Kyle Parker Hockey Blog
Right Where We Left Off: Expectations From The Blues

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(Photo: FSN Midwest)


   The late Judy Garland once said, “There’s No Place Like Home”, when she played Dorothy Gale in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. For Blues fans, that saying never gets old when hockey season rolls around. For many St. Louisians, it’s no longer just Baseball Heaven, it’s Hockey Heaven and the fans clearly shown it. 

    During the 113-day lockout, I’ve been going to local rinks, getting my hockey fix wherever I can. The number of people that came out (even to high school hockey games) has been at an all time high. Everywhere I go now, I see sweaters, hoodies, hats, car decorations and every possible thing that St. Louisians have shown their love for this team and even when in tough times, they know and love hockey and to that, it brought tears to my eyes and I’ve never felt so proud of my city. The most amazing thing happened on the final day before training camp, Sunday January 3, when Blues fans gave a standing ovation to the team at Scottrade Center. The team responded with a stick salute. Just experiencing that moment brought chills throughout my spine and goosebumps all over my arm (just when the temperature at the rink wasn’t doing it enough). To fans, hockey is just not a game, it’s a way of life. It gives their life purpose, meaning and direction. And because of that, that’s why we live, breathe and die hockey.

   With the arrival of Vladimir Tarasenko (FINALLY), Blues fans have faith that this team is just inches away from hoisting Lord Stanley. However, it’s just not Tarasenko that has the fans excited. Prospects like Jaden Schwartz, Ty Rattie, Jordan Schmaltz, Jordan Binnington and so on. Fans are now following the draft, major juniors, college hockey, world juniors and even the KHL, trying to keep up with their favorite prospects, hoping to see them tear it up. All credit goes to Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong and his staff. They have carefully paid close attention to these kids and made the right moves in determining what’s best of this franchise.

   The Notes kick off the 48-game season Saturday night hosting Detroit (I mean, hell, what better way to start the season with a good ol’ fashioned rivalry, am I right?). Detroit had taken a few bumps this offseason as longtime Red Wing legend Nicklas Lidstrom announced his retirement. The Wings have HUGE shoes to fill and are expected to be in full force this season with some call-ups from their AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins. 

   While we’re on the discussion of the AHL, let’s talk about Peoria (bare with me, please). In 37 games this season, the Rivermen are 16-17-2 and are currently ranked 13th (out of 15th) in the Western Conference. For the fans who do follow Peoria, this isn’t much of a surprise as first year head coach Dave Allison had no idea what he was walking into. Nonetheless, the Rivs actually do have a lot of solid fowards and defensemen that have great potential of wearing the Note this year. The most deserving candidates are T.J. Hensick and Derek Nesbitt. These two have been such underrated forwards in the past few and just have not had the opportunity to be called up. Hensick currently has 9G and 31A and Nesbitt with 12G and 12A. Fellow teammates Phil McRae, Evengy Grachev, Cade Fairchild, Taylor Chorney (no longer with the Rivs) and Jake Allen have all made appearances last season as Blue Notes but have been bounced around back and forth from St. Louis Peoria. 

   So who who will have the biggest impact this year? Well…we’ll have to wait and see. There’s no question Blues captain David Backes will be one of them. Last season, Backes racked up 24G and 34A in all 82 games and finished with a plus/minus of +15. We can also expect big things from fellow forwards T.J. Oshie, David Perron, Patrik Berglund, Alex Steen, Chris Stewart and Vladimir Sobotka. There has also been a big help regarding defensemen with Kevin Shattenkirk, Alex Pietrangelo, Roman Polak and Kris RussellJaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott return for another year after a tremendous year by both averaging just under a 2.00 Goals Allowed Averaged (GAA) and a combined Save Average (SA) of 0.933.

