Category Archives: Wholesale Blues Jerseys

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ST. LOUIS – A day after Oskar Sundqvist returned to the lineup, the St. Louis Blues appear to be on the verge of getting another injured player back.

The Blues assigned forward Austin Poganski to their AHL affiliate in San Antonio on Friday, clearing a roster spot for the potential return of Alexander Steen.

Sundqvist had a goal and an assist in the Blues’ win over Vegas on Thursday, his first game after missing six with a lower-body injury. Steen has been out with a high ankle sprain since Nov. 6. He was placed on injured reserve in the wake of a collision with Oilers forward Alex Chiasson.

Forward Zach Sanford also appears to be nearing a return from an upper-body injury he suffered Saturday against Toronto, but he was not placed on IR and remains on the active roster.

Poganski’s second NHL call-up led to his NHL debut Tuesday in Buffalo. He was on the ice for 5:54 but did not dent the scoresheet. The 23-year-old has 13 points (two goals, 11 assists) in 22 games with the Rampage this season.

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Oskar Sundqvist picked up right where he left off.

After missing the previous six games with a lower-body injury, Sundqvist had a goal and an assist as the St. Louis Blues beat the Vegas Golden Knights 4-2 on Thursday night.

The 25-year-old center kept up his offensive surge, assisting on the Blues’ first goal and scoring their second. Sundqvist had two goals in his last game against Tampa Bay on Nov. 27 before getting hurt.

“I felt good out there,” Sundqvist said. “The lungs weren’t great. I had to keep the shifts short in the third.”

St. Louis coach Craig Berube called Sundqvist an effort player.

“He plays an aggressive game and he attacks,” Berube said. “He doesn’t quit. He wills his way everywhere on the ice. He wills his way through traffic. He wills his way to the net. He wills goals in. That’s what he does.”

Mackenzie MacEachern, Jaden Schwartz and Robert Thomas also scored for the Blues, who snapped a three-game skid. Jordan Binnington made 27 saves after getting pulled from his previous start against Toronto last Saturday when he allowed four goals on 11 shots.

Max Pacioretty and William Carrier had the goals for the Golden Knights, who lost for the third time in four games. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 25 shots in his 820th career game, which tied Sean Burke for 14th on the NHL’s all-time list.

“Lot of missed chances, but we were loose in the second,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “That cost (us) the hockey game.”

The Blues took control with two goals in a 39-second span late in the second period.

Schwartz gave the defending Stanley Cup champions a 3-2 lead with 5:07 left in the frame, ripping home a big rebound off a shot by Brayden Schenn. Thomas made it 4-2 moments later, beating Fleury short side on a shot that deflected off his arm.

“I think everyone thought I was going to pass,” Thomas said. “I kind of was just waiting, saw him slide off the post a little bit and was able to sneak it by him.”

Fleury wanted that one back.

“They put the puck on net,” he said. “Had a lot of bodies there and that fourth one, that’s on me.”

MacEachern gave the Blues a 1-0 lead on a one-timer off Jacob de la Rose’s pass at the 4:52 mark of the first period.

Pacioretty tied it 25 seconds later, putting in his own rebound on a breakaway for his second goal in two games.

Carrier’s first goal in 14 games gave the Golden Knights a 2-1 lead with 7:32 left in the first. Carrier tucked home a rebound of Nate Schmidt’s shot.

“We played probably 30 minutes of good hockey,” Berube said. “Maybe 35, but I’m looking for 60. I’m not trying to be critical up here, but we have to get better.”

Sundqvist tied the game for the Blues at 1:34 of the second, deflecting Alex Pietrangelo’s shot past Fleury for his ninth of the season.

“It feels like I’m in the right spot a lot of times,” Sundqvist said. “At the same time, it’s a really good job by the other guys to get the pucks there. Today it was kind of a lucky goal — it was more like a reaction when Petro shot it there.”

NOTES: The Blues avoided their first four-game streak without a point since February 2018. Earlier this season, St. Louis lost four straight in October but earned points with two overtime losses in that span. … Vegas C Paul Stastny, who played for the Blues from 2014-18, has 30 points (11 goals, 19 assists) in 26 games against his former club. … St. Louis activated Sundqvist (lower body) and assigned LW Nathan Walker to San Antonio of the American Hockey League. … Vegas D Jon Merrill replaced D Nicolas Hague (illness) in the lineup.

