Nichol Cleared for Light Contact
Scott Nichol will be carefully watched throughout training camp and the pre-season as he continues to strengthen a surgically repaired shoulder.
Nichol missed 26 games last season while rehabbing a torn labrum. He chose to hold off surgery until after the season as he wanted to be a part of San Jose’s run for a Stanley Cup.
About a week after the season Nichol had the operation and has been verbally cleared for light contact. The organization will likely want to see a written clearance letter here in the near future. Nichol had the surgery performed by a member of the Sharks medical staff.
He plans on practicing throughout camp and expects to eventually see some pre-season action. It appears he’ll be ready to go for the season opener on October 8th.
Nichol will be a nice addition. He’s a small guy but plays an in your face brand of hockey that fits in well with the Blues style of play. The Blues targeted Nichol early in the summer as Doug Armstrong called right away on July 2nd. He’s a quality pro who says he doesn’t back down from anyone. He’s also a quality face-off man who has consistently won 50-60% of his draws throughout his career. That should help a Blues team that finished 28th in the NHL last season in face-off winning percentage. San Jose finished 2nd in the league.
Being a smaller guy he’s rarely going to out-muscle opposing centers which is why his wingers can’t be sleepy on draws. “You have to own the center dot and the wingers helping out have a role in winning face-offs,” says Nichol.
Putting him on a line with B.J. Crombeen and Vladimir Sobotka should be a competitive line to watch not to mention hard to play against.
McRae, Allen shine….
Philip McRae and goaltender Jake Allen were considered the two best players for the Blues during their recent 3rd place finish at the Traverse City prospects tourney. McRae led the tourney in scoring and has the organization believing in his ability to contribute at the NHL level.
Ty Rattie is another player who impressed with his overall skills set and hockey sense offensively. He gets around the ice very easily as well as reads and anticipates and plays nicely. Has a soft set of hands as well.
Cody Beach, who will return to Mosse Jaw for one more year, also drew some nice reviews.
No surprise Andy McDonald and T.J. Oshie came into camp in tremendous shape. McDonald always does and Oshie’s teammates have been raving about him all summer.
Both players won their on-ice conditioning competition for their individual group. McDonald finished with the maximum score.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Matt D’agostini get an opportunity to play with McDonald and David Backes.
That leaves Oshie, Berglund, and Stewart likely to play on a line together.
Alex Steen’s versatility allows him to play almost anywhere. I’m not usually a fan of him playing on the third line but he could be a nice compliment on the left side with Jamie Langenbrunner and Jason Arnott. You could always flip flop oshie and Steen if needed.
Unless you’re maybe Anaheim or Vancouver we see very few offensive lines actually stay together. Coaches spend all summer going over line combinations only to see them change in the opening game.
Gotta love the classy Pavol Demitra tribute on the back of Jaroslav Halak’s goalie mask.
Smart gesture by Philip McRae to switch his number from 38 to 39 in honor of Demitra.
The Blues have 57 players in camp..37 (Canada), 14 (USA), 6 (Europe)
More to come,
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