#1 ason only to struggle in the second half. von mary123 05.11.2019 06:54

The St. Louis Blues enter this season without carrying a piano on their backs, their first-round elimination of the boogeyman Chicago Blackhawks last spring and subsequent trip to the Western Conference finals a certain measure of playoff accomplishment they had been craving for a long time.Still short of a Stanley Cup finals berth, of course, which their loyal fan base remains hopeful for, but at least the narrative has changed.The new script surrounding this team is that a younger core has taken over, with longtime David Backes moving on to the Boston Bruins in free agency, and clutch veteran winger Troy Brouwer getting an offer he couldnt refuse from the Calgary Flames.The team now belongs to top defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who replaced Backes as captain, but also to Jaden Schwartz,?Alex Steen?and Vladimir Tarasenko. The emergence of forward Robby Fabbri last season as a top-six force also helps mitigate the losses of Backes and Brouwer, as does signing unrestricted free-agent winger David Perron.Life would have been better had Vladimir Sobotka found his way back to St. Louis from the KHL, but more on that later.Theres both an experienced, steady voice behind the bench in longtime coach Ken Hitchcock, but also a fresh one in Mike Yeo, who will officially take over as head coach in 2017-18. Its a bit unusual of a setup, but both coaches seem comfortable with the one-year overlap. For Yeo, its a chance to learn from a man with two lifetimes worth of hockey knowledge.The Blues remain a contender but not without questions.Best new facesPerron and backup goalie Carter Hutton are the most notable additions, the former having begun his career with the Blues and enjoyed productive years there before being traded to the Edmonton Oilers in the summer of 2013, and then making stops with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Anaheim Ducks before returning where it all began for him. He played some of his best hockey in a while last season after joining the Ducks.Dont underestimate the value of Hutton, who pushed Pekka Rinne for starts midway through last season with the Nashville Predators. Hes a good, steady hand behind young anointed starter Jake Allen, who no longer has to share the No. 1 job with Brian Elliott (who was traded to the Calgary Flames).Yeo is probably the most important new face, the former Minnesota Wild head coach lured by the chance to learn from Hitchcock before taking over the Blues by himself in a year.Biggest unknownsWhat happens with top-four blue-liner Kevin Shattenkirk? Hes an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and many thought he would have been traded over the summer -- there were certainly more than a few teams that tried at the June draft in Buffalo -- but here he is starting the season with the Blues. The Blues value his puck-moving skills on the back end and whos to say they wont try to sign him as the season goes on. Or perhaps hes a trade-deadline chip. Or maybe he simply walks away next summer into free agency, but not before the Blues have another deep playoff run. I think the Blues could live with all three scenarios. The bottom line, though, is that it will be a story worth monitoring all season.Does Sobotka figure out an exit from Russia and join the Blues sometime this season? This story has had more twists and turns than a Jason Bourne movie, but the bottom line is that whatever out clause that seemed to exist in Sobotkas KHL contract disappeared last season when he got topped up financially due to a falling ruble. Long story short, if he wants his KHL team to release him to the Blues -- where he has indicated he wants to return after a two-season hiatus -- hes going to have to pay his way out of it. Stay turned. He would be a big-time addition if it ever does happen. With the losses of Backes and Brouwer in particular, Sobotka would bring skill and sandpaper into a top-nine role with the Blues.Center Paul Stastny in the second half last season played his best hockey for the Blues (including 13 points in 20 playoff games) since signing that big contract two years ago. Can he continue that consistent play this season? I think he does.And finally, how does it work all season long between Hitchcock and Yeo? All signs point to a cordial and beneficial arrangement, but its not every day you have this kind of situation. And how do the players respond to the unorthodox setup?Sure thingsSteen is the Blues version of the Chicago Blackhawks Jonathan Toews or Los Angeles Kings Anze Kopitar, the teams most complete two-way player and a guy who never takes a night off. He exudes character. Hes strong on both sides of the puck and never seems to make the wrong decision with it. He can play both center and wing, which adds to his versatility.Superstar winger Tarasenko scored 40 goals last season after scoring 37 the year before. The 24-year-old is just getting better. Does