The St. Louis Blues have been busy on and off the ice as of late. Some of the news has been gloomy to say the least. By now everyone knows that Tony Twist was involved in a motorcycle accident that has ended his season before it could begin. Hours after being told by GM Larry Pleau that he was not in the Blues plans this year, a car pulled out in front of Tony while he was riding his Harley in a suburb of St. Louis. Among his injuries, ligament damage to his knee will prevent him from playing much, if at all, this season. Blues fans are relieved, however, that his injuries weren’t life threatening. Tony Twist is a prominent figure in the community and is known for his charity work. Even after his accident he followed through on a commitment to attend one of his many charitable events. It has been suggested that the Blues make a compassionate gesture and make Tony an official representative of the St. Louis Blues. Hopefully this negative can be turned into a positive for Blues fans and Twist fans as well.
One story that definitely won’t turn into a positive is the recent arrest of Jim Campbell. Campbell was arrested and charged with driving under the influence after he failed to stop at a flashing red light. He had a blood alcohol level of .15 ( the legal limit in Missouri is .10). Campbell met with Larry Pleau this week to talk about the incident. Pleau said that Campbell is truly embarrassed by his actions and that the arrest would not effect his status with the team. On Thursday Campbell made a formal apology to the Blues. This season is one of importance to the right winger considering his performance last year. Campbell scored just four goals and had season ending surgery that some have said could have waited until after the playoffs. After two successive years of at least twenty goals, the Blues expected a little more in return for the one million dollar contract they rewarded him with last summer. Now it’s safe to say that expectations are at an all time high. Campbell will produce or he won’t be around long.
In other news, the Blues have signed a number of free agents, the majority of which are their own. Jamal Mayers, Chris McAlpine, and Jamie Rivers all resigned with the team, as did Craig Conroy and Pierre Turgeon. The Blues also signed Sylvain Blouin from the Montreal Canadians. Blouin has appeared in 12 NHL games recording no points and 42 penalty minutes. In his 472 career minor league games Blouin has accumulated 2,488 penalty minutes. The Blues hope he can add some toughness,something they now lack with the loss of Tony Twist. However, it’s not a given that he will make the team. Also Roman Turek has signed a two year deal plus an option.
Now that the Blues have signed a few of their own free agents, maybe they will start to look at what other options are on the market. St. Louis is definitely looking for a 3rd or 4th defenseman that can skate well and make a good first pass out of his own zone. If the price was bearable, giving up a draft pick or two for a restricted free agent wouldn’t be a bad idea. Some names that come to mind are Anaheim’s Ruslan Salei, Jay McKee from Buffalo, Mattias Norstrom from LA, and Darius Kasparaitis from Pittsburgh.
The Blues will be participating in a round robin rookie tournament with the Detroit Redwings, Chicago Blackhawks, and Nashville Predators. On display will be Blues prospects Barret Jackman, Didier Tremblay, and Jame Pollock to name just a few. There will also be a number of unsigned youngsters invited to showcase their talents.