Justin Faulk Jersey

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Take a minute and think about it then when you’ve guessed who that is for the St. Louis Blues and then continue reading. If you thought Vince Dunn you’re wrong. Shockingly it’s Justin Faulk. That’s right. Faulker is Mini-Petro.

The St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong surprised us all trading Joel Edmundson to Carolina for Justin Faulk and then signing him to a 7 yr deal worth $6.5 million a season.

The St. Louis Blues when announcing the deal touted Justin Faulk’s power-play goal production and offensive abilities. The trade made sense from the perspective that the Blues were looking for a tried and true power play “quarterback”.

One thing they didn’t take into consideration was if Mark Savard, Craig Berube, and Mike Van Ryn were looking for outside help on the power play. It appears, for now, they weren’t. Leaving Faulk to play in a role he just isn’t suited for.

Faulk has never been a solid defensive player. He has forever been the Carolina Hurricanes fan’s whipping boy.

Faulk has been a minus player despite the offensive production, most of which on the power play. Points be darned if you’re a minus player then you probably aren’t very good on defense. Something the Blues say Pietrangelo is.

Faulk in his defense also played on a Hurricanes team that failed to make the playoffs every season and reached over 90 points as a team once in his career there prior to 2018-19.

So one could argue that Faulk was on losing teams and that the overall team play hurt his numbers whereas Petro played on a lot of winning Blues teams and therefore benefitted where Faulk couldn’t.

Looking at the advanced statistics for Faulk I was surprised to see that Faulk’s Corsi for was 50.2. A score of 50 means you are average.

So 50.2 isn’t changing the game, but I was really surprised that he was even slightly above average. It starts to fall apart in the next few categories.

In the shots through percentage, which measures the number of your shot attempts that go on net, Faulk is at 46.3. Less than half of his shot attempts go on net. Shockingly, Vince Dunn is even worse at 44.9.

Here’s the stat that I know every single Blues fan sees and remembers. Justin Faulk is second on the team in giveaways. I’m sure we all can guess who is first on the team in giveaways. If you’re thinking Alex Pietrangelo you are correct.

I have been trying to come up with a nickname for Faulk. Then it dawned on me. Cardinal Nation has Mini-Pedro so now we Blue Bleeders have Mini-Petro.

It’s fitting. I’ll catch some heat for this I’m sure. Nevertheless, Mini-Petro it is! Faulk to me has done nothing but resemble the worst things in Pietrangelo’s game. At least with Petro, he is contributing to the score sheet regularly and that can be attributed to the time on the powerplay where over half his points have come from.

Give Mini-Petro the same opportunities and he’d maybe do the same thing. Just speculation of course. Pietrangelo’s Corsi for is 50.4 by the way. The one place they differ in advanced stats is their shots through where Petro has a 52.6. Logically that shots through percentage should be higher given you’re playing more minutes with the man advantage.

One other area they differ is +/- where the captain has a 0 and Mini Petro has a -6. What’s my point?

The point is that Doug Armstrong made a trade and signed a guy that given the same opportunities as Alex Pietrangelo offensively can and should replicate the same kind of numbers aside from the +/- category.

This isn’t an article to defend Faulk’s poor play, nor is it an article to bash the captain. Although I did both a little. I am just bringing to light some interesting stats. I am also trying to glean whatever I can from what is potentially going through GM Doug Armstrong’s mind.

Speaking of Dougie, he was at the Colorado Avalanche and Toronto Maple Leafs game the other night. The long-running rumor has been Pietrangelo for William Nylander. It’s been in the rumor mill for what feels like a decade now.

Maybe he isn’t shopping the captain. Maybe he’s shopping Mini-Petro? He could also be shopping back-up Jake Allen since Toronto is in the market for a backup. It’s anyone’s guess why he was there.

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DETROIT – These Detroit Red Wings will avoid being on the inglorious end of team and NHL history, thanks in large part to Robby Fabbri, Filip Zadina and Filip Hronek.

Each young player tallied three points Thursday to lift the Red Wings to a 5-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets at Little Caesars Arena.

The Red Wings (8-22-3) ended their 12-game losing streak (0-10-2), which was two short of the franchise record set in 1981-82 and five shy of the league record.

It was Detroit’s first victory in a month (Nov. 12, 4-3 in overtime at Anaheim).

