ST. Ed Jovanovski Jersey . LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues won a franchise record 52 games this season and general manager Doug Armstrong cant help but sum it up as a disappointment. "Were in the winning business and were not winning at the appropriate time of the year," Armstrong said Tuesday. "We have to fix that." The past two playoffs have been a carbon copy for the Blues. In 2013, St. Louis won the first two games against Los Angeles at home and then dropped the next four to the then-defending Stanley Cup champions. This season, St. Louis got the jump on defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago, then again lost four straight to end the season. Armstrong said that this years loss to the Blackhawks was worse. "I felt last year that we were coming off of a year where no one expected us to be good the year before and we wanted to prove that we were a good team," Armstrong said. "I expected us to take it to a higher level this year and the higher level was going to be a consistent regular season followed by a longer playoff run. So, this year, theres a true sense that we have squandered an opportunity and opportunities dont come a lot in this league." While the Blues have been one of the best teams each of the past three regular seasons -- St. Louis had 60 points in a lockout shortened 2012-13 campaign and 109 points in 2011-12 -- it has been a different story in April. Armstrong and coach Ken Hitchcock said that the Blues need to develop a killer instinct if they are to get over their post-season hump. "We werent able to create the gap in Games 3 and 4 and win on the road, which you have to do in the playoffs," Hitchcock said. "Thats the killer instinct that you need to have. We werent able to do it in either series, and it hurts. "Thats everyones responsibility. Mine, Dougs, the players, other coaches, everybody. Thats the part that hurts. We couldnt apply the killer instinct in Games 3 and 4 when we needed to in both years." Several players have been a part of the past three seasons, and figure to be part of the puzzle moving forward: forwards T.J. Oshie, Alexander Steen and David Backes, and defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Pietrangelo. Armstrong said it his responsibility to see if this core group can get to a new level or whether changes are needed. "I look at the regular season success this team has had over the last three years," Armstrong said "I think our point total is probably in the top three or four in the NHL over that time frame. So, were doing some things correctly. But were not doing enough correctly to win in April, May and June. Quite honestly, I got to quit worrying about May. We got to get out of April first and were not doing that." One area that will need to be addressed is goaltending. The Blues thought they had added the final piece when the traded for Ryan Miller just before the deadline. But Miller, who is a free agent, allowed 19 goals against the Blackhawks and his save percentage was just .897. Armstrong said that Jake Allen, who had another strong year in the American Hockey League, will be one of the teams net minders. Who the will partner with Allen is up in the air. "Its a two-way street with Ryan right now," Armstrong said. "He has opportunities. I want to sit and talk with him and get his feelings about our organization. See where he thinks were at, see if he even has any interest in being a St. Louis Blue." Roberto Luongo Jersey . The thunderous cheers quickly changed to an appreciative chant: "Ma-son! Ma-son! Ma-son! Headed to New York with new life, Mason sure earned this curtain call. Alexander Petrovic Jersey . The Mercedes duo of three-time Canadian Grand Prix champion Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg has won all six races to start the season, finishing one-two in the last five.SAN DIEGO -- The best score belonged to Stewart Cink. The best round belonged to Pat Perez. Tiger Woods didnt come close to claiming either Thursday in the Farmers Insurance Open, where the seven-time champion failed to break par in the opening round for first time in his career. Cink ran off three straight birdies late in his round on the easier North Course at Torrey Pines for an 8-under 64. That gave him a one-shot lead over Gary Woodland, who also was on the North, which is more than 600 yards shorter. Perez was on the South Course, host of the 2008 U.S. Open and with greens so firm this year that it felt like a major. Perez had a 67, the best score on the South by two shots, and even more astounding is that he played bogey-free. The South played nearly four shots harder than the North. Woods, making his 2014 debut, failed to birdie any of the par 5s and had to settle for a 72. "Even par is not too bad, but I didnt play the par 5s worth a darn today," Woods said. "Obviously, thats (tantamount) to try to get any kind of scoring on the South Course. Youve got to take care of the par 5s because theres not a lot of holes you can make birdie here. Subsequently, I didnt finish under par." Even at eight shots behind, he wasnt worried about a chance to win at Torrey for the ninth time -- including a U.S. Open. The courses are so different than its difficult to gauge where anyone stands until everyone has had a crack at both courses. The weekend rounds are on the South. "Im going to have to go out there and get it a little bit tomorrow to not be so far behind come Saturday or Sunday," Woods said. Cink did what he was supposed to do. The rough is up on the North, too, so it was important to