There is much excited in the air and the best way to describe Blues fans through this travesty called a lockout is like holding a beach ball under water. With pressure, the ball naturally wants to float to the top but it can’t. However, once whatever is holding it under is removed, it EXPLODES out of the water with such force. I will say that I can’t give how many wins and losses I expect the Blues will put up this year but let’s just say they will finish on a “positive” note. After today’s final informal skate, Blues fans have shown their pride, passion and appreciation for this team. Hopefully, they take use that as motivation for this season.

                                         LONG LIVE THE BLUE NOTE

Burke’s Dismissal Brings New Life To Toronto

   If you are a Toronto Maple Leafs fan, you can not disagree with the fact that last season was the final straw for Leafs GM Brian Burke. The team has not reached the playoffs since 2004 and since the 2005-2006, their record is 253-208-78, averaging 36 wins a season and finishing no higher than third in the Northeast Division. Sure, you have to compete with teams like Boston, Buffalo, New York, Ottawa and Montreal, but Leafs fans have just felt that Brian Burke, a once proud General Manager of the 2006 Stanley Cup Champions Anaheim Ducks, has not lost control of the franchise but his confidence to rebuild the team.

   Reports circled Wednesday morning that Brian Burke was fired as general manager of the Maple Leafs and replaced by interim GM Dave Nonis (which Leaf fans seem excited about having a Canadian finally calling the shots again). So what happend? The Leafs front office came to a conclusion last week on agreeing to signing free agent and former Vancouver Canuck goaltender Roberto Luongo. Everyone had agreed on the deal except Burke and after that, they had enough. Goaltending has been a HORRENDOUS challenge for Toronto the past few seasons, calling up and sending down guys like Ben Scrivens and James Reimer. This past season, Scrivens played most of last year with Toronto’s AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, but in his twelve apperances, Scrivens recorded a 4-5-2 record, 3.12 Goals  Allowed Average (GAA) and a .902 Save Percentage (SV), while Reimer posted a 14-14-2 record in 34 appearances with a 3.10 GAA and a .900 SV. However, Toronto can not solely plan the goaltending as the key factor for their demise. The Leafs scored 231 goals during the course of the 2011-12 season. How many did they allow? 264. The last time that they scored more goals than goals allowed was also the last time they made the playoffs (2003-04 season with 242-204).

   The funny thing is that Toronto has pretty damn good forwards though and Burke had a voice in bringing them to Ontario. I mean take Phil Kessel for example, who was brought over from Boston in exchange for a first round draft pick, which turned out to be a kid by the named of Tyler Seguin. Kessel finished sixth overall in point leaders last season with 37 goals and 45 assists. They only guys in front of him are names like Evengi Malkin, Steven Stamkos, Claude Giroux, Jason Spezza and Ilya Kovalchuck. Two other players who had a big impact in the points department last season were Joffrey Lupul and Mikhail Grabovski. Also, the Marlies, who were last season’s Calder Cup runner-ups, have a handful of solid players on their roster, such as Matt Frattin, Joe Colbourne, Ryan Hamilton, Nazem Kadri, and Jesse Blacker just to name a few.

   Despite of their lack of success in recent years, Toronto is still the most valuable team in National Hockey League. According to Forbes Magazine, Toronto ranks on top of the list in team networth at $1 Billion. Don’t believe me, check it out for yourself (click here). Now with Nonis at the wheel and head coach Randy Carlyle, Leaf fans are willing to give it another shot at the season as they open the 48-game season on Saturday at Montreal. 

Canada 9, Germany 3 - Final 12/26/2012

Canada opens World Junior play with a 9-3 beatdown over Germany. Captain Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was named the star of the game by racking up 5 points (1G, 4A). 

Canada Goals - Xavier Oullet (3:01 - 1st), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (10:24 - 1st), Mark Schiefele (2) (2:17 - 2nd/19:59 - 2nd), Jonathan Huberdeau (4:24 - 2nd), Ty Rattie (12:22 - 2nd), Ryan Strome (13:48 - 2nd), Jonathan Drouin (4:46 - 3rd), Tyler Wotherspoon (17:03 - 3rd)

Germany Goals - Tobias Rieder (19:28 - 1st), Leonhard Pfoderl (16:22 - 2nd), Nickolas Latta (18:15 - 2nd)

For more details on this game, click here.