Fabbri scored two goals and assisted on Zadina’s first of the season. Zadina assisted on both of Fabbri’s goals. Hronek sealed the outcome with an empty-net goal with 1:52 remaining and picked up a pair of assists.

Fabbri continues to pay big dividends after being acquired from St. Louis for fourth-line center Jacob de la Rose on Nov. 6. He has eight goals and 14 points in 16 games with the Red Wings.

Zadina continues to make a case to remain on the NHL roster. He has six points (goal, five assists) in his past five games.

Darren Helm also scored for Detroit. Jonathan Bernier made 26 saves.

Kyle Connor scored twice for Winnipeg (19-11-2), which was 13-3-2 in its past 18 games, including a 5-1 victory over the Red Wings on Tuesday.

The Red Wings were up 3-0 before Connor scored twice in the second period (7:16 and 12:57).

Zadina then scored a huge power-play goal with 23.8 seconds to play in the period, after Anthony Bitetto was called for roughing Adam Erne. Zadina’s shot from the right flank, his sweet spot, went off the post and in past Connor Hellebuyck.

The Red Wings outshot the Jets 14-5 and led 2-0 after the first period, one of their best 20-minute segments in some time.

Helm scored on a breakaway at 7:49, his fifth of the season. Nathan Beaulieu coughed up the puck in the neutral zone and then collided with a linesman.

Fabbri scored his first of the game at 13:47, when his pass attempted deflected in off of Jets defenseman Neal Pionk.

Fabbri scored again at 3:35 of the second when the puck bounced in off of Pionk.

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Injuries and having to participate in multiple overtimes in recent games have worn the St. Louis Blues down considerably. However, the Blues received a huge boost when they signed Troy Brouwer to a one-year deal.

The news couldn’t come at a better time. The Blues need some help offensively if they plan on getting more wins. So, they signed a deal with Brouwer for one year, worth $750,000 after a successful tryout.

Time will tell if this contract pans out, but Brouwer has brought the Blues some production in key moments in the past. One of his, and the team’s, most important goals being a Game 7 winner in the 2016 playoffs that allowed the Blues to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Blues need Brouwer to bring that same kind of clutch production in a big way, especially with key players like Sammy Blais and Vladimir Tarasenko being out. During his 2016 season with the Blues, Brouwer had 18 goals and 21 assists. It will be interesting to see if he can equal or surpass that total.

One-year contracts can be a bit risky, especially if the player in question does not re-sign after and goes to a new team. That said, the Blues need to boost their offense any way and every way they can and for $750,000 dollars, it might just be what they need to make a solid run until the injuries begin to go away.

St. Louis also mitigated their risk by making the contract a two-way deal. That way, if the team gets healthy and they need the cap space, they can send Brouwer to the minors without risk of losing him.

The bad part of this signing is it happened mainly due to the team finding out about Blais’ injury. We thought something might be wrong when he left the ice against Tampa Bay, but nobody figured it would be that long since he finished the game.

Still, the Brouwer signing is great news for a team and a fanbase that needs it most. The Blues still have a lot of the season left to play.

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The St. Louis Blues said forward Sammy Blais will be out at least 10 weeks due to a right wrist injury that requires surgery.

Blais, 23, suffered the injury during the team’s 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

Blais has eight points (five goals, three assists) and 10 penalty minutes in 20 games this season, his third with the team.

With Blais out long term, Alex Steen sidelined with a high ankle sprain until early December and Vladimir Tarasenko expected to miss the rest of the regular season following shoulder surgery, the team on Wednesday signed winger Troy Brouwer to a $750,000, one-year deal.

The 34-year-old Brouwer, who had been practicing with the Blues on a professional tryout, was the team’s choice to sign over Jamie McGinn, who was also brought in for a tryout. A 13-year NHL veteran, Brouwer rejoins the Blues after playing the 2015-16 season in St. Louis.

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TORONTO – Lorsque Hayley Wickenheiser a téléphoné au domicile de ses parents, à Calgary, pour leur annoncer qu’elle venait d’obtenir sa place au Temple de la renommée, la grande dame du hockey attendait une réaction, disons… un peu plus enflammée.

« Nous sommes déjà au courant. Ça fait trois heures que la nouvelle est diffusée en boucle par tous les médias », a répliqué son père Tom.

