St. Louis Blues Lockout News: More Players Go Overseas As Lockout Drags On

The Blues are seeing some of their top players head overseas, such as Patrik Berglund and Vladimir Tarasenko.

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NHL officially withdraws last CBA offer

Not that this is a shock, but the last CBA offer that the NHLPA refused to sign has been withdrawn. Get ready for a shortened hockey season.


Should the NHL try for an 82 game season?

The NHL has said that a CBA needs to get approved by this Thursday if teams want to play 82 games this season. With time ticking away, is an 82 game schedule really even safe?


David Backes not optimistic any more over CBA.

Remember the story I wrote earlier today regarding how David Backes is cautiously optimistic regarding the NHL and NHLPA reaching a deal on a new CBA? Never mind. From a Backes tweet to Pierre LeBrun, according to TSN, comes this parade rainer-oner:

"We feel our newest proposal took a great step towards getting a deal done. It's too bad the owners don't feel that way and I fear that we may miss an extended amount of time now."

Fantastic. The issue is how the NHLPA proposes getting to the 50/50 revenue sharing split that the owners want. The Players' Association presented three different scenarios as to how to get to that point: gradual reductions over three years, five years, and an automatic switch to 50/50 if the NHL agrees to honor the contracts signed under the last CBA.

Gary Bettman was "disappointed" again today. How a lawyer can be disappointed with a request from people to have contracts honored is beyond me.


Vladimir Tarasenko suffers concussion

This is exactly what every NHL fan fears when their teams' players head overseas. What happens if one of their players gets hurt? How is that handled? Will they get the medical care they need, and will they be playing with the team this (or whenever) season?

Unfortunately, the Blues will be dealing with that concerning Vladimir Tarasenko, one of the most anticipated prospects in recent memory. Tarasenko was concussed Saturday while playing in a game for SKA St. Petersburg, and according to that team's doctors, will be out a week. It's a concussion, though -- a week can turn into six months pretty easily. Props to the KHL for responding quickly, but this is still something that will be concerning the Blues and their fans until word comes out of Russia that Tarasenko is lacing up the skates again. Here's to a speedy, but safe, recovery for Tank.


Backes, McDonald offer thoughts on NHL lockout

As the first two weeks of the season fall victim to the NHL lockout, players are seeming less and less optimistic that the end will be happening any time soon.


NHL Cancels First Two Weeks Of Games

Fans knew that this was coming. NHL games through the first two weeks of the season have fallen victim to the lockout.


NHL Cancels Remaining Preseason Games

This was kind of a forgone conclusion, but the NHL has officially canceled their remaining preseason games. Fair well, Barclays Center matchup. Ta ta, Kansas City game. And any other Blues games at home you wanted to see? Fat chance. What's the next step for the league? Cancellation of regular season games, of course! With opening night a scant two weeks away and no end to the lockout even remotely on the horizon, keep your eyes and ears peeled for that news to come out of the front offices shortly.

I know a good many people are throwing their hands up and going "who cares". That's understandable, but it's still lost income for teams and lost pay for people who work the preseason games. It's also a missed chance to see the team's prospects fight for roster spots that most will not get. It's these kids' only chance to wear the Bluenote in Scottrade this season probably (or at least until the Blues' top six forwards are hurt) and the lockout's deprived them of that chance to do so.

The Blues are set to open the season on October 12th against the Colorado Avalanche. That is to be a televised game on the NBC Sports Network. Well, it is in theory. Whether it actually will be televised or not is another story.


NHL Lockout: Vladimir Tarasenko's Deal With SKA St. Petersburg Falls Through, Will Report To Peoria

Well, this was unexpected. As my friend David Rogers posted over at The Blue Note Zone, Blues’ prospect Vladimir Tarasenko’s deal with SKA St. Petersburg has hit a snag. And by snag, I mean he’ll be in Peoria instead unless SKA trades Tarasenko’s rights.

Tarasenko’s agent apparently made demands that weren’t particularly pleasing to the management of SKA, which might mean that they wanted his ice time to go up. As one of the Blues’ top prospects that could benefit greatly from top minutes against top competition, it’s probably for the best that he go down to Peoria and play on the Rivermen’s top line. The competition in the AHL this year will be much more difficult than usual with the influx of regular but young NHLers, and Tarasenko could use the practice.


NHL Lockout: League Cancels All Preseason Games Through September 30

The NHL has announced the cancellation of 61 games across the league because of the ongoing labor dispute with the NHLPA.


Vladimir Tarasenko To Play With SKA St. Petersburg, Ilya Kovalchuk

This really shouldn’t shock anyone, should it? If you have to choose between playing in the AHL and playing with Ilya Kovalchuk and Maxim Afinogenov, who do you pick? Young Blues standout Vladimir Tarasenko chose to return to the KHL and the team on which he racked up 25 points in 30 games, SKA St. Petersburg. According to R-Sport, Tarasenko will be heading to the already impressively stacked team, who are in the KHL what the Pittsburgh Penguins are to the NHL. They’re the league’s premiere franchise with some of the top players, and now they’ve re-added one of the best to the fold.

