Team acquires minor leaguer; game time changed for Dec. 31
By LOUIE KORAC
ST. LOUIS -- After seeing his team take a whopping 78 shot attempts during Monday's 4-0 loss to Colorado, Blues coach Andy Murray was back on the ice Tuesday looking to find whatever way he could to help his team snap it's shooting funk.
Of course, there were plenty of pucks flying around the goals of Scottrade Center at Tuesday's practice. What else would the team be doing?
And in Murray's thought process, the team was working on getting shots from the point on net at the goalie's pads.
Strange, you say? Murray thought so, too. But in the grander scheme of things, why not?
"What we were working on today -- as strange as it may seem -- was our guys shooting from the outside into the goalie's pads," the Blues' coach said Tuesday. "That may sound strange, but that's what we were working on because last night, our guys were putting it here (high in the shoulder area), or it was hitting (Avs goalie Peter Budaj) up high and it was going places. It's either a scoring shot or what I call a scoring chance shot.
"We tried to score from the outside, which you're not going to do. You're not going to score on a snapper or a wrist shot from outside the tops of the circles. You've got to blast it and get something off it. Get it off the pads and have guys going to the net and bury pucks that way. We didn't do enough of that. ... For us to lose that game is disheartening."
That meant Erik Johnson, Barret Jackman, Darryl Sydor, Mike Weaver, Roman Polak and even Alex Pietrangelo were busy rifling shots into the pads of Chris Mason and Ty Conklin, with forwards bearing down hard going after loose pucks and rebounds. Carlo Colaiacovo (lower-body) was not on the ice Tuesday but is expected to play tonight.
"If you're coming inside the zone and you've got a guy driving the net, you're not going to score from two feet inside the blue line on the rush," Murray said. "But if you've got a guy going to the net and it's low and it's hard, we can't be laying any muffins to the net just flipping it at the goalie where he can handle it. Blast it. Get it coming off of him and then you've got a chance. That's creating a chance. Those ones you're trying to score on where you're going top shelf ... let's face it, the way the goalies play now, if you're inside the circles, the only place you're going to beat him is under the bar. They take away the lower part of the net now. You've got to go under the bar. From the outside, you've got to shoot low."
* Snappy game -- Blues television analyst Bernie Federko pointed out to Murray that the game Monday took a quick 2 hours, 15 minutes to complete. It was speedy to say the least.
But the game only featured two penalties, and as Murray pointed out, "The first period was really fast," he said. "...(But) if we win the game, we score on our chances and we win the game, we're probably saying that time frame is OK."
* Who's in goal? -- Murray was non-committal when asked if Mason or Conklin would get the nod tonight in Detroit.
Mason, who allowed four goals on 22 shots Monday, is 1-0-1 against the Wings this season. Conklin, who played for Detroit a season ago, was brilliant in his last start, a 2-1 shootout win Thursday in San Jose.
"You could. There's always that possibility," Murray said when asked if Conklin could play.
When asked if he would play, Murray said with a grin, "You could."
* Brewer skates -- Defenseman Eric Brewer skated on his own before Tuesday's practice.
The Blues' captain, who missed the majority of last season after back surgery to repair a sciatic nerve, has been sidelined since Nov. 25 when he was cross-checked in the back during a shootout win in Dallas.
Brewer was examined over the weekend in Los Angeles and is sidelined for 2-4 weeks, but Blues President John Davidson said the injury is non-related to the issues Brewer dealt with last season.
* Blues acquire forward -- The Blues made a minor deal Tuesday, acquiring forward Pascal Pelletier from Columbus in exchange for defenseman Brendan Bell and underachieving center Tomas Kana.
Pelletier, 26, played in 25 games this season with the American Hockey League’s Syracuse Crunch, recording 16 points (three goals, 13 assists) and 23 penalty minutes. Last season, the 5-foot-11, 197-pound left winger notched 55 points (29 goals, 26 assists) and 45 penalty minutes in 71 games with Rockford of the AHL, Chicago's minor league affiliate. He will report to the Blues' AHL affiliate in Peoria.
The Blues signed Bell as a free agent from Ottawa in the off-season looking to add depth at the defensive position but was optioned to Peoria in a numbers game, while Kana, the team's second round pick in 2006 (31st overall) never really established himself and has been a disappointment.
* Time change for Dec. 31 -- The Blues have moved the start time for their new Year's Eve home game with the Vancouver Canucks to 6 p.m., one hour earlier than the original 7 p.m. start time.