get the ball in play. He did that, allowing him to take on some pins. "You want to really take advantage of the North Course because it will yield to you a little bit, and the South Course will not," Cink said. "I did a great job of going out there, just playing shot-by-shot, not really getting too caught up in, I have to birdie these holes. As a consequence, I actually made a few birdies and it felt great." Phil Mickelson, meanwhile, felt awful. He was coping with a back locked up on him, unusual for Mickelson because he doesnt have a history of back pain. It got so bad at one point that Mickelson thought about withdrawing from his hometown event, especially after his 4-iron on the par-5 18th at the North Course nearly went out-of-bounds. Mickelson used his short game to make birdie, and then made another birdie on the next hole and he scratched out a 69. "Never thought aboout not starting, but around the turn I thought about maybe taking this week off and seeing if I could get a little bit better," he said. John Vanbiesbrouck Jersey. "I kind of fought through the back nine and gave myself a chance." He described it as a muscular problem and was hopeful treatment would help. Mickelson swung easy on the North. Players have to swing for the fences on the 7,698-yard South Course, where the average score Thursday 74.45. Not many would have predicted a 67 on the South, though Woods wasnt surprised when he heard who did it. "Why? He grew up here," Woods said. "This was his home course. Hes playing it more times than any tour pro certainly." Perez has such a history at Torrey that his father, Tony, continues to announce the players on the first tee at the South Course. And heres even better history -- Perez won a Junior World Championship at Torrey Pines, by beating some Orange County kid named Tiger Woods. "Best day of my life," Perez said. "Ive known him forever. Hes always been great to me. He gives me advice here and there, but to beat him that year was fantastic. ... Ive got to hold onto that, so thats about all that I got over him. But it hurts him. Ill you tell, it hurts him." Perez was joking. He is full of bluster and always fun, a favourite among the players. Thats what made Thursday so enjoyable. The weather was close to perfect, with hang gliders filling the sky left of the fourth fairway on the South. Perez had no bogeys on his card, and he cant remember if that ever happened since the South was stretched out to prepare for the U.S. Open. It was only one round, but it was a great for Perez -- and for Cink, who hasnt won since his British Open title at Turnberry in 2009. The test for Cink is Friday on the South, especially considering that only three players broke 70 on the South -- Perez, Charley Hoffman (another San Diego native) and rookie Kevin Tway, whose father (former PGA champion Bob Tway) won this event in 1986. Ottawas Brad Fritsch opened with a 3-under 69. Graham DeLaet of Weyburn, Sask., carded a 70. David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., shot an even par 72. Riley Wheeldon of Comox, B.C, who qualified on Monday, signed for a 4-over 76. Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., was another shot back. DIVOTS: Jordan Spieth, who missed the cut at Torrey Pines last year as a 19-year-old making his pro debut, played with Woods and Jimmy Walker and shot 71. ... Fifty of the 62 rounds under par were on the North Course. ... The worst score on the North Course was a 77 by Brandt Snedeker and Derek Ernst. ' ' '
Team Canada skated to a 6-2 win over the Czech Republic in Montreal on Tuesday but lost defenceman Aaron Ekblad in the process. Paul Martha Jersey Store . Ekblad was on the receiving end of a ferocious hit at the Czech Republic blue line in the third period, was wobbly on his skates as he left the ice and did not return. After the game, Ekblad was seen walking around and joking with teammates. He will be re-evaluated on Wednesday. Ekblad was drafted first overall by the Florida Panthers at the NHL Draft in June. Haydn Fleury, Anthony Duclair, Frederik Gauthier each had a goal and an assist for Canada while Sam Reinhart, Curtis Lazar and Nicholas Paul also scored for Canada. Zachary Fucale stopped all nine shots he faced in the Canadian net while Tristan Jarry made five saves on seven shots in relief of Fucale. Highly touted prospect Connor McDavid was not in the lineup. Canada faces Russia on Wednesday and you can watch all the live action exclusively on TSN.ca and TSN GO at 7pm et/4pm pt. Richard Bell Jersey Store .com) - Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion has been named the American League Player of the Week for the period ending May 11. Mike Nott Jersey Store .ca! There is plenty of blame to be shared as a result of the most recent NHL player (Pittsburghs Brooks Orpik) to be evacuated from the ice on a stretcher following an ugly incident Saturday night in Boston.PHILADELPHIA - Right-winger Linden Vey was traded to the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday by the Los Angeles Kings for the 50th overall pick. The 22-year-old Vey had five assists in 18 games for Los Angeles last season. He had 55 goals and 103 assists over three season with the Manchester Monarchs, the Kiings American Hockey League affiliate. Dave Pacella Jersey Store . Vancouver acquired the 50th pick in a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday. The Canucks sent defenceman Jason Garrison, the rights to forward Jeff Costello and a seventh-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft to Tampa in return. ' ' '