Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Blues add former defenseman Van Ryn as assistant coach

Former Tucson coach to take place of Darryl Sydor, 
who stepped down, citing spending more time with family

ST. LOUIS -- The Blues have added a familiar face to their coaching staff and saying goodbye to another heading into the 2018-19 season.

Well, sort of a familiar face.

The Blues announced the hiring of former defenseman Mike Van Ryn as an assistant coach, replacing Darryl Sydor, who is stepping down to spend more time with his family.
Mike Van Ryn

The 39-year-old Van Ryn spent last season as coach of the Tucson Roadrunners of the American Hockey League, leading them to the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs after winning the Pacific Division with a 42-20-6 record.

Van Ryn spent his first three seasons in the NHL with the Blues from 2000-03 after being drafted in the first round of the 1998 NHL Draft by the New Jersey Devils, playing in 69 games before moving on to play four seasons with the Florida Panthers and current Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester before finishing his NHL career with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2008-09.

"We are very excited to have Mike joining our staff," Blues coach Mike Yeo said in a statement. "I spoke with a number of people about the position, but it was clear that Mike's energy and philosophies were the best fit for our team."

Prior to serving as coach of the Roadrunners, Van Ryn was the Arizona Coyotes' developmental coach in 2016. He also spent three seasons with the Ontario Hockey League's Kitchener Rangers, including 2015-16 when he guided the Rangers to a 44-17-7 record as their coach.

Van Ryn also spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the AHL's Houston Aeros after beginning his coaching career as an assistant with the OHL's Niagara IceDogs in 2010-11.

Sydor spent last season with the Blues after serving as an assistant under Craig Berube with the AHL's Chicago Wolves for one season (2016-17); he had been an assistant with the Minnesota Wild from 2011-16 under Yeo and John Torchetti. 

"After almost 30 years in professional hockey, I am confident that now is the right time to step away from the game," Sydor said in a statement. "Hockey has given me more than I could have ever dreamed for, but my family is the most important thing in my life, and I want to focus all of my attention on them."

Friday, May 18, 2018

Schwartz to miss rest of World Championship with shoulder injury

Blues say left wing will be ready for opening of training camp in September, 
was hurt in third period of Canada's 5-4 OT win over Russia in quarterfinal game

Blues left wing Jaden Schwartz will miss the remainder of the IIHF World Championship with a right shoulder injury.

(St. Louis Blues photo)
Jaden Schwartz had four assists for Team Canada during the IIHF World
Championship but will miss rest of tournament with shoulder injury.
The Blues and Hockey Canada made the announcement late Friday afternoon that he will miss the rest of the tournament, which is down to the final four, and Canada will face Switzerland on Saturday, but that Schwartz's injury will not affect his availability for training camp, which will begin in September.

Schwartz was injured during the third period of a 5-4 overtime victory over Russia in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

Schwartz, who had an assist in the game, had four assists and was a plus-6 in eight games during the tournament.

He was among four Blues (Brayden Schenn, Joel Edmundson and Colton Parayko) playing on the team. Originally, defenseman Vince Dunn was supposed to play as well but was ruled out with an upper-body injury of his own.

Edmundson missed Canada's opener, a 5-4 shootout loss to the United States, with a groin injury but has since played in the past seven games.

Schwartz played in 62 games for the Blues during the 2017-18 season and recorded 59 points (24 goals, 35 assists); he missed 20 games with a fractured right ankle blocking a shot on Dec. 9 against the Detroit Red Wings.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Jordan Kyrou named OHL player of the year

Blues prospect, a 2016 second-round pick, named 
Red Tilton Award winner, led Sarnia with 109 points

ST. LOUIS -- The icing on the cake came for Jordan Kyrou in the form of the Red Tilson Trophy on Thursday as the Ontario Hockey League's Player of the Year.

Now is time for the Blues' second round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft to see if he can hone his craft at the sport's highest level.
(Sarnia Sting photo)
Blues prospect Jordan Kyrou was named the Red Tilson Award winner as
the OHL's Player of the Year on Thursday.

Kyrou, who finished his fourth season with the Sarnia Sting with 109 points (39 goals, 70 assists) in 56 games, won the prestigious award with 235 votes and 40 percent of the first-place votes, ahead of Sault Ste. Marie's Morgan Frost (191 points) and Aaron Luchuk of Barrie (165 points).

Kyrou becomes the first Sting player to win the award and follows Alex DeBrincat (2017), Mitch Marner (2016) and Connor McDavid (2015) as players of the year. 

"I just feel surreal, first off," Kyrou said in a conference call Thursday. "To be named most outstanding player is unbelievable and to have my name next to past recipients who have won this award is incredible. A lot of credit goes to my teammates and coaching staff and the Sting organization. They've done a lot with me over the past four years. I just really want to thank them a lot."

Kyrou, the Sting's captain this past season, became the second draft pick in Blues history (Doug Gilmour, 1983) and the first Sting player to capture the Red Tilson Trophy. His 109 points was third in the league and 70 assists tied for a league high as were his 1.95 points-per-game average while leading Sarnia to its best regular season in franchise history (46 wins, 97 points).

"Just seeing him grow the last three years on and off the ice, his mental part of the game and his growth has really been fun," said Sarnia coach Derian Hatcher, who spent 15 years in the NHL with Minnesota/Dallas, Philadelphia and Detroit. "I think sitting down last summer when Nick and I talked, we had a pretty good idea what we had in Jordan. The fact that he won this award is no surprise to us."

Sting general manager Nick Sinclair said he remembered Kyrou as a 16-year-old when he took part in the team's rookie camp four years ago scoring a goal that fans still talk about.

"Going back to his minor midget draft, he went through a couple key injuries that year and we weren't able to see a lot of him, but in the few times we did see him, he was a special player, someone that stood out with his playmaking abilities that kind of made you sit on the edge of your seat watching and all the electrifying stuff he had as a player," Sinclair said. "We were very fortunate that we were able to draft him four years ago. We thought he had all the makings to eventually be a superstar, not only in the Ontario Hockey League but one of the most elite players in the CHL overall. As excited as fans are when they watch him play, we have the benefit of being able to interact with him and see him on a day to day basis for the last four seasons. ...Watching him evolve over the last four seasons on and off the ice has been something pretty special.

"... Not often do players get drafted by their NHL teams higher than their minor midget drafts."

A 6-foot, 185-pound wing, Kyrou will now make the jump to the pro ranks after exhausting his time spent in the OHL. The 20-year-old will attend training camp in September with every intention of cracking the Blues roster for the 2018-19 season.

(St. Louis Blues photo)
The Blues selected Jordan Kyrou with the 35th
picki in the 2016 NHL Draft.
"I think this past season, I just developed my game a lot in more than one aspect. Just work on the little things in my game and I think that improved a lot. That's one thing that I can take to the next level and to really show that I want to earn a roster spot next season.

"Me and 'Hatch,' we've talked a lot over the past couple years and it's just things you need to work on to make the NHL, little things like winning the battles along the walls, being a lot harder on the puck and being better defensively. I think I've really improved in those little areas on the ice."

Kyrou generated 31 multi-point games and was recognized as OHL Player of the Month twice and the Player of the Week three times. The Toronto, Ontario, native also represented Canada at the 2018 U-20 World Junior Championship, collecting 10 points in seven tournament games and leading the team to a gold medal.

Kyrou finished his OHL career with 290 points in 250 games (99 goals, 191 assists) and a Sarnia franchise record in assists.

A list of previous Red Tilson winners: