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Chicago Game 2-3-10
The Blues showed flash of the team that roared through the second half of last years season to take the sixth seed of the western conference playoffs. It’s debatable whether or not Chicago played a bad game or if the Blues simply played a very good road game. On paper, the Hawks would beat the Blues nine of ten contests. Luckily, hockey is played on ice, not paper. Not so lucky if you’re a Bruins fan.
Since the Blues are obviously outmatched by the Hawks in every department except goal, I was very surprised to see the Blues play a less physical game. There were countless times where Blues forwards could have laid a hit and not been caught out of position, but didn’t. Considering there were over 170 penalty minutes in the teams’ last meeting, it was surprising to me that there wasn’t even one fighting major. I have the benefit of being freelance, so I watch a lot of hockey, especially the west coast games later in the evening. The Anaheim Ducks never hesitate to play the body and knock the wind out of your lungs.
Despite the call/non-call on Kane’s stick to Boyes’ face, giving up the first goal in a raucous building like the UC, or getting out shot 34-19, the Blues came away with a W which is all that matters in the end. Perron had (another) defensive lapse of reason in his own end, but the ensuing play was luckily taken to the boards. The Polak shot that bounced off of Kane’s shin pads and led to Chicago’s second goal is a carbon copy of goals that I’ve seen scored by many teams before. Sometimes I wonder if penalty killers intentionally rush towards the point so they can get a break the other way. San Jose’s forwards (at even strength and the penalty kill) do this all of the time. Heatley scored the OT game winner against St. Louis on this same play a few weeks ago.
The Chicago director of in game presentations plays drum machine sounds whenever players come together for a scrum or during fights. This is cool for an ECHL team. For an original six NHL franchise it is just plain weird and out of place. Even though the UC is the biggest building in the league, every seat in the building is made of cushioned seats. This absorbs sound waves and even though it’s a different story with a great team these days, I used to go to games at the UC years ago during the days of Eric Daze and it was as quiet as a living room in suburbia.
San Jose Game 2-4-10
I was only able to see the third period of this game. What I did see was Brad Boyes miss yet another opportunity at an open net, Backes show a flash of why he was picked by Burke to represent his team in the Olympics (and why Vancouver fans and management have a big man-crush on him), and Conklin let in another soft goal at a key time while making many highlight reel saves. Although it is easy for me (or any Blues fan) to become upset at the Blues’ inability to win at home, I can take a few positives from what I did see. Patrick Berglund showed a flash of why he was drafted in the first round last year. This guy has size and skill that will be very useful as the Blues grow into a contender and compete in the western conference. Keep in mind that he’s only Paul Kariya has
Ilya Kovalchuk reportedly asked Don Waddel for the league maximum ($11.3 mil) for 10-12 years. Apparently Ground Hog’s day = April Fools day if your Ilya. Can he score? Yes. Is it in the best interest of any team to lock this guy up at the price he’s seeking? Not unless you have a grudge against your owner and are looking to get fired. Whether he gets that much money will remain to be seen on July 1, but he is no Alex Ovechkin or Sidney Crosby, especially at 18% more salary. Congrats to the Devils for landing him. Even more congrats to any GM who signs him on July 1 for a decent price. Whether he was serious about getting what he asked Waddel for or if that was his backhanded way of saying that he doesn’t want to be a Thrasher, we’ll never know. I’d like to think he was politely telling Atlanta “thanks but no thanks”. I’ve seen World Series and a Super Bowl wins since living in New York and a Stanley Cup would be excellent, even at the hands of the be-grudged Devils.
As the Olympics draw nearer and nearer, I have to shake my head at Vancouver forward Mikael Samuelsson. With chronically injured Modo forward ex-NHL star Peter Forseburg on the roster and ice cold aging oft injured forward Fredrik Modin on this roster, Samuelsson (19G 18A 37P) would be a pretty good candidate to take a roster spot. But what does he say to an interviewer when asked how he feels about getting left off of team Sweden?
“Probably going to get in trouble for this, but they can go (expletive) themselves.”
Aside from elevating his game ever since, he’s also elevated his chances of never being asked to play for Sweden. Kind of a shame for a guy who already has a gold medal and a Stanley Cup ring worth of experience.
About the Author
Written by Patrick McLellan