan in the Heritage Classic.
Jan. 1, 2020 – Nashville Predators at Dallas Stars
The Winter Classic will take place at the Cotton Bowl in Texas featuring a rematch of Round 1 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Feb. 15, 2020 – Los Angeles Kings vs. Colorado Avalanche
For the second time, the NHL brings a Stadium Series game to a U.S. Service Academy as the Kings and Avalanche meet at the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
NHL GLOBAL SERIES
Oct. 4, 2019 – Chicago Blackhawks vs. Philadelphia Flyers.
Jakub Voracek and David Kampf will get the opportunity to play in front of their fellow Czechs with the game taking place at O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic.
Feb. 8, 2020 – Ottawa Senators vs. Winnipeg Jets; Toronto Maple Leafs at Montreal Canadiens; Nashville Predators at Edmonton Oilers; Calgary Flames at Vancouver Canucks
Hockey Day in Canada will feature all seven Canadian teams in action.
Feb. 16, 2020 – Detroit Red Wings at Pittsburgh Penguins; Boston Bruins at New York Rangers; St. Louis Blues at Nashville Predators; Chicago Blackhawks at Winnipeg Jets
Hockey Day in America (on NBC and NBCSN) will see nine games beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET and the last game starting at 8:30 p.m. ET.
ALMOST SUPER SATURDAY
We need to wait until Seattle joins the NHL for every team to be in action in one day, but the 2019-20 season will end on April 4 with 30 of the league’s teams in action. Hopefully there will be some drama left on the final day.
The San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights will exchange pleasantries in the first two games of the season on Oct. 2 and Oct. 4. Their playoff series was intense and epic, so there should be plenty of fun to be had in these two games.
Jack Hughes visits older brother Quinn and the Vancouver Canucks for the first time when the New Jersey Devils head west on Oct. 19.
Dave Tippett visits his old team for the first time when the Arizona Coyotes host the Edmonton Oilers on Nov. 24, 2019.
It might be a better reception in Edmonton when well-liked Ralph Krueger leads his Buffalo Sabres against the Oilers on Dec. 8, 2019. Same goes for Dallas Eakins when the Anaheim Ducks visit on March 23.
There’ll be shotskis and Stanley Cup memories when Joel Quenneville and the Florida Panthers visit the Chicago Blackhawks on Jan. 21, 2020.
Jacob Trouba, if he does indeed end up signing in New York, makes his first trip back to Winnipeg to see his old friends on the Jets on Feb. 11, 2020.
The reception will be an interesting one when Alain Vigneault goes back to Madison Square Garden as Philadelphia Flyers head coach on March 1, 2020.
SALUTE TO THE SEDINS
The Vancouver Canucks will retire the jerseys of Henrik and Daniel on Feb. 12, 2020 before their game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Jan. 24-26, 2020 – NHL All-Star Game, St. Louis
The best of the best will head to St. Louis for All-Star Weekend, which will once again feature the divisional three-on-three tournament on Sunday afternoon following the NHL Skills event on Saturday night.