By Brian Weidler, "Game Time" Prospect Department
PROSPECT PROMOTIONS / DEMOTIONS:
02-24-12 -- D Ian Cole called up from Peoria (AHL) to St. Louis (NHL). LINK.
02-21-12 -- F T.J. Hensick called up from Peoria (AHL) to St. Louis (NHL). LINK.
02-20-12 -- G Ben Bishop returned to Peoria (AHL) from St. Louis (NHL). LINK.
02-25-12 -- G Ben Bishop traded to Ottawa for a second-round pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. (LINK).
PLAYERS ON SICK CALL:
02-24-12 -- D Jani Hakanpää (Blues Espoo/SM-Liiga) out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury. (LINK, in Finnish).
01-09-12 -- F Jay Barriball and D Jake Gannon (Peoria/AHL) remain on IR with concussions. (LINK).
01-08-12 -- C Jori Lehtera (Sibir Novosibirsk/KHL) out for the season with a broken leg. (LINK).
PLAYERS RETURNED TO DUTY:
None to report this week.
PLAYERS ON SUSPENSION:
None to report this week.
POSTSEASON TOURNEYS LOOM FOR COLLEGE PROSPECTS:
March Madness isn't just for seven-foot slam dunk artists anymore...
The arrival of the third month of the calendar year also brings with it the advent of the postseason tournaments in the NCAA Division I leagues (Hockey East, the ECAC, CCHA, and WCHA). And since the Blues have prospects playing in three of those leagues, this week's "On The Radar" feature zeroes in on the college game.
There are no Blues' prospects currently in Hockey East (where Boston College, BU, Vermont, Maine and others play), but in the ECAC, senior goaltender Paul Karpowich is about to take his final kick at the collegiate can. Karpowich and his Clarkson University Golden Knights, by virtue of a seventh-place finish in the conference at 9-9-4 (15-15-6 overall), will host the tenth-seeded Engineers of RPI in a best-of-three series beginning Friday, Mar. 2.
Fans of the Blues should be watching Karpowich's performance closely, especially since Ben Bishop has just been traded out of the organization. Jake Allen will now assume the starter's role in Peoria, and Karpowich is likely to be signed to an ELC about five minutes after Clarkson plays it's last game (whenever that is), and assigned to AwesomeTown as Jake the Snake's backup.
In the CCHA, legacy prospect Trevor Nill and the Michigan State Spartans (ranked 14th in the USA Today College Hockey poll of Feb. 20, and 13th in the US College Hockey Online poll of the same date) will enjoy a first-round bye thanks to a 14-11-3 conference record (19-13-4 overall) and a fifth-place finish in the 11-team conference. The Spartans will most likely face fourth-seeded Miami (Ohio) in the quarterfinal round that begins Friday, Mar. 9.
Nill is also a senior, and while not a big scorer (2-4-6 in 36 games this year, 6-15-21 in 125 career games at MSU to date), could also find himself in Peoria for the stretch run due to his solid faceoff skills and defensive awareness up front.
Jaden Schwartz of Colorado College (13-12-1 WCHA, 16-14-2 overall, 16th USCHO poll) is, of course, the better-known of the Blues' two WCHA prospects, but Max Tardy of Minnesota-Duluth (16-6-4 WCHA, 22-7-5 overall, 4th in both USA Today and USCHO polls) has the advantage of playing for a team that is solid from top to bottom, and on a bit of a roll in WCHA play right now. The Bulldogs are 5-3-2 in their last ten games, all against conference foes, and swept a pair of games from CC at home this weekend, winning 4-3 in overtime on Friday and handling the Tigers by a 5-2 score on Saturday.
Schwartz and CC currently hold the fifth seed in the WCHA, and will host seventh-seeded Michigan Tech in a two-game set this coming weekend. Tardy and second-seeded UMD will journey to in-state rival St. Cloud, currently seeded eighth in the 12-school league, for a two-game set to close out the regular season on Friday and Saturday.
St. Louis is home to the Blues, both the hockey club and that uniquely American style of music that draws on the sorrows and pain of everyday life.
We're going to change it up a little bit this week and, rather than focus on the lonesome blues, will instead turn to something a little more tangible that we can all relate to.
Since last Monday was President's Day, and since the actual birthday of the greatest president ever -- Mr. Lincoln of Illinois -- was celebrated in the last week, we present this week a tune by Little Walter that pays homage to those little green portraits of Mr. Lincoln, Mr. Washington, Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Jackson, Mr. Grant (also of Illinois), and others.
Have a listen:
We're not playing the lonesome blues today, but as always, this feature is dedicated to someone very special and always on the mind and in the heart of your GTPD.
If you're interested in the blues, check out "Those Lowdown Blues" on the 'Net every Sunday night from 7 to midnight (St. Louis time). Your Game Time Prospect Department heartily endorses this program.
FEATURES THIS WEEK:
Back-to-back 2-1 losses to San Antonio leave the Rivermen on the AHL playoff bubble, and it's now Jake Allen's job to make sure the bubble doesn't break. Details at 2:00 PM Central Time.
Rattie breaks 100, but drops to third in WHL scoring race. Slim pickin's for the Fab Five elswhere in the organ-I-zation this week. Details at 3:00 PM Central Time.
The most complete weekly source of Blues' prospect scoring and goaltending stats available anywhere in one place on the Internet. Details at 4:00 PM Central Time.