L’effet-surprise était peut-être passé, voire raté. Mais la fierté de Tom et Marylin grimpait toujours en flèche. Une fierté qui était encore évidente samedi lorsque les parents de la septième femme à faire son entrée au Temple de la renommée étaient assis dans les premières rangées du Grand Hall avec les autres amateurs venus croiser et poser des questions aux nouveaux intronisés.

Unanimement qualifiée de meilleure joueuse de l’histoire du hockey, ce n’était qu’une question de temps avant que Wickenheiser ne vienne rejoindre Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Gordie Howe ou Bobby Orr qui sont ses égaux du côté masculin. Elle fait d’ailleurs son entrée dès sa première année d’admissibilité après l’attente minimale de trois ans imposée après que les candidats eurent disputé leurs dernières saisons en carrière. Une période que les dirigeants du Temple auraient pu écarter comme ils l’ont fait lors de la retraite de Wayne Gretzky tant Wickenheiser a dominé son sport.

Mais bon!

Parce qu’elle vit au même rythme endiablé qu’elle jouait au hockey, Hayley Wickenheiser a troqué son équipement pour un sarrau dès le moment où elle a accroché ses patins. Elle a aussitôt pris la direction de la faculté de médecine de l’Université de Calgary pour y entreprendre les études qui lui permettront de devenir urgentologue.

C’est d’ailleurs parce qu’elle était en pleine simulation de réanimation de patients en arrêt cardio-respiratoire en juin dernier que Wickenheiser a appris trois heures après ses parents et le reste de la planète hockey son invitation à franchir les portes du Temple de la renommée.

Meilleure façon de boucler la boucle

Wickenheiser accueille bien sûr cette invitation avec de grandes doses d’honneur et de fierté. Mais elle l’accueille aussi comme le meilleur moyen de faire le deuil sur sa carrière sensationnelle.

« Lorsque j’ai décidé d’accrocher les patins, je me suis consacrée totalement à ma formation médicale. Je ne me suis jamais vraiment offert une période de transition qui m’aurait permis de faire le point sur ce que j’avais accompli avant de tourner la page pour mieux amorcer ma nouvelle vie. Mon intronisation et toutes les festivités au programme en fin de semaine me permettent de tirer un trait sur ma carrière. Je trouve que ça donne une saveur supplémentaire à tout ce qui m’arrive », expliquait vendredi la plus grande joueuse de hockey de l’histoire.

Née en Saskatchewan en 1978, Hayley Wickenheiser développe rapidement une passion pour le hockey. Une passion qui la propulse sur les mêmes patinoires que les garçons avec qui elle doit en découdre pour avoir la chance de jouer du hockey organisé.

À 15 ans, la cousine de Doug Wickenheiser, premier choix du Canadien et toute première sélection de la cuvée 1980, rejoint des femmes qui deviendront vite ses idoles au sein de l’équipe canadienne. Une équipe dont elle endossera l’uniforme pendant 21 ans. Période au cours de laquelle elle marquera 168 buts, obtiendra 211 passes et récoltera 379 points. Des résultats qui représentent bien sûr des records.

Hommages à France St-Louis et Danielle Goyette

« J’étais une adolescente au milieu d’un groupe de femmes qui jouait pour l’amour du hockey. Elles ne recevaient pas un sou pour jouer. En fait, elles payaient pratiquement de leur poche pour jouer. Ma première grande source d’inspiration a été France St-Louis qui a fait fi des menaces de perdre son emploi d’enseignante pour jouer avec l’équipe canadienne. Elle avait le choix : son travail ou le hockey. Elle a choisi le hockey. Ça m’a toujours impressionné. Inspiré. J’ai aussi eu la chance d’évoluer au sein du même trio que Danielle Goyette qui est la meilleure joueuse de hockey avec qui j’ai évolué ou que j’ai affrontée », a témoigné Hayley Wickenheiser lors de la rencontre avec les partisans, samedi, dans le Grand Hall du Temple de la renommée.

Wickenheiser a reçu la plus belle ovation lors de la présentation des nouveaux intronisés. C’est aussi elle qui a eu droit aux plus beaux témoignages.

« Je suis un fan de hockey depuis toujours et je dois te dire que tu n’es pas seulement ma joueuse préférée, mais mon joueur préféré tout court. Tu m’as fait découvrir le hockey féminin qui, à bien des égards, est beaucoup plus beau que celui qu’on nous offre dans la LNH. Ma femme et moi avons eu quatre filles et nous avons nommé notre troisième Hayley en ton honneur », lui a confié l’un de ses admirateurs.