The question remains: will Tarasenko return to St. Louis? Well, he didn’t have to come here to begin with, so the Blues do have that working in their favor. Kovalchuk won’t hang around after the lockout, either, and Tarasenko still will probably like to have the chance to play in a league with consistent top-tier talent. Regardless of the strides that the KHL has made recently, top-tier still means NHL.


Blues Re-Sign T.J. Oshie To Five-Year Deal, Avoid Arbitration

The Blues and forward T.J. Oshie were both hopeful that they could get some sort of a deal worked out before the end of the month, and before Oshie was set to meet with an arbitrator over his salary. I had predicted the deal would be around what David Perron's four year, $15.25 million deal was, but the Blues saw that and raised Osh a year and a few bucks:

Not half bad for Oshie. This deal comes on the heels of a one year, "show us what you got" style of deal. Oshie showed the Blues 19 goals and 35 assists, which apparently translated into a nearly $2 million pay raise per year. The thing is, $4.175,000 is a lot of money for someone who has never cracked 20 goals in his career. Oshie's matured -- you can't argue with that -- but his points and his new salary don't mesh. He brings a lot to the game and is a vital part of the Blues, but it's a tiny bit of an overpayment.

Of course, when you have a team that is a little under $17 million under the cap with 23 players signed, you have money to burn.


David Perron Signs Four-Year, $15.25 Million Contract Extension With St. Louis Blues

There were three major RFAs that the Blues needed to take care of this summer, and two of them are inked. Chris Stewart signed a one year deal several weeks ago, and today the Blues avoided arbitration by signing key forward David Perron to a four year, $15.25 million contract extension. Terms of the contract are as follows:

Not half bad. Perron, who was drafted 26th overall in 2007, has made quite a career for himself with the Blues despite missing two thirds of 2010-2011 and a decent portion of last season due to a concussion. He has 173 points in 292 games, and played portions of last season on both the top and second line. He finished second in goals behind captain David Backes with 21 despite not starting his season until 25 games in.

The Blues' remaining big RFA is TJ Oshie, who intends to file for arbitration today if a deal cannot be reached for the team. That ensures that he should be with the team for either one or two more seasons, though the Blues would probably like to sign the forward to a longer contract.


Blues Sign Jack Adams Winning Coach Ken Hitchcock To Contract Extension

It was practically a no-brainer for Blues’ GM Doug Armstrong to re-sign Ken Hitchcock. WIthout firing former coach Davis Payne and bringing Hitchcock aboard, there’s a chance that Armstrong doesn’t win GM of the year, and there’s an even bigger chance that the Blues don’t finish the season second in the Western Conference.

Hitchcock has been re-upped through the 2013-2014 season, with an option for the following year. Hitchcock, is just the sixth coach to lead the Blues to a 100 point season, and this year’s was the first in over a decade.

Said Hitch regarding the extension:

“Regardless of what happens in a few years, I want to stick around for a long time. This is it for me. This is my last stop,” Hitchcock said. "I want this to be a successful franchise for the next 10 or 15 years, and I want to be part of it even if I’m not coaching. "

Someone’s bought into what Doug Armstrong’s preaching, and it’s not just Hitchcock. It should be the fans, as well. With that level of determination from a coach as good as Hitch, bright things are in the future.


St. Louis Blues Showing Interest In Florida Panthers' Defenseman Jason Garrison

The Blues have made no secret that they’d like to add some defensive depth in the top four, spelling the end of the Carlo Colaiacovo/Mr. Bill of defensemen era. The top four for right now has a bit of a hole on it next to Alex Pietrangelo, assuming that Barret Jackman sticks with being paired with Kevin Shattenkirk. The Blues need a guy with a big shot for the power play, and one that’s responsible. Will they trade for one? Absolutely. Would it be even better to not lose any assets and acquire one during free agency come July 1st? Of course.

Florida Panthers’ defenseman Jason Garrison will be a UFA, and although the Panthers would more than likely like to retain his rights, the blueliner is on the Blues’ radar. He could do well on the power play, which took the better part of half of last season (or longer) to become effective.

Garrison, who has only played for the Panthers, had 16 goals and 17 assists last season and finished the year a respectable +6. In the playoffs he had a goal and two assists, and finished a -2.


Blues Re-Sign Defenseman Barret Jackman To Three Year Contract Extension

The Blues’ve gotten a bit of a jump this season in securing their free agents. First they re-up RFA Chris Stewart to a one year deal, and now they’ve fixed their sights on the blue line. Long time Blues defenseman Barret Jackman, who was their first overall pick in 1999 and won the Calder Trophy in 2003, besting Rick Nash and Henrik Zetterberg.

After the season ended, Jackman said that he would prefer to stay with the Blues rather than test free-agency, saying that he’s “pretty much grown up in St. Louis.” Instead of seizing on the chance to play elsewhere then retire in St. Louis like so many former Blues, Barret Jackman’ll be around for a while.

The Blues had a choice — re-sign someone who knows the system already and who has proven himself to be a leader on or off the ice, or go out and sign someone else who does the exact same thing as Jackman. Why not go with the guy who wants to stay with the only team that he’s known? Despite a poor showing in the playoffs, Jackman finished the 2011-2012 season with a +20 rating.

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