Jeff Ponder's NHL Hockey Fan Profile

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My name is Jeff Ponder and I have been an online columnist for over 10 years. I have a regular online column over at, and I post on this site whenever I write something that is not Blues-related. Feedback is always welcomed and appreciated, whether positive or negative.

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Links: - My official St. Louis Blues hockey column at - NHL game recaps written by yours truly. - the best podcast on the net with great NHL coverage.


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Cardinals Sign J.C. Romero to 1-Year Contract posted on 12/22/2011

The defending World Champion St. Louis Cardinals have filled their need for a lefthander in their bullpen. 

Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak announced Thursday that the club has signed free-agent left-handed pitcher J.C. Romero to a one-year contract.  Romero has spent parts of 13 seasons in Major League Baseball.

Romero, 35, had his best season in 2007 as a member of the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies.  Pitching in a combined 74 games, Romero allowed just 12 earned runs in 56 1/3 innings (1.92 ERA). 

The Cardinals have opted to not re-sign veteran Arthur Rhodes, which leaves Marc Rzepczynski as the lone-lefty in the bullpen. 

The Romero signing is one of three made by the Cardinals in the past week.  Shortstop Rafael Furcal and utility-man Skip Schumaker both received two-year contracts.  This comes after the Cardinals lost Albert Pujols in free-agency to the Anaheim Angels.

Continue reading "Cardinals Sign J.C. Romero to 1-Year Contract"

Betancourt Returns to Royals posted on 12/22/2011

The Royals were in dire need of a utility infielder.  They did not have to look far to find one.

Yuniesky Betancourt and the Royals agreed to a one-year, $2 million contract with incentives.  If Betancourt can become a full-time player, he could be paid $2.5 million next season.

Betancourt, 29, spent the 2009 and 2010 seasons with the Royals.  In that time, he batted .253 with 20 home runs and 105 RBIs in 222 games played.  Betancourt spent that time as a shortstop and has only seen nine games at second base in his seven-year career.

Alcides Escobar is slated to be the Royals’ starting shortstop in 2012, as manager Ned Yost reportedly plans to play him 150-plus games in the position.  Johnny Giavotella and Chris Getz will be battling for the second base position in training camp.  According to Royals General Manager Dayton Moore, Betancourt has a better opportunity to overtake the starting role at second base, despite his inexperience at the position.

Continue reading "Betancourt Returns to Royals"

Twins Sign Jason Marquis to 1-Year Deal posted on 12/22/2011

The Minnesota Twins are looking to improve their dismal starting rotation numbers in 2012.

Last season, the Twins starters combined to post the third-worst ERA (4.64), while also striking out just 617 batters in 961 innings-pitched.

The Twins have outsourced to fix this problem, signing veteran right-hander Jason Marquis to a one-year, $3 million contract. 

Marquis, 33, posted an 8-5 record with a 3.95 ERA as a member of the Washington Nationals last season.  He was then sent to the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 30, where he was 0-1, posting a 9.53 ERA in just three starts.  Marquis missed the last month and a half of the 2011 season with a broken right fibula after being hit by a line drive. 

Marquis was a National League All-Star in 2009 as a member of the Colorado Rockies.  His best season came in 2004 when he posted a 15-7 record and recorded a 3.71 ERA as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Continue reading "Twins Sign Jason Marquis to 1-Year Deal"

Giroux Returning to Lineup posted on 12/21/2011

Claude Giroux is proving that concussions do not have a set timetable for return.  For some players, problems with concussions have spanned throughout multiple seasons.

Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins has missed 68 games – and counting – with a concussion.  David Perron of the St. Louis Blues recently missed 97 games with a concussion issue.  It seems that Giroux will miss just four games.

Reports suggest that Giroux will be back in the lineup tonight in Dallas.

Giroux has been sidelined since December 10 after colliding with teammate Wayne Simmonds.  When Giroux missed his first game, he was the league’s leading scorer with 39 points.  Currently, he is tied for first with Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh), Phil Kessel (Toronto) and Henrik Sedin (Vancouver).

Continue reading "Giroux Returning to Lineup"

Engelland Awaiting Hearing posted on 12/21/2011

Deryk Engelland may not have received a charging penalty during the game but NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan may be assessing punishment nonetheless.

In the Penguins’ 3-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks Tuesday night, Engelland delivered a crushing blow to Chicago Blackhawks rookie Marcus Krueger at the 8:55 mark of the first period.  While Krueger was entering the Penguins’ zone, Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis wrapped him up at the blue line.  Engelland approached Krueger from his right and hit him near the boards.  Engelland led with his forearm, knocking Krueger to the ice.  Despite the monstrous collision, Krueger bounced right back up as Engelland fought with Krueger’s teammate, John Scott.  Engelland was assessed a major penalty for fighting while Scott received a 5:00 major for fighting, a 2:00 fight-instigator minor and a game misconduct. 

Continue reading "Engelland Awaiting Hearing"

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