Aaron Palushaj’s stock fell very quickly from September to last week. D’Agostini is a good forward who has been the odd man out on a Montreal team that seems to be constantly looking for solutions in (arguably) the biggest hockey market in the world. There’s no doubt in my mind that the pressure of playing for the Blue Blanc Rouge was a bit too much for D’Agostini to deal with. I’ve heard D’Agostini compared to Michael Ryder as he’s a guy that can do a lot of things good, but none of them great. I was gung-ho about moving Kariya and was not thrilled to see him stand pat. Add Keith Tkachuk, Eric Brewer, Brad Boyes, and Carlo Colaiacovo to that list. However, John Davidson commented on the fact that many teams would only take one of the aforementioned players if at least one of our untouchables was included, assuming that to be Oshie, Berglund, Perron, Eller, Pietrangelo, Polak, and Johnson. It’s no shock that the Blues have a great core of young players and have formed that reputation around the league. What is a shock is the fact that this team finally started playing the way we all thought they would and did against Detroit in their homeland five months ago. After beating Dallas and Phoenix this week (scoring eleven goals), beating Washington, Detroit, and shutting out the Leafs prior to the break, JD’s non-moves may be proving to be the best moves. Keep in mind that Kariya came off of two major surgeries. So did EJ and Brewer. JD elaborated on this among other reasons for not making a deal. Playing for a contract is a good motivator to elevate your game. Add having a front page story in the local paper that you’re being shopped (Brad Boyes) and two goals in two games is a good place to start.
Cam Janssen’s hit on Bradley in the last game before the break was late and deserving of the suspension. On a different Cam note, fighting is excruciatingly exhausting and He can hang with the best. How many times have we seen him wave off the linesman so the bout can continue? Fighting is the cardiovascular equivalent of wind sprinting with weights on your ankles (in sand), which can last for only 30-45 seconds at most. The majority of Cam’s fights go well over the minute mark and he fights in a high risk high reward style where he takes a beating, but surely gives one with his lightning quick jabs. Watching DJ King dress as the Blues faced off against the Dallas Stars tonight was a relief as there are some goons on this squad. I’m talking about you Steve Ott.
The trade deadline this year offered a lot of build up, but no delivery. After all of the rumors, we watched a series of small deals go down, but nothing major. With the Olympic break coming just before, it was obvious that a few teams that wanted to get their business done prior to did exactly that. I’m amazed that of all places, Kovalchuk ended up in NJ. The Devils are a team that boasts themselves of a team game, strict defense, and unselfish play. Ilya couldn’t be more of a puck hogging, cherry picking, one-man show, an awesome one at that. As mentioned last month, I’m convinced that a savvy GM like Lamorello was somehow able to gain access to Kovalchuk’s agent prior to this trade. Lamorello gave up a late first rounder in a very weak draft, a replaceable 2nd pairing d’man, a 3rd line forward, and a prospect with a hit on his head; that’s still too much for a pending UFA, at least for a GM like Lamorello.
Now that the Olympics are over, it’s good to get back to regular life. I am not a cable subscriber. I watch hockey on the NHL.com gamecenter. For whatever reason, NBC decided not to give viewing rights to NHL.com or air any games on NBC besides the USA Men’s medal round games and force me to go to bars around NYC. Bummer. It was amazing to meet so many Canadians, Czechs, Americans, & Slovakians whom love the sport of hockey in this town. A town with a sports scene dominated by the Yankees and Giants. Having the games played 12 time zones away in four years will throw a major wrench into my schedule.
How funny was it to see Wolski score the game-winning goal with 22 seconds left in regulation against his old team in his first game since being traded?
Tonight’s Blues vs Stars game featured the new cameras that hang on cables above the ice. Other teams have already been using this. This may very well revolutionize the way we watch hockey. You probably know that there is a night and day difference between live hockey and TV hockey. I thought that with the advent of HD that we would finally see a break from the center ice front row mezzanine view, but the puck is still too small to allow the cameramen to use panoramic views. There’s nothing better than seeing a team on a three on one break and hit the man trailing on the play with a pass. Cameras never catch this until he’s already in the play. I saw Mathieu Schneider score his first goal with the Redwings (against the Blues) on this play years ago at the Savvis Center.
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Written by Patrick McLellan