And Here We Are Again…College Hockey Kickoff

Yet another great year of college hockey is finally upon us. Despite of the NHL Lockout, everyone has been anticipating some kind of hockey to be played (I mean let’s face it, the KHL becomes obnoxious after awhile). Now that we are in Week 2 of the season, the big matchups are here.

The 2012 Icebreaker Tournament kicks off tomorrow October 12 with Maine vs. Notre Dame at 7PM, followed by Army vs. Nebraska-Omaha at 9PM. The winners/losers from each game will each other the following day on Saturday. Only two of the teams are in the DI Top 20 (Notre Dame at 14 and Maine at 20). It will be a great start for the Black Bears if they get pick up a big win over the Irish on Friday and will help them in the polls. The games will air on the NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus). 

Here are some of the other big match-ups this weekend in college hockey:

10/11 - RIT @ Michigan

10/12 - Union @ Bowling Green*

10/12 - Clarkson @ Colorado College*

10/12 - Colgate - Miami (OH)*

10/12 - RIT @ Michigan*

10/12 - Ohio State @ Minnesota - Duluth*

10/12 - Boston College @ Northeastern

10/12- - Michigan State @ Minnesota *

10/12 - Nothern Michigan @ Minnesota *

* - Indicates Weekend Series

Lots of huge games this weekend

Big weekend for many teams this weekend. Should be exciting. 

Wisconsin’s Kerdiles Suspended

On Saturday October 6th, the Wisconsin Badgers opened their season up with a win of the USA U-18 Developmental Team. However, one big piece of the Basgers’ lineup this season sat throughout the game. Freshmen Nicolas Kerdiles, a second-round pick by the Anaheim Ducks, was inactive from Saturday’s matchup. After the game, reports began to swirl that Kerdiles was suspended due to issues with the NCAA that affected his eligibility. The reports were confirmed by the university and later on by Wisconsin Head Coach Mike Eaves. Kerdiles was expected to be one of the leading incoming freshmen in all of college hockey.

On Monday, Eaves announced that Kerdiles was suspended throughout the entire 2012-13 season due to the NCAA violations and he must serve his suspension while enrolled at the university. But what exactly did he do?

Andy Johnson from Bucky’s Fifth Quarter, Wisconsin’s fan blog site, reported the following:

In our last update, we detailed two photos that have surfaced that may have put Kerdiles’ eligibility in question. One is from a dinner at the NHL Scouting Combine with representatives from Pulver Sports.

The other situation includes a photo tweeted by Pulver Sports that shows Kerdiles and two other NHL prospects holding BioSteel supplements. That could be considered an NCAA violation of an athlete promoting a product.

Regardless of the NCAA’s rules and regulations, it is a disappointing and a huge loss to the Badgers. In his two seasons with the US National Development Team, Kerdiles racked up 16G and 17A in only 50 games. Once the suspension is served, the biggest question is will Kerdiles returned to Wisconsin or will he jump to the CHL? Only time will tell.

Americans On Top…Again

Photo: AnnArbor.com


Once again, the NCAA Division I schools proved their dominance in college hockey as they annihilated the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) schools 28-6-5, over a 4-day period, beginning October 5th through October 9th. 

Defending national champions Boston College opened their season up with a 6-0 shutout over the University of New Brunswick, who were also national champions last season in the CIS. The Eagles outshot the Reds 34-18 and went 1-6 on the powerplay. The exhibition series ended Tuesday night with Michigan defeating the University of Windsor, 7-3 (featured above).