Cet admirateur lui a ensuite demandé si elle croyait que des femmes pourraient un jour se tailler une place dans la Ligue américaine, voire la LNH.

« J’ai atteint les rangs professionnels en Suède et en Finlande dans des ligues dont le niveau de jeu est au niveau de la Ligue américaine. Sur le plan du talent, de la vision, de la qualité des passes, des tirs et même du patin, je crois qu’il serait possible pour plus de femmes de rivaliser avec des hommes aujourd’hui. Et ce le sera davantage dans le futur. Mais il faut aussi se rendre à l’évidence : regardez la stature des gars qui m’entourent. Regardez la grosseur de leurs mains, de leurs épaules. La force physique joue un rôle important au hockey ce qui rend les comparaisons injustes entre les hommes et les femmes. L’avenir du hockey féminin ne passe pas par des faces à faces avec les hommes », a ensuite plaidé Wickenheiser.

Vers une LNH féminine

Parlant de cet avenir, il passe par où alors que les meilleures joueuses ont simplement décidé de boycotter la plus importante ligue féminine en attente de conditions salariales plus satisfaisantes.

« J’appuie les joueuses dans leur quête de meilleures conditions. Elles sont les meilleures au monde et elles veulent vivre d’une façon décente de leur sport. Je crois que les succès du hockey féminin passent par un regroupement sous la gouverne de la LNH au sein d’une ligue qui regrouperait les meilleures joueuses au monde. Comme la LNH. Je sais que le commissaire Gary Bettman suit le dossier de près. Je sais qu’il est sensible à l’avenir du hockey féminin. C’est un homme intelligent, qui veut réussir. Je suis donc convaincu qu’il prendra le temps nécessaire pour bien analyser la question et trouver les options qui seront les mieux en mesure d’offrir au hockey féminin la plate-forme nécessaire pour que ça fonctionne. »

Le palmarès d’Hayley Wickenheiser dépasse l’entendement. Il dépasse aussi les cadres du hockey alors qu’elle a reçu le titre d’officier de l’Ordre du Canada (2011) en plus d’être élue au sein de la commission des athlètes olympiques en 2014 et de faire partie de la haute direction du comité mis sur pieds à Calgary afin d’obtenir les Jeux paralympiques de 2026.

Sur la glace, Wickenheiser revendique sept médailles d’or et six d’argent au Championnat du monde.

Elle revendique aussi quatre médailles d’or olympiques (2002, 2006, 2010, 2014) et une médaille d’argent obtenue aux Jeux de 1998. Elle a prononcé le serment des athlètes aux Jeux de Vancouver en 2010 en plus d’être porte-drapeau lors des cérémonies d’ouverture des Jeux de Sotchi en 2014. Des Jeux qu’elle a disputés en dépit d’une fracture au pied gauche.

À cette époque, les Canadiennes et les Américaines étaient seules sur les patinoires internationales. La rivalité qui les opposait et leur grand talent étaient sensationnels. Mais le manque de compétition nuisait au rayonnement de leur sport.

Ce qui n’est plus le cas aujourd’hui alors que la Finlande a repoussé le Canada au troisième rang lors du dernier Championnat du monde de hockey féminin.

Une source de satisfaction pour Wickenheiser?

« Je ne me réjouirai jamais du fait que le Canada soit au troisième rang. Mais oui c’est une grande victoire pour le hockey féminin de voir que d’autres nations se sont hissées au rang du Canada et des USA. Notre programme a besoin d’être fouetté un peu. Tout comme le programme de la Suède qui stagne après des années intéressantes. Mais pour moi, le fait de voir de plus en plus de jeunes filles jouer au hockey ailleurs qu’au Canada et aux États-Unis est une très bonne nouvelle. C’est surtout nécessaire pour la survie de mon sport. Quand je jouais dans les rangs professionnels en Finlande, la fille d’un de mes entraîneurs commençait à patiner. Elle n’avait que cinq ans. Aujourd’hui, Matilda Nillson défend les couleurs de la Finlande avec son équipe nationale. Des Matilda Nilsson il y en a de plus de plus dans le hockey féminin. Et ça, c’est certainement un très bel héritage pour moi et toutes les autres femmes qui avons contribué à mettre ce sport à l’avant-plan. Mais il reste encore beaucoup de travail à faire.»

