Week one of camp has come and gone. Veterans rehearsed and rookies auditioned and the atmosphere was competitive. Yes, this Blues assortment was like no other. Never has there been such talent present nor emotion visible in camps prior to this one. Chris Pronger, not exactly what one would call happy-go-lucky, displayed his temper on many occasions. And Geoff Courtnall expressed his displeasure with one such rookie’s idea of a “good” check. Then there are the invitees, wide eyed and raring to go. They’ll do anything and everything to capture the eyes of the coaches and scouts. Yes, even dropping the gloves with Prongs. At which Joel Quenneville must have been holding his breath and saying, just turtle Chris. Now that week one has come to a close, let’s evaluate the Blues young players of the future.
The St. Louis “baby blues”, after beating the Red Wings 5-3, will now face Nashville in the rookie tournament championship game. This is a chance to avenge last years surprising loss to the Pred’s in the final. However, this group of Blues propects seems to be a more talented group from top to bottom. Everyone has contributed to the success of this years team. In game three the Blues used timely scoring to do in Detroit. Down 1-0 early, St. Louis scored the next three goals. Jame Pollock had a goal and an assist and Marc Brown had two goals, including the game winner, to lead the way. Jeremy Reich chipped in with two assists. Trevor Wasyluk scored his second goal of the tournament to seal the victory. Overall it was a strong team effort and the youngsters have confidence going in to the final against Nashville. Stay tuned for the dramatic finish to this tournament and a summary of who did well and who disappointed in Traverse City, Michigan.
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.
The Blues gave some insight as to who they think are the top prospects in the organization. Fifteen players were selected to attend a camp designed to raise fitness awareness and inform the youngsters of the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Those in attendance included Daniel Corso, Brent Johnson, Jan Horacek, Reed Low, Maxim Linnik, Jame Pollock, Tyler Rennette, Didier Tremblay, Brad Twordik, Cody Rudkowsky, Matt Smith, Jamie Thompson, and Jason Widmer.
Players present from this years draft class were Barret Jackman and Chad Starling. The three day mini-camp focused on weight training, speed development, dietary programs, media relations orientation, and drug and alcohol awareness. This off-ice program is something the Blues believe is a good investment. So many players are drafted and then are expected to develop into professional athletes without any direction or support from the organizations that own their rights. Larry Pleau implemented this plan a year ago and only good things have resulted. Top players not in camp were Christian Backman, Ladislav Nagy, and Andrei Podkonicky