he top countryman Alex Ovechkin for the Rocket Richard Trophy this season? Tarasenko should be motivated by a playoff performance hed rather forget.PredictionI dont think winning the Central matters as much to the Blues as the process of getting ready for another playoff run. I see them comfortably battling for third or fourth with the Blackhawks, and another opportunity to go deep in the spring. Fourth in the Central. Custom Washington Nationals Nike Jerseys . Andreas Johnson had a goal and two assists while Jacob de la Rose also scored for Sweden (2-0-0). Esa Lindell and Rasmus Ristolainen replied for Finland (1-1-0) Lindell opened the scoring for Finland just 41 seconds into the game, but the hosts quickly regained their composure and tied the score less than four minutes later on Wennbergs first of the game. Custom St. Louis Cardinals Nike Jerseys . -- The proud fathers huddled near the Dallas Stars dressing room, smiling, laughing and telling stories while wearing replica green sweaters of their sons team. https://www.custombaseballnikejerseys.com/?tag=custom-chicago-cubs-nike-jerseys . Michell Burger, a woman who lives on an estate next to Pistorius gated community, said she and her husband were awoken by the screams in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 14 last year, when Pistorius killed Reeva Steenkamp by shooting four times through a door in his bathroom. Custom Baseball Jerseys .R. Smith realized how easily basketball can be taken from him, and he wasnt going to take his place in the NBA for granted anymore. Custom Toronto Blue Jays Nike Jerseys . -- There were so many positives from the Orlando Magics first victory of the season that it was hard for coach Jacque Vaughn to stop praising his players. NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Kyle Shurmur threw for a career-high 416 yards, and the Vanderbilt Commodores scored the final 21 points in an upset of No. 24 Tennessee 45-34 Saturday night that erased any doubts they belong in a bowl.The Commodores (6-6, 3-5 Southeastern Conference) earned a bowl berth for the first time since 2013 thanks to their Academic Progress Rate (APR) score before kickoff. Then they went out and turned in the best offensive performance yet in picking up their sixth win this year and improving coach Derek Masons best record in his third season.Vanderbilt scored its most points against an SEC opponent since scoring 49 against Mississippi State on Sept. 25, 1971. The Commodores outgained Tennessee 608-516 in beating the Vols for the third time in five seasons.Tennessee (8-4, 4-4) led 31-24 at halftime after taking a 21-7 lead to open the game. Then the Commodores held the Vols to a field goal in the second half with Aaron Medley banging a 37-yard field goal off the right upright with 6:46 left.Khari Blasingame scored on a 12-yard TD run late in the third quarter, then Vanderbilt linebacker Zach Cunningham hit and stripped Joshua Dobbs of the ball at the end of the third quarter, forcing Tennessees second turnover of the game. That set up a 3-yard TD run by Darrius Sims with 12:15 left that gave Vanderbilt its first lead of the game at 38-34.Alvin Kamara scored three touchdowns for Tennessee within the first 17 minutes as the Vols jumped out to a 21-7 lead. Dobbs completed his first 11 passes and finished with 31 of 34 for 340 yards passing and two TDs.The Volunteers had been gashed on the ground badly, giving up more thaan 400 yards in each of the past two games.dddddddddddd This time, Shurmur picked them apart with the fifth best passing performance in Vanderbilt history to help the Commodores match Tennessees high-powered offense.Ralph Webb, who became Vandys all-time leading scorer in the second quarter , finished off the scoring with a 28-yard TD run with 4:06 left. Webb finished with 116 yards rushing.THE TAKEAWAYTennessee: The Vols got the fast start they had missed so often this season only to struggle in the second half. They came into this game with a chance at a Sugar Bowl berth needing Auburn to lose to Alabama in the Iron Bowl. That happened. Before they could wait to see if Florida lost to Florida State, the Vols couldnt help themselves by beating Vanderbilt. That leaves them waiting to see just which bowl they will be playing.Vanderbilt: The Commodores already had a road win at Georgia this season, but this easily counts as Masons biggest win yet to quiet questions about their program as they prepare to go bowling.Man, Im so excited for these seniors, he said. You know what, they did this. We did this. People said we couldnt get it done.POLL IMPLICATIONSThe Volunteers had just moved back into the Top 25 after three straight wins. This likely drops them right back out.UP NEXTTennessee: Bowl-bound.Vanderbilt: Bowl-bound, and the Commodores had a representative from the Independence Bowl watching their upset of the Vols.---More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25 . ' ' '

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