Jamie Langenbrunner on his expectations for his new team, the St. Louis Blues…A look at which Eastern Conference teams improved, and which didn’t, this off-season…Jamal Mayers on his role with the Chicago Balckhawks…Canucks defenseman Chris Tanev’s path to the NHL…Former Blackhawks Jordan Hendry gets a tryout with the Wild.
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH: Jeremy Rutherford reports former New Jersey Devil and Dallas Star forward Jamie Langenbrunner feels “rejuvenated” after signing a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Blues. Langenbrunner is slotted into the club’s third line and scheduled to be on its penalty kill unit, and feels he can help the young team take the next step toward playoff contention.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues signed Langenbrunner and another former Devil, Jason Arnott, to bring leadership and experience to their lineup. Should be interesting to see what kind of impact they’ll have on that team throughout this season.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Red Fisher offered up his take on which teams improved and which didn’t in the Eastern Conference. Despite the Canadiens losing Roman Hamrlik, James Wisniewski and Jeff Halpern, Fisher ranks the Habs “winners” for bringing in winger Erik Cole. He also believes the Philadelphia Flyers have taken a huge gamble by giving up offense to add goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. He also considers the Buffalo Sabres a much better team.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: True, the Habs lost Hamrlik and Wisniewski, but with a healthy Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges, the rise of young blueline star P.K. Subban, and the anticipated debut of Russian defenseman Alexei Yemelin, they can probably afford those losses. I also concur with Fisher’s take on the Sabres and Flyers.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Chris Kuc reports nomadic forward Jamal Mayers acknowledged the difficulty in uprooting his family as often as he has in recent years (five teams in five years, including his new club, the Blackhawks) in pursuit of a Stanley Cup. Mayers, in the twilight of his NHL career, acknowledged he’ll be expected to “create energy, be physical, use my speed and put some pressure on the other team’s defense.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: At 36, this could likely be Mayers’ last season, and his last chance, to play for a Cup contender.
TORONTO SUN: Dave Feschuk reports on Vancouver Canucks defenseman Chris Tanev’s difficult path to the NHL, which included spending two years playing roller hockey, and how his poise proved to be the asset which landed him on the Canucks lineup during their run to the Cup Final this spring.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tanev’s story is an inspirational one for youngsters who fear they might not be talented enough or big enough to play at the NHL level.
TSN.CA: reports former Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Jordan Hendry has accepted a tryout offer from the Minnesota Wild.