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Blues Will Wait To Hear From Aaron Palushaj

March 27, 2009, 12:34 PM ET [ Comments]
Andy Strickland
St Louis Blues Blogger •1380 ESPN • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Blues will wait to hear from Michigan standout Sophomore Aaron Palushaj to hear if he is interested in leaving school early to pursue a professional hockey career.

The team is not permitted to contact NCAA student athletes.

Palushaj, a 2007 2nd round pick, is a skilled player who the Blues could be interested in bringing to Peoria to finish out the season. The Blues have signed several prospects in the past to Amateur Tryout Contracts.

Palushaj finished the year scoring 50 points in 39 games. He also represented USA at the World Jr. Championships.

If Palushaj feels he's ready to make the jump he will contact the Blues probably no later than Monday. Considering Michigan just got bounced from the NCAA tournament it's understandable if the kid needs a little time to sit back and let the dust settle.

Contracts can always be a stumbling block so it's never a guarantee that a deal can get get done although I don't see this becoming an issue.

Look for more news on Palushaj this Monday.

Michigan free agent forward Travis Turnbull has received interest from several teams including the Blues.

Turnbull will obviously look to join an organization with the least amount of young talent at the AHL level.

Of course he is looking for an NHL deal but my sources tell me the Blues have only expressed interest in signing Turnbull to an American League contract.

Turnbull has received some NHL interest from at least two other clubs. His dad Perry played for several NHL teams including the Blues. Travis is a native of St. Louis.

No lineup changes are expected tonight when St. Louis faces Columbus.

Earlier story.....

I was sitting in the press box Thursday night just observing the madhouse Scottrade Center has turned into the last week or so.

It’s good to see the excitement back in the old barn.

The Blues have pretty much been getting good crowds dating back to the latter part of the 06-07 season, but the scene on Thursday night was nuts.

This is what I remember covering NHL games in late March feeling like.

It helps when T. J. Oshie plays for the home team.

I remember writing how Dave Checketts, John Davidson, and company were inheriting an absolute mess left behind by the previous regime.

Little did anybody know they were also inheriting “The Second Coming”!

Oshie has the potential to own the city of St. Louis in the next few years.

The scariest part is that this kid is just getting started.

The town is going crazy over this kid, the Blues have sold more Oshie jerseys than any other player and he is quickly emerging as a franchise player.

You rarely win championships in professional sports without superstar players and the Blues are on their way to having three or four of them led by this kid from Warroad, Minnesota.

Thursday night was one of the greatest individual performances we have seen by a Blues player in a long, long time. His teammates are is aw, kids worship him, men want to be him, and women are drooling over him.

Did I really just say that?

It’s true though.

Against Vancouver we saw everything that makes Oshie a special player. The hardest thing for a young player to learn in this league is consistency and he brings the ame effort every shitft.

He can impact a hockey game in so many ways.

He flat out crushes guys, he can dangle you, or run you over.

I've been hanging around rinks since I was 5 years old and I've never seen a player like him. He hits with the puck!

One teammate calls him a younger version of Jeremy Roenick but better while another says he reminds him of Peter Forsberg.

Regardless, he’s T.J. Oshie and the Blues have found a keeper.

The best qualities of Oshie are that he’s a throwback. He’s the ultimate team guy who is respectful of the veterans in the room and whoever raised this kid in hockey deserves a big pat on the back. The leaders on this team like Keith Tkachuk absolutely love this kid.

He’s been taught the right way.

I love watching the tenacity he brings to the ice, he never quits and as a rookie he’s a major part of the Blues late charge for a playoff berth.

His hockey sense and awareness on the ice are off the charts. His ability to delay and change gears on the fly combined with his ridiculous balance and peripheral vision make him a threat every time he hops over the boards.

How many rookies in this league play first unit power play, penalty kill, and plays on a top line?

He’s automatic energy and is giving this organization a face on the ice which was needed in the worst way.

Oshie tells me he tries to emulate Andy McDonald in terms of his ability to make plays with the puck. There are few players in this league who are electrifying and have the ability to beat guys one on one.

It will get tougher for Oshie the more he plays in this league. NHL players are smart and they will begin to learn his tendencies the more they see him. Vancouver has one of the best cores of D-men in the NHL and they were trying to run this kid all night long but he was dancing them. His move at the blue line when he entered the zone was to me the most impressive part of his flat out just dirty goal.

I remember covering the 2005 NHL draft when Oshie was selected 24th overall by St. Louis. TSN mentioned the Blues went “off the wall” with their selection and many criticized Blues assistant GM Jarmo Kekalainen for the pick.

I’ll never forget that day saying to Jarmo that he was taking some heat and he responded by saying “come see me in three years.”

Jarmo told me at the time that very few players have the ability to take him out of his seat and he referred to Oshie as a wizard.

