Blues trying to keep pace in wild Western Conference race

News-DemocratDecember 5, 2013 

— Even after winning 18 of their first 26 games, before Thursday, it was only good enough to get the Blues to fifth place in the overall Western Conference standings.

Eleven Western Conference teams have 30 or more points, compared to seven in the Eastern Conference. Four Western Conference teams have 40 or more points, compared to none in the East.

"I think we knew that to begin with, especially with our division," Blues winger Chris Stewart said. "We knew it was going to be tough. You can't get caught up looking at the standings every day."

Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said the super-competitive Western Conference makes even short losing streaks extremely bothersome.

"We've known for the last couple years this is a great conference with a lot of good teams," Shattenkirk said. "With the new division (playoff) changes it's going to be a battle all year. A couple games lost and there's a lot of movement."

Happy homecoming

Former Blues center Doug Weight returned to Scottrade Center on Monday as a member of the Islanders coaching staff.

Weight enjoyed his time in St. Louis and also benefited from a 2007 trade from the Blues to Carolina that helped him become part of a Stanley Cup championship.

"If there is any regret, it's here because I think we were good enough to go further," Weight said. "We had some teams that had our number and we had a couple really great opportunities, like 2003 is something that haunts me; getting that (3-1 series lead on Vancouver) and really having the West open up.

"Taking nothing away from Minnesota and Anaheim, that would have been our road to the Stanley Cup. That eats me away and obviously we had trouble beating that red and white team (Detroit) down the road."

Weight was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame earlier this week and his accomplishment was cheered by fans when mentioned Thursday during the game by public address announcer Tom Calhoun.

Weight smiled and waved to the crowd in acknowledgment.

Weight's Blues career spanned from 2001 to 2006 before the trade to Carolina. He returned to St. Louis again in 2006-07.

"I felt I had more to give to this organization in those years, that's for sure," he said. "I was coming off the best hockey I've ever played....this is a great place. It was a great place to play."

Contact reporter Norm Sanders at 239-2454, nsanders@bnd.com or on Twitter @NormSanders

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