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Welcome Blues fans and other readers. Being my first blog, here’s a brief intro. I’m a St. Louis native living in Brooklyn NY. I went to high school (and college) at Webster, I love Imo’s, and hate the Redwings with the white hot intensity of 1,000 suns. I’ve been to hundreds of Blues games and rarely miss a televised game. I’m a New York based musician and currently play pick up hockey in Brooklyn with a crew of Russians, Swedes, Canadians, & Americans.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the Blues are having yet another “off” year. Two views.
Glass half full,
Since Davis Payne has taken over coaching duties, the Blues have been utilizing the speed and youth of the current roster. The lines have been consistent. The forwards have been playing the puck back to the defensemen when making a change instead of dumping it in and conceding possession. Payne obviously does not play favorites with the veterans how Murray used to. Perron, Oshie, McDonald, & Boyes (occasionally Steen) have gotten in the habit of skating the puck into the zone and moving east or west thus buying their line mates time to gain the zone and make plays. You don’t have to be named Malkin or Iginla and make $8mil a year in order to do that; it’s coaching. And last but not least, the Blues have been using fore checkers to hold the puck in the opponent’s zones and buy time for their teammates to make a line change and keep the defending team pinned in their own end. I’ll take any Blues line against any teams’ worn out top line. Hockey is excruciatingly tiring and the mismatch is always favorable to the players fresh off the bench. All of the Soviet Red Army vs. Rangers games from the 1970’s are on the local NYC Sportsnet MSG. This was a staple of that team that dominated international hockey for decades.
Glass half empty;
This team absolutely sucks. The coaching change has only magnified the fact that this team is clearly still in transition and that all of the veterans not named McDonald should be dealt/waived ASAP. The “You’re the last piece of the puzzle” slogan got old when the team returned from Sweden. It’s also about as audacious to any Blues fan as Bush’s victory speech from the deck of the U.S.S Abraham Lincoln in 2003 is to Army Reserve’s who thought they would be in grad school right now but are in the middle east or far east fighting a war. With the worst record in the NHL when leading after two periods you would think that Jason Isringhausen was closing out Blues games. Clearly, the buyout of Jay McKee, retaining Tkachuk, banking on Paul Kariya to do anything, expecting Jackman and Brewer to shut down the Getzlaf’s of the NHL, and relying on second year pros Berglund and Oshie for scoring was a big mistake. Canadian experts at Rogers Sportsnet predict that it will take 96-98 points to qualify for the western conference playoffs this year. There are no Islanders, Hurricanes, Panthers, or Maple Leafs in the west. Every team can beat you on any night, even perennial doormats like Nashville, Columbus, and Phoenix. A defenseman who plays like a number one (not two who are paid like one), a scorer who actually scores, and a goalie who can make saves in the last ninety seconds of regulation are things I would think of as the last piece of the puzzle before 21,000 people’s money towards a crap hockey team.
Tonight’s game (Blues at Calgary)
When a team like Calgary cannot punch in a goal vs. the Blues, you have to wonder if the Blues are gaining steam (again) or if the Flames are really that bad. They are slumping right now bigtime, but they had countless chances at open nets and missed or shot into Conklin’s pads. Do they have Boyes Syndrome?
Roman Polak went head to head against Iginla and Jokinen for almost every one of their shifts and kept it really boring for them in our end. This guy is the Blues’ best defenseman behind Johnson. If he were an NFL player, he’d be a great cornerback. He’s going to get an offer sheet in 18 months if he isn’t extended. I see him making a name for himself in Vancouver next month, especially since he was picked ahead of Hamrlik for the Czech squad.
As far as I’m concerned, the Blues were lucky to come out with two points tonight. They tested fate (again) and came out on the winning end. I’ll gladly take the win but I’m personally not convinced of anything yet.
Oshie has an amazing ability to smell hits coming, brace himself, and send the opposing checker to the ice. Tonight the Calgary play-by-play man said “I’m a bit surprised to see T.J. Oshie not make the U.S. Olympic team. He’s young, but he’s a heck of a player.” The Rangers have two forwards on the U.S.A roster and for those of you who don’t see the Rangers on a regular basis, Chris Drury sucks. Ryan Callahan is a 3rd line grinder but unlike Drury, he has a bit of upside and a bit more speed. Both players have slightly more experience and points than Oshie, but on an Olympic sized ice sheet, there’s no reason Callahan and Drury should be on the team ahead of Oshie. Oshie’s skill and skating ability is above and beyond either of those two. On top of that, the U.S.A. is in the same pool as Canada and Oshie has a habit of making team Canada’s top winger Rick Nash his bitch; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZHYIUiDAmg. If there’s an injury to any U.S.A forward, expect to see Oshie playing for his country in Vancouver.
About the Author
Written by Patrick McLellan