Monday, December 1, 2014


Brodeur could sign as early as Tuesday; 
Oshie fine; Shattenkirk surprised; injury update

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- Martin Brodeur spent a full practice with the Blues on Monday. It was the future Hall of Famer's first true test on the ice to see if his 42-year-old body can hold up to NHL standards.

All indications pointed towards Brodeur, who leads the NHL in several statistical categories, towards signing a contract on Tuesday and perhaps getting a game in on the Blues' upcoming three-game trip, either Thursday at Nashville or Saturday at the New York Islanders.

"I felt good," Brodeur said after practice at the Ice Zone. "It's was a little different, more hockey-like. It went really well for me anyway.

"I'm happy to get this opportunity to maybe stay on with the team. I'm working hard, I'm enjoying it. For me, it's also to gauge how I feel about coming back into the NHL and so far, so good. I'm happy with what's going on the last few days."

Brodeur skated with the team on Friday and Saturday but both were morning skate situations. He skated by himself Sunday before taking the ice Monday with a full team and will do so again on Tuesday before the team departs for the start of the trip in Chicago.

"He's fine," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said of Brodeur. "Looked just like a normal goalie to me. I don't know how much more we can go at him. 

"I think it's now how he feels with what we (did) today and (do) tomorrow. We'll put more heat on him tomorrow, but he looked fine today. He looked like just a normal goalie that's been OK in the NHL for a few years. ... He looked like a guy that's well in tune with what's going on. I think he was a little bit rusty when he first came here, but the fluidness to the things he does, this looks like a guy that I've known for a long time."

Asked if he could play against the Predators or Islanders, since Jake Allen has been declared the starter against the Blackhawks, Hitchcock said, "That's very realistic. We'll see. If he's here, he's going to play. We'll figure out what game it is, what games it is. But if he's here, he's not going to back up.

"... If Marty has a good day and feels good tomorrow, then expect to see him play some games here for sure."

Brodeur, who has spent his entire 21-year career with the New Jersey Devils, wants a quick resolution one way or the other. Tuesday seems to be the deadline.

"That's what we talked about when I came here," Brodeur said. "I'm not going to stay here for three weeks, that's for sure ... and for them too. It's just a matter of another practice and we'll discuss it with the organization. We'll make a decision probably by tomorrow.

"... You'll never know until you get on the ice and play a real game. That's how you say, 'Well, I need more. I'm fine or whatever.' I don't think you can say tomorrow I'm fine. I think I'm fine now. If they ask me now, I think I would be OK to go out and play. For my first game, that's where I'll really know. Until I play a real hockey game  ... when am I ready? Is it two weeks, three days ... I don't know? I've got to play a game to know that. As far as the way I feel, my quickness and my stamina is getting where I need it to be I think. But again, situations in games that you can't control what's going to happen. Right now, the progression has been really good. We're going to have another really good practice and hopefully make a decision tomorrow."

* Oshie OK -- T.J. Oshie doesn't have recent fond memories of Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. 

That's because in back-to-back regular season games, Oshie has been knocked out with head hits.

Late last season, it was Mike Rupp who delivered the blow that sidelined Oshie for roughly a week. But this one Saturday following a shoulder blow from Minnesota Wild defenseman Marco Scandella, it sent Oshie to the Blues' locker room for the concussion protocol where he missed the rest of the first period.

He did return for the remainder of the game and felt fine when he got up Sunday and took part in a full practice on Monday.

"Nose is a little crooked now, but two minutes well worth it, I guess," Oshie half-jokingly said. "Once the puck went by (Scandella), I figured he was just going to box me out, hold me out, but whatever, I guess. ...It's kind of a nose and face issue, but ... I don't know, it seems like that's the second time that's happened in a matter of three shifts that I've been in Minnesota. I don't know, seems a little targeted, but either way, we got away with the two points, so we'll take that.

"I'm good to go. I'm fine. Nose is a little crooked. I can't really breathe out of this (left) side. Other than that, we're good."

Scandella, who received a minor penalty for an illegal check to the head, was fined $2,755.38 NHL Department of Player Safety late Monday afternoon.

"I would be best not to comment on that hit right now, so we'll just leave it at that," Hitchcock said.

Oshie was ready to move on and didn't have a preference of if it was a suspendable offense.

"I don't really care," he said. "We went in there ... they might have got the best of us, but we walked away with the two points  (a 3-2 shootout victory). We'll play them again. 

"You don't really want to take a guy's number, but if we get a chance to get a nice, clean check on him back, then I'll do that. Otherwise, we'll keep going in there and try to get the two points."