Blues scout Mike Antonovich deserves some serious credit for finding this kid. Minnesota is his area and he has found some absolute gems as a Blues scout. Antonovich also is responsible for the Blues drafting David Backes as well. It was him who brought both Oshie and Backes to Kekalainen’s attention.

Antonovich is known as one of the top Minnesota state high school players ever although some accuse him of being too scared to participate in the Blues staff games!

Oshie left the rink early Thursday morning because he was feeling ill. He was prescribed crackers and sleep and felt fine once he returned to the rink and adrenaline took over.

The scary part is that Oshie still has room to grow. Once his determination in the weight room matches his desire level on the ice things could get a little scary. It’s safe to say if he hadn’t missed 25 games he’d be competing with Columbus goaltender Steve Mason for the Calder Trophy.

How long will it be before the Scotttrade Center is located at the corner of Hull and Oshie?

Rink Rats!

Word is several NHL agents are unhappy with the contract Canucks forward Alex Burrows agreed to. What a deal for Vancouver getting a 30 goal scorer for $2 million a season the next four years. The agents I've spoken to say that is under market value and there is some concern it could affect their clients this summer.

Is Warrior Hockey serious by having a stick called the "Kronik" that weighs 420 grams? They also have a gurdle called the Nutt hut, and a stick and gloves called the Johnson and the Stroker respectively. They've also named their system the "Pimps". I actually love their sticks and use one today but their marketing stragetgy is more geared towards skateboarding which I did plenty of back in the day. They are trying just a little too hard to be cool. I wonder if hockey mom's know what they're buying? With the "Kronik Funk" hockey bag they have they should be getting SnoopDogg to represent the products! I'm just sayin yo.

Blues Clues!

Brad Boyes was as dominant as we’ve seen him in a while Thursday night. He can be unbelievable when he’s moving his feet and playing with confidence. He along with Oshie was the best player on the ice Thursday night.

Paul Kariya, Eric Brewer, D.J. King, and Erik Johnson watched the part of Thursday’s game with the Blues owners in their Suite.

Eric Brewer will see the Doctor this week to find out where he is in his recovery following back surgery several weeks ago. It’s been frustrating for Brewer because he feels good but he continues to come up nerve positive in all his tests. His body isn’t working properly and is hoping his nerve irritation decreases.

Erik Johnson has resumed skating after taking several weeks off. He will begin skating three days a week. In his first day back on the ice EJ skated laps, did edge work, and shot a few pucks for about 30 minutes.

Kariya is on his own program. He’s usually already left the rink by the time the Blues arrive on most mornings.

Former Blues forward Shjon Podein is in town visiting his good buddy Dan Hinote.

Hannu Toivonen has signed a two year extension with his pro team in Finland Ilves. No word if there is an out clause in his deal but I have been told legally he could return to the NHL next season. Toivonen will remain Blues property for a few more seasons.

The Blues will be looking for a backup for Mason this summer and it’s obvious Mason is at his best when he knows he’s the clear cut number one goalie.

Don’t be shocked if the Blues were to move D-man Jonas Junland this summer.

The Blues have behind the scenes expressed interest in signing Michigan forward and St. Louis native Travis Turnbull once his season expires. It will likely take an NHL deal to get him signed.

Blues D-man Carlo Colaiacovo is a huge baseball fan and is hoping to take batting practice at Busch stadium after the Blues season is over. Cola comes from a great family and it was good to meet a few of them the past few days including his twin brother Paulo and older brother Marco. Also making the trip down from Toronto was Geno, Ang, and the one and only “Moose”!

The game was completely lopsided early on Thursday until David Perron drew another penalty which certainly settled the game down.

As good as Oshie is some scouts tell me they still believe Patrik Berglund will b an absolute superstar in this league.

How good has the Blues drafting been when you consider Oshie was taken 24th overall, Berglund 25th, and Perron 26th?

I went back to look at my archives and was reminded that a scout told me the day the Blues took Berglund that he would become the steal of the draft at 25 overall.

The hit Oshie put on Dustin Brown last Tuesday was payback for the knee to the pelvic area Brown put on Jay McKee back in the 2006-2007 season. The injury took months for McKee to recover and get back to full strength.

The Blues should know more on former first rounder Lars Eller later today. It’s amazing that the internet is now preventing us from learning the exact injury of a player who skates on a completely different continent. The Blues are saying Eller has an upper body injury!

The Blues physically ran Vancouver out of the building Thursday night. This team has a will to win and you knew after the 2nd period the Blues were not going to lose that game.

I’m happy for Blues President John Davidson and his staff who are being rewarded for sticking to their guns and rebuilding the franchise the right way. That must continue this summer as well.

Join me Monday night at Johnny Mac's sporting goods on Watson rd. this Monday night for a live broadcast of my radio show Blues Buzz. Joining me this Monday night from 6-7 will be fromer Blues forward Scott Mellanby.

More to come,

Andy Strickland

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