Du travail qu’Hayley Wickenheiser pourrait accepter d’abattre tout en travaillant comme urgentologue et comme membre de l’état-major des Maple Leafs de Toronto au sein de l’équipe de responsables du développement des joueurs.

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Pencil in Oct. 5 as Hockey Night in Corunna.

That evening fans will have a chance to rub shoulders with some greats during an “NHL Alumni Players Hot Stove” at Wellings of Corunna.

The event includes a dinner, panel discussion and meet-and-greets with Chicago Blackhawk great Patrick “Whitey” Stapleton, former Red Wings defenceman and current broadcaster Jason York, and four-time Montreal Canadiens Stanley Cup winner Murray Wilson.

NHL refereeing great Kerry Fraser is moderating the panel discussion. He said the evening will give attendees a unique, behind-the-scenes perspective on Canada’s favourite game.

“Each of us that are participating … we’ve gone through training camps, we’ve had that ‘first game of the season,’ the history of going into old Maple Leaf Gardens or the Montreal Forum,” he told The Journal.

“Fan’s don’t know, they don’t realize. They only see the finished product.”

Fraser comes from a long line of Sarnians who skated their way into the NHL. Before he donned the zebra stripes, he played hockey alongside the likes of Wayne Merrick and Bob Neely.

Fraser was captain of the Sarnia Bees in 1971-72 season, but when it became apparent he wouldn’t make it as a pro player he turned to refereeing.

“I dropped my stick and gloves and decided that I was going to work really hard at becoming a referee, and I didn’t even know the obstacles that were in front of me. I just was going to be the best referee I was going to be.”

He completed a five-day, $250 course and was recruited to an NHL training camp on the condition he get a haircut.

“I had hair over my ears like the Beatles,” he said.

The result was the helmet-head hairstyle that’s been Fraser’s trademark ever since.

Over the next 30 years he laced up for 2,165 NHL matches including 261 playoff games and 12 Stanley Cup finals.

“I had the best seat in the house, being able to rub shoulders and develop relationships with the greats of the game,” he said. “My office was a 200-foot by 85-foot sheet of ice.”

The panel discussion starts at 4 p.m., the Hot Stove meet-and-greet at 5 p.m. and dinner at 6 p.m. A broadcast of the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs game that night will be shown at 7:05 p.m.

Proceeds from the event will support the Lambton Sting AAA hockey club, the Mooretown Flags and Lady Flags, and the Mike Weir Foundation.

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During their illustrious history, the St. Louis Blues have had 26 players wear number 10. Ron Schock was the first player to wear number 10 for the Blues.

Schock spent two seasons with St. Louis, and he is best known for scoring the double OT goal in game seven against the Minnesota North Stars. That goal sent the Blues to the Stanley Cup Finals in their inaugural season.

During the ’90s the Blues had a couple of good players wear the Bluenote with number 10 on the back. They include Dave Lowry; Lowry spent five years with the Blues and played 311 games.

Esa Tikkanen had a brief cup of coffee with the Blues. He played 54 games with the Blues spread out over two years.

Hall of Famer Dale Hawerchuck spent one season with the Blues, first wearing number 12, but after Tikkanen left, he switched back to his familiar number 10.

The 2000s have seen the most successful players wear number 10. Former Captian Dallas Drake wore number 10 during 2001-00 and through the 2006-07 season with the Blues.

Andy Mcdonald spent six years in the Bluenote, Brendan Morrow spent one year, and current Blue Brayden Schenn has spent the last two seasons wearing number 10.

Although all these players have worn number 10, the greatest player to wear number 10 was Wayne Babych. Babych spent six years with the Blues, after being drafted in the first round third overall during the 1978 draft.

During his rookie season with the Blues, Babych would set rookie records (since broken) for goals (27), assists (36), and points (63). Babych was put on a line with a couple of other young players in Bernie Ferderko and Brian Sutter.

Not a bad line to be put on your rookie season, Babych would spend his first two seasons on a line with Ferderko and Sutter but would be moved to the second line in his third season.

The move paid off as he would set his career highs with 54 goals and 96 points. Babych would sign a new four-year contract extension during the offseason, but the extension would not pay off for the Blues.

Babych not only had a cannon of a shot, but he was also a power forward that was not afraid to drop the gloves with some of the biggest heavyweights in the league, which lead to the downfall of his career.

