Blues ink Shattenkirk to long-term deal

St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk was set to become a restricted free agent on July 5. That won’t be happening as the Blues signed the 24-year-old blueliner to a four-year, $17 million contract extension Wednesday, the club announced. 

The announcement came on the heels of forward Patrik Berglund’s one-year, $3.25 million deal on Tuesday.

“So excited to be a part of this Blues’ team for the next (four) years,” Shattenkirk tweeted. “Grateful for the opportunity and happy to be back with the boys.”

Shattenkirk began his career in Colorado before being traded to St. Louis in 2011 in exchange for Erik Johnson. Since then, Shattenkirk has been a consistent force on the backend for the Blues. He played in 26 games after arriving in St. Louis in 2010-11, and notched 17 points, including a pair of goals and 15 helpers to boot. In 2011-12, Shattenkirk recorded nine goals, 34 assists and was a plus-20 in 81 games. Moreover, he averaged 21:36 of ice time per game. During the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, Shattenkirk tallied five goals and added 18 assists and was a plus-2, tying him for the 24th most points in the league among defensemen. He also averaged over 21-minutes of ice time for the second straight season.

“He’s been an interesting three-year study because his numbers have almost stayed flat across the board for three years,” Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said recently, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “There hasn’t been a spike in his second year, or a decrease in his second or third year. He’s been almost the same player from his first year pro to his third year pro. I look at that as a real positive, that he’s defining himself relatively quickly.”

Armstrong nailed it right on the head. This was a signature move by Armstrong and the rest of the front office, one that shows confidence in the future of this organization. With Shattenkirk and Berglund signed, the Blues must now turn their attention to negotiating long-term commitments with forward Chris Stewart, who netted 18 goals last season and cornerstone defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.

 

 

 

Former Patriots Tight End Aaron Hernandez Charged With Murder; Could He Walk Free?

Police have charged former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez with murder and five counts of gun-related charges in the death of former semi-pro football player, Odin Lloyd, whose body was discovered in an industrial park about a mile from Hernandez’s home, according to ESPN.com.

The facts are blunt; there is enough evidence present to convict Hernandez twice. That said, I wouldn’t find it overly shocking if Hernandez walks scotch free after his yet-to-be-determined trial. Don’t get my wrong, I’m not saying Hernandez should get off with a slap on the wrist. Justice deserves to take its course. But this kind of thing isn’t new to the world of professional sports, nor society.

In 1994, O.J. Simpson walked after being charged with the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Lyle Goldman. In 1998, former St. Louis Rams defensive end Leonard Little killed a woman after an alcohol-related accident. Six years later, Little was arrested again for drunk driving. Little walked free. Two-time Super Bowl champion Ray Lewis was proven innocent of murder and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and testified against two co-defendants in 2000.

In a more popular and widespread case, Casey Anthony got off the hook after being charged with killing her own child in June 2011.

Rehashing the past, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Hernandez walk free, especially in today’s day and age. However, for now, it appears Hernandez, who has pleaded not guilty, is in a world of hurt.

Hernandez, who signed a long-term deal worth nearly $40 million last summer, was released by the Patriots early Wednesday morning.