The Nashville Predators announce that Captain Shea Weber would stay a Predator. The Preds matched Philly’s 14-year, $110M deal. It was perfect timing for Weber as Nashville couldn’t afford losing another defenseman as they lost Ryan Sutter to Minnesota. GM David Poile and his staff had very little time to make a quick decision but nonetheless, they made the right one and kept the fans happy.

bettertimesfrank:

This is Jessica Redfield.
She was a blogger and aspiring sportscaster from Texas. She was a hockey fanatic, who was a regular contributing commentator for BustedCoverage.com, a sports/entertainment website. (Her birth name is Jessica Ghawi. She writes/tweets as “Redfield”)
In addition to being something of a social media guru, Jessica was also actively involved in social causes. She interned for the You Can Play Project in Denver, an LGBT organization that “supports fairness and equality in the locker room”. Jessica was also involved with an organization that collected hockey gear donated by local teams and gave it to families who had lost their homes during Colorado’s recent wildfires.
Jessica Redfield was present in Toronto earlier this summer, when a gunman opened fire at the Eaton Centre shopping mall. Jessica miraculously escaped this shooting, which left two dead and several wounded.
According to the blog that she regularly updated, Jessica decided to eat a burger for lunch that afternoon at the Toronto mall. She wrote of getting a “weird feeling” in her stomach immediately afterward, and going outside for some fresh air. As she was stepping outside the mall, just THREE minutes after purchasing her burger, a gunman opened fire inside the food court. Jessica Redfield was lucky enough to escape with her life.
This experience fundamentally changed Jessica, causing her to realize how fragile life on Earth truly is, and strive to appreciate every waking moment just a little bit more.
Jessica wrote about the experience in her blog, quoted below:

“I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday. I saw the terror on bystanders’ faces. I saw the victims of a senseless crime. I saw lives change. I was reminded that we don’t know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath. For one man, it was in the middle of a busy food court on a Saturday evening.

I say all the time that every moment we have to live our life is a blessing. So often I have found myself taking it for granted. Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings. Every second of every day is a gift. After Saturday evening, I know I truly understand how blessed I am for each second I am given.

I feel like I am overreacting about what I experienced. But I can’t help but be thankful for whatever caused me to make the choices that I made that day. My mind keeps replaying what I saw over in my head. I hope the victims make a full recovery. I wish I could shake this odd feeling from my chest. The feeling that’s reminding me how blessed I am. The same feeling that made me leave the Eaton Center. The feeling that may have potentially saved my life.”

This quote came from the last blog post Jessica would ever write.

Jessica Redfield moved to Denver, Colorado a year ago. She had been working as an intern for the FM radio station 104.3 The Fan.
Last night Jessica joined several thousand of her peers across the country, and waited in a long line for a ticket to see the midnight premier of the new Dark Knight Rises film.
As the movie played, 24 year old James E. Holmes entered the theater, released tear gas, and began firing at-random into the large crowd.
Jessica Redfield, survivor of last month’s Toronto mall shooting, was shot and killed last night in Aurora, Colorado.
I didn’t know this girl. I will never have the chance to. But her story is not something I will ever forget.
Rest in peace, Jessica.
There truly are no words.
[Tidbits of info taken from Detroit Free Press]
[Photo Credit: Denver Post]
[Excerpt from Jessica’s Blog: A Run On Of Thoughts]

bettertimesfrank:

This is Jessica Redfield.

She was a blogger and aspiring sportscaster from Texas. She was a hockey fanatic, who was a regular contributing commentator for BustedCoverage.com, a sports/entertainment website. (Her birth name is Jessica Ghawi. She writes/tweets as “Redfield”)

In addition to being something of a social media guru, Jessica was also actively involved in social causes. She interned for the You Can Play Project in Denver, an LGBT organization that “supports fairness and equality in the locker room”. Jessica was also involved with an organization that collected hockey gear donated by local teams and gave it to families who had lost their homes during Colorado’s recent wildfires.

Jessica Redfield was present in Toronto earlier this summer, when a gunman opened fire at the Eaton Centre shopping mall. Jessica miraculously escaped this shooting, which left two dead and several wounded.