During the preseason after signing his new contract, he dropped the gloves with the toughest player in the league at the time; Jimmy Mann. Before the two could get going, a linesman grabbed Babych by the arm and tore his rotator cuff.

After surgery and a lengthy rehab, Babych was never the same superstar player he was before the injury. This injury would follow him for the rest of his career, and he would never put up the same numbers he had in his first three years.

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Durant sa carrière de 19 ans dans la Ligue nationale de hockey (LNH), l’ancien attaquant du Canadien de Montréal Shayne Corson a affronté une multitude de joueurs redoutables et peu commodes, mais des rivaux beaucoup plus dangereux le guettaient ailleurs.

L’homme de 53 ans a tenu à livrer un message d’espoir au cours d’une entrevue diffusée mardi par le site The Athletic. L’auteur de 693 points en 1156 rencontres du calendrier régulier de la LNH a éprouvé des problèmes de santé mentale pendant la seconde moitié des années 1990 et au début des années 2000, étant aux prises avec une dépression caractérisée par des crises de panique.

Le décès prématuré de son père Paul en 1993, à l’âge de 45 ans, n’a pas aidé la cause. La suite n’a pas été des plus glorieuses pour le hockeyeur qui en a arraché sur la glace au cours de son deuxième séjour avec le Tricolore, de 1996 à 2000. Et durant son passage chez les Maple Leafs de Toronto, de 2000 à 2003, il a broyé du noir d’une toute autre manière. Longtemps, il pensait mourir jeune, une peur qui est apparue à la suite du départ de son père, mort du cancer de l’oesophage.

«Une fois, je n’ai pas dormi pendant 12 nuits. Je craignais trop d’aller au lit, car je croyais ne jamais me réveiller, a-t-il mentionné, affirmant aussi que sa première attaque de panique sérieuse était survenue à l’été 2000. J’assumais ma médicamentation avec de l’Ativan et de l’alcool. [...] C’était un cercle vicieux. Je tournais en rond et ça ne faisait qu’empirer.»

Malgré l’aide de sa famille et de ses proches, dont son beau-frère Darcy Tucker, le patineur nageait en eaux troubles et peinait à s’en sortir. En 2002-2003, il a souffert d’une poussée de colite ulcéreuse, un problème pour lequel il avait reçu un diagnostic à l’âge de 15 ans. Corson a ainsi perdu 25 lb et au plan psychologique, sa chute fut davantage vertigineuse.

«J’étais dans un trou noir et j’allais y rester. C’était la dépression totale, l’anxiété tout au long de la journée, quotidiennement, a-t-il déclaré, tout en admettant avoir eu des pensées suicidaires. À ce stade-là, ça n’allait pas se terminer de la bonne façon sans aide.»

Au milieu d’une série de premier tour face aux Flyers de Philadelphie en 2003, Corson avait décidé de s’éloigner de son équipe et il avait eu droit à une pluie de critiques, certains croyant qu’il était insatisfait de son temps de jeu.

«Ça m’a fait mal plus qu’autre chose. La semaine ayant suivi, cela a rendu ma maladie encore plus difficile à tolérer, car je n’abandonne jamais, comme ce fut le cas toute ma vie, a-t-il émis. Les gens connaissant bien la santé mentale savent que parfois, il faut prendre du recul et obtenir l’aide requise. Vous ne pouvez pas vous concentrer sur rien, sauf vous-même.»

«Je ne pouvais pas jouer et traverser ça sans soutien. J’en avais besoin pour m’en sortir. Aujourd’hui, je suis encore ici et je peux en parler pour aider les gens.»

Appuyé par des professionnels compétents, Corson a repris goût à la vie. Depuis sa retraite annoncée il y a une quinzaine d’années, il profite des bienfaits des traitements auxquels il a droit. Même si ses démons se manifestent occasionnellement, il comprend beaucoup mieux la situation et sait comment demeurer en contrôle. Et le hockey a également eu son mot à dire dans sa progression, puisqu’il participe à divers événements pour des œuvres de charité, incluant un tournoi visant à soutenir les personnes sans domicile fixe.

«Je dois recueillir de l’argent pour une cause à laquelle je crois et cela me permet de jouer, tout en côtoyant des hockeyeurs, a-t-il expliqué. Pour moi, c’est une thérapie.»