Friday, December 6, 2013


Berglund's 'chinstand' draws laughter from teammates, coaches,
fans; Pietrangelo OK after shot-block scare; Cole strong in lineup again

ST. LOUIS -- Patrik Berglund doesn't normally have to prep himself do interviews of the funny nature. They just come naturally for the Blues' 6-foot-4 Swede.

But after Berglund's face-plant shot against the New York Islanders that drew laughs from fans to his teammates and coaches and even Berglund laughing at himself, it's about all he can do.

"Is this a joke or what," Berglund playfully asked as he approached recorders.

With the Blues holding a 3-1 lead and Berglund on the ice for one of his better shifts he looked to unload a slap shot from the high slot. But as the hitter in the batter's box sees a huge pitch coming down the chute and swings and misses, Berglund came up with a big whiff himself.

Teammates Brian Elliott and Brenden Morrow had the biggest immediate laughs from the bench:

"It was so surprising," Elliott said. "Morrow was sitting next to me on the bench and it's like the spit-water bit but he spit out his mouth-guard into the boards. I tried to look away and I saw that and I couldn't help myself.

"I laughed right away. I probably shouldn't have. It's just kind of the way it happened. He came back with a smile on his face and then he had a great shift to set up a goal. It's good to see it kind of turn around from that one. He said the whole arena was laughing at him. Those things happen ... you don't want them to happen to you, but they definitely happen out there."

Added Morrow: "I mean, I've seen some funny (stuff) I guess, but that was ... he was playing so hard. It was at the end of his shift and I think he had two or three opportunities. It was just priceless. I was trying to contain the laugh but it came out strong."

Berglund's explanation isn't believable, if spoken in a serious tone, but of course, even Berglund couldn't talk himself into believing his explanation.

"I was going to tee it up and obviously there were some ice problems, stuff like that," Berglund said with a grin. "Maybe my skates were broken or something like that.

"I obviously wanted to shoot ... it was really funny. I mean, 20,000 people were laughing so it's kind of hard not to."

Berglund was able to get an assist later in the period on fellow countryman Magnus Paajarvi's goal.

"It was funny," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "It was a Happy Gilmore moment, but it was a Happy Bergy.

"It's good he laughed about it. I thought when that line went together, they played very well. They had a lot of pursuit on the puck, hounded it hard like we needed it done. I thought they were really effective for us."

Of course Hitchcock was talking about Berglund, Paajarvi and Maxim Lapierre, who gained traction in the game that the Blues won going away thanks to three power play goals.

"I think we played really well," Berglund said. "We had a really good cycle, which I think we had a really good second, which we really needed to get going. The first period wasn't good. They're two hard-working guys that can forecheck and hold the puck. It's kind of easy to read off of them."

* Pietrangelo OK after scare -- There was a collective holding of the breath when Alex Pietrangelo fell to the ice to block a shot by Islanders defenseman Andrew MacDonald.

MacDonald's one-timer from the right circle caught Pietrangelo flush on the helmet, but the Blues' defenseman immediately left the ice to the locker room.

Pietrangelo was bleeding from the head but would return to the game after getting stitches and cleaning up the blood.

"That's why we wear helmets, why we have protection," Pietrangelo said. "I feel OK today, just a little bit stiff. ... I came back in, got stitches in, cleaned up the blood. When I came off the ice, I grabbed my head and felt the blood. It kind of scared me at first ... you never know. The doctors kind of talked me down."

Hitchcock felt everything would be OK when head athletic trainer Ray Barile did not come back to the bench to talk to the Blues' coach.

"Usually when the trainer doesn't come and talk to you, then it's a good thing," Hitchcock said. "When he comes and talks to you, it's a bad thing. He didn't talk to me so I was hopeful. But man, to see a guy get a shot like that and you hear the helmet's smashed and everything. (If) that thing was six centimeters either side, we're dealing with a lot different injury today, so we caught ourselves a break yesterday."

Goalie Jaroslav Halak is also fine after taking a shot high from John Tavares early in the second period that split Halak's lip open. Halak will get the start Saturday when the Blues host the Anaheim Ducks.

* Cole back strong -- Defenseman Ian Cole, a healthy scratch Monday at Los Angeles, was back in the lineup Thursday.

Cole played 16 minutes, 10 seconds and assisted on the Blues' first goal of the game and made several strong defensive plays that broke up potential high-percentage scoring opportunities for the Islanders.

"Yep, played well again," Hitchcock said. "Just hit the reset button. Tomorrow will be a different challenge for him. He's going to get a lot of weight and a lot of size and a lot of speed at him tomorrow. It'll be a big challenge.

"I just think with younger players, you've got to be careful. You put them in tough situations and then sometimes just getting a chance to catch your breath is a good idea. We're lucky we've got an experienced player (Carlo Colaiacovo) who can come in and take his place."

* Duck hunting -- The Blues (19-5-3) will face the Ducks, who played at Chicago Friday night, for the first time this season. It's the triangle of California teams the Blues will look to snap a skid against. Three of the Blues' five regulation losses have come at the hands of the San Jose Sharks and Kings.

"More speed, but the same thing ... big bodies, hard on every puck," Hitchcock said of the Ducks, who were 18-7-5 prior to facing the Blackhawks. "It's going to be a challenge for us.

"There's a debate who's better out of those three teams. One week it's Anaheim, next week it's L.A. and next week it's San Jose. When they play against each other, it looks like a one-game playoff game. I just finished watching the L.A.-Anaheim game (from Tuesday, a 3-2 Kings victory in a shootout). It was a tremendous hockey game. We're going to get the same push. This is a real good test for us. I don't think we need to worry about the start or whether we're going to be ready. We have no choice. I think our players recognize and know that too."

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