Ever wonder what the NHL's quaintly named year-end trophies look
like? Call the Blues, they'll know. Last year St. Louis earned
the Presidents' Trophy for having the league's best record
(51-20-11-1) and won the Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest
goals (165). Defenseman Chris Pronger took both the Hart (MVP)
and Norris (best defenseman) Trophies. Right wing Pavol Demitra
got the Lady Byng Trophy for being the NHL's most sportsmanlike
player and Joel Quenneville won the Jack Adams Award as the Coach
of the Year. Yet when looking back on the season of shining
accomplishment, center Michal Handzus, who was a finalist for the
Selke Trophy as the top defensive forward, says, "The playoffs
were very bad. I want to forget."

Never mind the baubles; the lingering memory in St. Louis is of
the eighth-seeded Sharks manhandling the No. 1 Blues in a
seven-game first-round upset. That devastating loss may be just
what St. Louis needed: Several recent Stanley Cup winners had
endured a playoff humiliation in the year before their
championships. A little misery, it seems, can give a team a
mission. "There's a bitter taste in our mouths," says
Quenneville. "Winning one round is not going to satisfy me.
Neither is winning two rounds. We want to win the Stanley Cup."

The Blues certainly have a shot, especially after the off-season
acquisitions of hard-nosed right wing Dallas Drake and
well-rounded defenseman Sean Hill. With Pronger and Al MacInnis
returning as the best blue line combination in the league and
with game-breakers Demitra (75 points in 71 games) and center
Pierre Turgeon (66 points in 52 matches) leading a deep group of
two-way forwards, the Blues find themselves with only the most
superfluous of needs: They could use a sixth defenseman and a
proven backup to workhorse goalie Roman Turek, who was 42-15-9
with a 1.95 goals-against average in his first season as a

Turek, more than anyone, must evolve from last April's playoff
implosion. The 30-year-old former Stars backup was among the
NHL's best regular-season goalies (you guessed it--he was a
finalist for the Vezina Trophy), but he suddenly couldn't stop
the soft ones against the Sharks. A better postseason
performance this season wouldn't impact Turek's chances for the
Vezina, but it would go a long way toward garnering the one
trophy the Blues are really after.


Fast Fact
Al MacInnis (1999) and Chris Pronger (2000) became the first
teammates to win the Norris Trophy in consecutive seasons since
the Canadiens' Tom Johnson ('59) and Doug Harvey ('60).



FORWARDS 6 Skill level and speed make them

DEFENSE 1 MVP Pronger gets help from MacInnis and

GOALTENDING 6 Turek needs to come up big in big games

SPECIAL TEAMS 1 Turgeon and Young lethal on power play

MANAGEMENT 2 Quenneville and G.M. Pleau are top
talent evaluators