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Blues want ‘a goalie coach, not a goalie instructor,’ says Armstrong

May 20, 2014, 12:35 PM EDT

Doug Armstrong AP

In the aftermath of their disappointing first-round playoff exit, the Blues were expected to make some moves — and they have, though mostly in the goaltending department.

The shakeup started two weeks ago, when GM Doug Armstrong announced the club would be parting ways with goalie coach Corey Hirsch, who’d served in that capacity since 2010. That was followed by yesterday’s announcement of a three-year extension for Brian Elliott, a deal that signified the end of Ryan Miller‘s tenure in St. Louis and the beginning of Jake Allen’s ascension to full-time NHL netminder, possibly as the Blues’ No. 1.

Following the Elliott extension, Armstrong said philosophical shift in how the club approaches goaltending wasn’t yet complete, as the new goalie coach would be exactly that — a coach.

“Ken [Hitchcock] wants to make sure we’re getting a goalie coach, not just a goalie instructor,” Armstrong said, per 1120 KMOX radio. “The difference is sometimes you have to say the uncomfortable things as a coach to push and prod players to be their best.

“So what we’re looking for is someone that’s got very strong technical skills, but someone to also push our goalies to be the best they can be.”

It’s important to remember Hitchcock inherited Hirsch, Elliott and Halak upon taking the St. Louis gig three years ago; outside of the Miller acquisition, he’s never really been able to stamp his authority on the goaltending position (and reportedly had beef with Halak at the end of last season.)

It’s a bit simplistic to point at goaltending as the reason for St. Louis’ postseason failures but, at least in the immediate aftermath of the defeat to Chicago, it’s the one area the Blues decided needed fixing.

As for who the Blues might hire to replace Hirsch? Well, in the KMOX interview, Armstrong said one of the reasons he brought Kirk Muller aboard is an assistant coach is that he liked the idea of having an ex-player on staff; in light of that, it’s worth noting former Blues ‘tender Ty Conklin has been the organization’s goalie development coach since 2013, and had his name floated as a potential replacement by the Post-Dispatch two weeks ago.

  1. bcsteele - May 20, 2014 at 12:58 PM

    …and I want a “proven 30+ goal scorer.” Can we get that too?

    I wish but with only Gabo (injury problems), Moulson (is he for real?), and Vanek (likely going to Minny) there isn’t a whole lot of options.

    I could pray that Paul doesn’t re up with the Avs and comes over but I’m not sure much else if available. Could be wrong though…

    • dirtyharry1971mom - May 22, 2014 at 8:29 AM

      If you wouldn’t mind trading Shattenkirk, I’m sure TB would include Tyler Johnson + (they have two 1st rounders, and a bunch of prospects) I’m sure they could find common ground on a trade, If they’d part with Shattenkirk.

      I’m sure it would take a huge return for STL to part with Shattenkirk though, and I’m not sure SY would do want to trade TJ +. The only reason this is even a rumor is because both team could trade an area of strength for an area of need.

  2. hockeyornothing - May 20, 2014 at 1:10 PM

    Ah yep once again Goaltending is critical. Get a good coach for Ells and Allen and once again congrats to Ells – you deserve it!

  3. barkar942 - May 20, 2014 at 2:43 PM

    iS IT JUST ME, OR DOES IT SEEM LIKE WHEN THE NEW OWNERSHIP TOOK OVER AND LET jd GO, THIS TEAM THAT WAS SHOWING TREMENDOUS POTENTIAL WAS

  4. barkar942 - May 20, 2014 at 2:46 PM

    Let’s try again without the caps lock being on.
    Is it just me or does it seem like when the new ownership took over and let JD go, this team that was showing tremendous potential has been slowly unraveling since?
    JD now moves on to Columbus and look at the upsurge there.
    How about it, Blues fans? What’s your take?

  5. rupp246 - May 20, 2014 at 3:06 PM

    Not a blues fan but what they gave up for miller and what they got in return has got to be one of the biggest blunders in hockey history. Go rangers!

  6. jpat2424 - May 20, 2014 at 5:12 PM

    Good luck with all that. Go hawks.

  7. dueman - May 20, 2014 at 5:15 PM

    I’m not so sure that Jake Allen is ready to be a NHL number 1 yet, after losing four straight to the Marlies, and giving up 17 goals in the process.

  8. zinger99 - May 20, 2014 at 5:20 PM

    Well,Ryan Miller is gone so their goaltending situation has improved already.

  9. uscthom78 - May 20, 2014 at 8:50 PM

    It seems to be a disappointing position….if only they had the opportunity to have a goaltender like Ben Bishop…oh wait

  10. hanspard - May 21, 2014 at 10:23 AM

    JD has done a nice job with the Blue Jackets, but he was taking them out of the cellar…and they still are far from a consistent playoff threat. The Blues need some tweaking, but they have a solid roster, the Jackets would love to switch places with the Blues.

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