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St. Louis Blues
Team Page | 2000-2001 Schedule | Roster | 1999-2000 Player Stats
On this page: Comings | Goings | Prospect Watch | Get the Highlighter | Quoteworthy

 
1999-2000 Stat Leaders
Stat  Leader  No. 
Goals  Pavol Demitra  28 
Assists  Chris Pronger  48 
Points  Pavol Demitra  75 
+/-  Chris Pronger  48 
Shots  Al Macinnis  245 
Ice Time (F)  Michal Handzus  17:43 
Ice Time (D)  Chris Pronger  30:14 
Faceoff Pct.  Ron Sutter  54.79% 
Hits  Tyson Nash  193 
PP Pts  Chris Pronger  26 
SH Pts  Michael Handzus 
 

It has been said that one must endure pain before reaping reward. By NHL standards, the New York Islanders, Edmonton Oilers and Detroit Red Wings would epitomize that credo. All climbed the proverbial mountain to the Stanley Cup, only to be dealt a crushing blow before finally winning.

Are the Blues in that category? This year they'll find out. Coming off an abysmal collapse in the first round of the playoffs, St. Louis is determined to prove last year was an aberration. "I think everybody learned something," said goalie Roman Turek. "It can't happen again."

Under Joel Quenneville, the winner of the Jack Adams award as the league's best coach, the Blues kept the core of their team intact. The loss of speedy penalty killer Scott Pellerin to the expansion draft will hurt some, but the additions of F Dallas Drake, D Sean Hill, F Reid Simpson and up-and-comer D Mike Van Ryn more than offset Pellerin's departure.

Once again, St. Louis will challenge for the Central Division crown. To reach the Stanley Cup finals they'll have to first exorcise last year's demons, then get by familiar adversaries Colorado, Dallas and/or Detroit.

For more on the Blues, bookmark this page and check back Wednesday, Oct. 11 for a Sports Illustrated Scouting Report.

BRIGHT SPOTS   GRAY AREAS
  • Chris Pronger's age. The Hart and Norris Trophy winner will turn 26 at season's start, meaning he's only going to continue to get better.
  • The defensive tandem of Pronger and 37-year-old Al MacInnis. When Pronger won the Norris Trophy last season, it marked the second time in NHL history that two different defenseman from the same team won the award in back-to-back years.
  • Depth up front. Lubos Bartecko, Michal Handzus and Jamal Mayers can be trusted in any situation, and the pesky Tyson Nash knows precisely how to get under other players' skin.
  • Quenneville's strategic mind. It took until the playoffs for an opponent (San Jose Sharks) to neutralize St. Louis' bang-it-up-the-boards breakout play, which utilized team speed. Quenneville is an innovator and will adjust.
  •  
  • Psychological torment. The Blues must battle through 82 games and remind themselves of what was lost last season.
  • They need Pierre Turgeon to stay healthy. He hasn't played a full season since 1995-96 (with the Canadiens).
  • Depth at defense. After the top four of Marc Bergevin, Hill, MacInnis and Pronger, the Blues are thin. Jeff Finley and Todd Reirden are adequate, but the Blues need more should MacInnis or Pronger go down.
  • He said repeatedly that he could handle playoff pressure, but Turek didn't play well against the Sharks. His 2.75 GAA and .882 save percentage in the playoffs weren't close to the 1.95 GAA and .912 save percentage he posted during the regular season.
  • Comings
    Player  Pos.  From  Via 
    Dallas Drake  RW  Columbus  Free agent 
    Mike Eastwood  St. Louis  Re-signed 
    Sean Hill  Carolina  Free agent 
    Brent Johnson  St. Louis  Free agent 
    Reed Low  LW  St. Louis  Free agent 
    Chris Murray  RW  Dallas  Free agent 
    Tyson Nash  LW  St. Louis  Re-signed 
    Todd Reirden  St. Louis  Re-signed 
    Dwayne Roloson  Columbus  Free agent 
    Bryce Salvador  St. Louis  Re-signed 
    Reid Simpson  LW  Tampa Bay  Free agent 
    Mike Van Ryn  New Jersey  Free agent  
     
    Goings
    Player  Pos.  To  Via 
    Sylvain Blouin  LW  Montreal  Free agent 
    Jim Campbell  RW  Montreal  Free agent 
    Kelly Chase  RW  Retired    
    Bryan Helmer  Vancouver  Free agent 
    Derek King  Ottawa  Free agent 
    Jamie McLennan  Minnesota  Expansion 
    Scott Pellerin  Minnesota  Expansion 
    Ricard Persson  Ottawa  Free agent 
    Stephane Richer  RW  Washington  Free agent 
     
    Prospect Watch
    Mike Van Ryn, D, 6'2", 195
    Born: May 14, 1979
    Acquired: Signed as a free agent in 2000

    After using a loophole to part ways with the New Jersey Devils, the highly touted Van Ryn took his services to St. Louis. He was an exceptional two-way defenseman at the University of Michigan, able to join the rush or play strong defense. Scouts peg him as a No. 1 or No. 2 defenseman

    Get the Highlighter
    Thurs., Oct. 5 at Phoenix: Season gets underway with a four-game West Coast trip that starts against Coyotes.
    Fri., Oct. 6 at San Jose: The Blues had a long summer to wait for this: their first meeting with the Sharks.
    Tues., Oct. 17 at Detroit: First divisional showdown with rival Red Wings. Is there still something to prove?
    Thurs., Jan. 25 vs. New Jersey: Meeting with Devils should conjure up more negative feelings about last season. Bottom line: New Jersey has what the Blues think should be theirs.
    Sat., April 7 vs. Nashville: Final regular season game against Predators is nothing more than a nuisance.

    Quoteworthy
    "The sick feeling I had after that loss, I don't want to experience that again. I know that the fans don't deserve to experience that again. And neither do the players."
    --Owner Bill Laurie on last season's playoff debacle

    Team-by-team previews compiled by CNNSI.com's Ken Klavon, Jamie MacDonald and Jimmy Traina.


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