Thursday, June 28, 2012

Blues bring veteran Nichol back with one-year contract

Team also names Bruce Affleck as COO

ST. LOUIS -- Being a 37-year-old player in the NHL, Scott Nichol is not looking for the greener pastures.

The veteran center wants to win.

So in signing a one-year, $650,000 contract to return to the Blues, Nichol is banking on the Blues being a contending team once again in 2012-13 after a 109-point season a year ago. And after
appearing in 80 games with the Blues last season, posting eight points (three goals, five assists) and leading the club with a 57.6 percentage in the faceoff circle, Nichol wanted to remain a part of what the Blues are building.
(Getty Images)
Scott Nichol, who played in 80 games for the Blues last season, will return
for the 2012-13 season after signing a one-year contract. 

"For sure we wanted to go back to St. Louis," said Nichol, who signed a one-year contract last summer to come to St. Louis from San Jose. "The success that we had and the strides that we made all season long ... as I go in my career, I want to win. We had as good a chance as anybody to win last year. We made huge strides and it's going to be another challenge for us next year.

"We're not going to sneak up on anybody next year. People are going to know when the rankings come out, we're going to be right up there to have a great year and challenge for the Stanley Cup. As an athlete, that's what you want. You want to have that pressure and you want to have the goal to be the best. This organization, this team ... that's what we got."

Added Blues general manager Doug Armstrong: "His work ethic and professionalism are second to none and he serves as an excellent role model for our young core."

The 5-foot-9, 180-pound Nichol, who played a key role centering the Blues' fourth line a season ago, will be entering his 13th season in the NHL. The opportunity existed to enter July 1 and test the free agent waters, but that never seemed to be of interest to Nichol.

"I've been fortunate in my career. I've always signed early," Nichol said. "The way I look at it, if you're a good fit and you have success on a team, stay on that team. Sometimes the grass isn't always greener. We like St. Louis. We're not chasing money anywhere. I want to win. I want to win the Stanley Cup. I want to make the playoffs. That's what I want to play for. It's not anything else.

"We go on year to year deals just to see how the body holds up. I felt great. I felt like I still had lots of jump. They brought me in for faceoffs and penalty kill and I think for what I bring, that's exactly what they needed. It worked both ways. It's a good fit for us. That's why we ended up going back."

Nichol, who has 55 goals and 126 points in 632 career games, feels the Blues can grow off their 49-22-11 season. Being humbled by the Los Angeles Kings in the second round of the playoffs serves as a motivational tool the Blues hope to bring into the next season.

"We have a young team with a lot of youthful enthusiasm," Nichol said. "Any time you win and have success, it's fun. There's a fine line in the NHL between winning and losing. We competed every night and it was good to see everyone compete hard every night. If we keep growing, the sky's the limit."

* NOTES -- The Blues also announced on Thursday that they have named Bruce Affleck to the position of Chief Operating Officer.

Bruce Affleck

Affleck played in five seasons for the Blues beginning in 1975. In his most recent work, he has been involved with many local charities, including the St. Louis Blues Fourteen Fund (the Blues’ charitable trust), the March of Dimes, and the St. Louis University Lupus Foundation. He also helped start the Blues Alumni Association and the St. Louis Amateur Hockey Hall of Fame into which he was inducted in 20111.

"Bruce Affleck embodies our vision of a Blues franchise that is closely tied to its history and its community," chairman Tom Stillman said in a statement. "He wore the Blue Note as a player; he has worked in the Blues organization for 25 years, managing several key areas of the business. He is a longtime St. Louis resident, and he is well respected within the Blues organization and throughout the local community."

Affleck will be responsible for running the business side of the Blues, along with the Scottrade Center and related operations.

"Having played and worked for the St. Louis Blues for so many years, I am honored that our new local ownership group has given me this opportunity," Affleck said in a statement. "Our goal is to build a strong and successful business operation, enabling the Blues to be a serious contender here in St. Louis for many years to come."

Affleck returned to the Blues organization in 1987 as Sales Manager. During his time with the Blues, Affleck has held a number of positions, including Vice President of Sales and Vice President of Broadcasting and Alumni. Affleck has also handled the “color” or analyst duties for Blues radio and television broadcasts.

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