According to the blog that she regularly updated, Jessica decided to eat a burger for lunch that afternoon at the Toronto mall. She wrote of getting a “weird feeling” in her stomach immediately afterward, and going outside for some fresh air. As she was stepping outside the mall, just THREE minutes after purchasing her burger, a gunman opened fire inside the food court. Jessica Redfield was lucky enough to escape with her life.

This experience fundamentally changed Jessica, causing her to realize how fragile life on Earth truly is, and strive to appreciate every waking moment just a little bit more.

Jessica wrote about the experience in her blog, quoted below:

“I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday. I saw the terror on bystanders’ faces. I saw the victims of a senseless crime. I saw lives change. I was reminded that we don’t know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath. For one man, it was in the middle of a busy food court on a Saturday evening.


I say all the time that every moment we have to live our life is a blessing. So often I have found myself taking it for granted. Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings. Every second of every day is a gift. After Saturday evening, I know I truly understand how blessed I am for each second I am given.


I feel like I am overreacting about what I experienced. But I can’t help but be thankful for whatever caused me to make the choices that I made that day. My mind keeps replaying what I saw over in my head. I hope the victims make a full recovery. I wish I could shake this odd feeling from my chest. The feeling that’s reminding me how blessed I am. The same feeling that made me leave the Eaton Center. The feeling that may have potentially saved my life.”


This quote came from the last blog post Jessica would ever write.

Jessica Redfield moved to Denver, Colorado a year ago. She had been working as an intern for the FM radio station 104.3 The Fan.

Last night Jessica joined several thousand of her peers across the country, and waited in a long line for a ticket to see the midnight premier of the new Dark Knight Rises film.

As the movie played, 24 year old James E. Holmes entered the theater, released tear gas, and began firing at-random into the large crowd.

Jessica Redfield, survivor of last month’s Toronto mall shooting, was shot and killed last night in Aurora, Colorado.

I didn’t know this girl. I will never have the chance to. But her story is not something I will ever forget.

Rest in peace, Jessica.

There truly are no words.

[Tidbits of info taken from Detroit Free Press]

[Photo Credit: Denver Post]

[Excerpt from Jessica’s Blog: A Run On Of Thoughts]

Rick’s A Ranger: Nash’s Dealt to New York

The wait is finally over for Blue Jackets fans…and it’s unfortunately not the outcome they expected. Captain Rick Nash was traded Monday to the New York Rangers in exchange for Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, prospect Tim Erixson and a first-round pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. With Nash’s depature, Columbus’ woes continue to pile up after yet another losing season.

"I’d like to thank Rick Nash for all he’s done for the Columbus Blue Jackets," Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson said. "He’s been a great player for us, a great ambassador for our city, and he’s been generous with his time and resources in giving back to our community. We will be forever grateful, and we wish him all the best. But we’re moving on now, and we’re excited about our future. Nash was traded first overall by Columbus in the 2002 Entry Draft. In his tenure in Columbus, Nash has scored 239G and 258A. "There was a lot of limbo for sure," Nash said. "It was a tough period. The good thing now is it’s over and I can look forward to next year."

On the other side of the trade, the Rangers can’t express how lucky they are to recieve someone like Rick Nash. “We’re happy to have a five-time All-Star on our team and a 40-goal scorer,” said New York general manager Glen Sather, who was also happy he didn’t have to break up the young core of his team any more than he did. “He will help us immensely.” The Rangers finished as the top seed in the Eastern Conference last season yet fell short to the New Jersey Devils, who won the Eastern Conference. Nash will join a roster of veteran forwards including Ryan Callahan, Brad Richards and Marion Gaborik. “They are already one of the top teams in the league. The players they have are pretty impressive,” Nash said. “In finding a team, I thought the Rangers were perfect. They are a great fit for my style.”

As for the Blue Jackets, they will continue to pick up the pieces from the past few seasons and try to regain that composure. The Blue Jackets also look to put young  Ryan Murray to work as soon as possible. Murray, who played for the Everett Silvertips (WHL), was drafted second overall by Columbus in the 2012 NHL Draft.