* Shattenkirk surprised -- Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk immediately stood over the Wild's Ryan Carter after pushing the Minnesota forward that caused Carter to hit the boards with his head.

It occurred late in the second period that wasn't going to be called immediately, as the official closest to the play never had his arm raised but eventually turned into a five-minute boarding penalty and a game misconduct.

"I didn't expect the push to kind of be that strong and for him to kind of go that hard into the boards," Shattenkirk said. "Whether he just wasn't expecting the push or not ... any time you see that obviously, my first instinct was hopefully he was alright. I didn't necessarily think it was a game penalty, but it happens. It was a great response by everyone, too, especially on the back end to rally around and play with five D for the second night in a row.

"I thought maybe a boarding or something like that. It's tough. The game was going at that point ... going in a way that maybe could have ... things could have gotten out of hand. I don't know if they were trying to send a message or what, but it's tough when you're on the wrong side of it. Sometimes that just happens."

To his recollection, it was Shattenkirk's first major penalty and resulting game misconduct.

"I think that was my first one, so it was a little weird," Shattenkirk said. "Not used to being out in the middle of the second period. I really didn't know what to do with myself.

"The thing that killed me was leaving them with a five-minute power play. They get one on it, but I think for the most part, we killed that penalty off really well. Even though they got one on it, it seemed like we still managed to grab some momentum off of it. The third period was really a great period by the guys. David (Backes) has a huge, huge goal there. It's a great play by Patrik (Berglund) to get him the puck and a good play by Osh on the wall. Everyone seemed to collectively rally together in the third period knowing we had a good back-to-back series and we can salvage it with the win."

As of early Monday afternoon, Shattenkirk did not expect the NHL to review the play, nor had be been told of any relating news.

"I'm not expecting to," he said. "I haven't heard anything from Army or anything. It would definitely blindside me now if it came. But who knows. I guess we'll have to wait and see. So far, so good."

* Injury updates -- The Blues got Jay Bouwmeester back for practice Monday but were missing Barret Jackman and Ryan Reaves.

Bouwmeester, who saw his streak of 737 consecutive regular season games (749 including playoffs) snapped after sustaining a lower-body injury against the Ottawa Senators on Nov. 22, has missed the past four games. But Bouwmeester was on the ice and skating freely and deemed fit by Hitchcock and is expected to play against the Blackhawks barring any setbacks.

"Bouw looked fine," Hitchcock said. "He says he feels good. Barring another setback tomorrow, he's good to go."

Jackman played both games over the weekend but was dinged up multiple times as a result of shot blocks, while Reaves also blocked a shot late in the game against the Wild. 

Both are expected to practice Tuesday.

"We wanted an extra day on Jackman," Hitchcock said. "He'll practice tomorrow. Revo, from the problem he had before, we wanted another day on him, but both of those guys will be full participants tomorrow."

Alexander Steen left practice a little early after taking a shot off the hand, and the Blues just want to take the necessary precautions.

"He got that shot in the hand and we pulled him off early (to) get a precautionary x-ray just to make sure," Hitchcock said. "We'll see."

Steve Ott returned to the ice after missing the game Saturday due to a groin injury sustained Friday in a 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers.

With Bouwmeester's return, Petteri Lindbohm was assigned to the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League.

* Line juggling, or is it jingling? -- The Blues started the game Saturday with a set of line combinations but ended it differently.

After starting it with an American line of Oshie, Backes and Paul Stastny, Hitchcock moved some players around again Monday after finishing the victory Saturday with the same group.

Jaden Schwartz, Oshie and Stastny were one group, Steen was with Jori Lehtera and Vladimir Tarasenko and Backes was skating with Berglund and Ott. Joakim Lindstrom dropped to the fourth line with Maxim Lapierre and Chris Porter.

"I think this is the combination that I jingled and juggled together and finished with (Saturday)," Hitchcock joked. "I stayed with good continuity from the last seven minutes of the game. I stayed consistent. ... You better make sure you've got your eraser coming up now."


"Just getting started," Hitchcock said, referring to line combinations. "You haven't seen anything yet. ... Just remember one thing: twosomes never change."

* Tarasenko honored -- Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko continues to pick up honors.

The NHL announced on Monday that Tarasenko has been named the Second Star for the month of November.

Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano and Predators goalie Pekka Rinne were named the first and third stars, respectively.

Tarasenko had 10 goals and 17 points in 15 games for the Blues, who were 11-3-1 in November. The 10 goals were the most by a Blues player since Pavol Demitra netted 10 in November of 2001.

Tarasenko leads the Blues in goals (14) and is second in the NHL in plus-minus (plus-17). He is fourth in the league in goals and is seventh in points with 26.

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