Over the past week the St. Louis Blues have been quite busy like most NHL teams at the start of the preseason. The Blues opened training camp on September 16th at the St. Louis Mills Mall and treated fans to some exciting drills and endurance testing. After 4 days of training and some scrimmages the Blues opened up the preseason at home on the 20th against the Tampa Bay Lighnting.
The Blues got the preseason underway the right way as they opened up with an impressive 3-1 victory albeit it against a Lightning team missing most of its stars. Brian Elliot started in net for the Note and played the entire game as per Coach Payne’s plans. Elliot stopped 21 of Tampa’s 22 shots and theoal was scored on a well executed power play in the second period.
The Blues opened the scoring in the first when Evgeni Grachev, acquired from the Rangers on draft day, stuffed home a rebound off a Jamie Langenbrunner shot on a Blues power play. After Tampa tied it in the second, Matt D’Agostini got his first goal of the preseason to put the Blues up for good at 2-1. Grachev added an empty net goal at the end of an impressive first game in St. Louis.
Last night the Blues once again faced the Lightning, this time in Orlando, and the Blues pulled off the victory once again by a score of 4-3. Tampa inserted stars like Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis into the lineup for this game but it just wasn’t enough.
Ben Bishop started in net for the Blues this time and had a very good game for who he had to face. Bishop made 21 saves, like Elliot the night before, but gave up three power play goals. While Bishop did give up more goals than Elliot, the fact that he faced superior players slightly makes up for the difference.
The Blues went up 1-0 in the first on Nikita Nikitin’s first preseason goal and the lead would stand into the second period. Tampa answered with a power play goal by Marc-Andre Bergeron to tie the score but Ian Cole snuck a power play goalie past Jaroslav Janus near the end of the period for a 2-1 lead.
Early in the third, the Lightning tied the game at 2 but yet again the Blues had an answer. Chris Stewart put the Blues up 3-2 midway through the 3rd and it looked like that would stand as the winner. But former Blues Captain Eric Brewer couldn’t let his old team leave like that, and on a Tampa power play ripped a shot by Bishop for a tie game.
With roughly two and half to go in the third Adam Cracknell, fighting for a spot on the roster, got clear in the offensive zone and was able to notch the game winning goal for the Blues.
The Blues are now 2-0 in the preseason and will conitnue their 5 games in 5 nights tour with a home game against Minnesota tonight. A few Blues will make their first appearance of season tonight including TJ Oshie, Jason Arnott, and Jaroslav Halak. The game airs at 7 pm tonight on 1120 KMOX. The line combinations are as follows:
The Blues assigned three players back to their minor league teams today. Forward Cody Beach was sent back to Moose Jaw of the WHL, defensemen Brock Beukeboom was sent to Sault Ste. Marie of the OHL with a back injury, and goalie Jordan Binnington was sent to Owen Sound also of the OHL.
Finally, the rumors have been circulating in the last few days about a rejected bid put up for the Blues. According to multiple sources, Canadian businessman Max Chambers submitted a bid to Dave Checketts and Game Plan LLC for the puchase of the Blues. The offer was $167 million in cash but was rejected due to Checketts countering with a $190 price tag. While the offer was rejected, according to Chambers it is still on the table for the next week if Game Plan changes its mind.
Chambers’s group is headlined by former NHL star Bryan Trottier and Chambers has stated that Trottier hand picked the Blues as a team who he can see winning a championship soon. Fans are up in arms that Checketts rejected the offer and it remains to be seen if this team really will sell by the start of the season.