Jaroslav Halak deservedly has stolen the Blues headlines when it comes to getting the best of a trade. But how about the acquisition of Vladimir Sobotka? This energetic centerman made the Boston Bruins cringe Saturday night by scoring his first goal in a St. Louis uniform. Sobotka was also a dominant force in faceoffs, winning 13 of 16 draws. As much as we like to thank Montreal for their genorosity in handing us Halak, let’s now take the time to thank our lovely friends in Boston for Mr. Sobotka. The Blues went on to defeat the Bruins 2-1 in a shootout, improving their record to 8-1-2.
Now let’s get to the BLUEnotes:
*David Backes: If you’ve been smart enough to read my columns at all, you will notice how I have been on Backes for his mediocre play. Backes was a force in this game. He was hitting everything in sight and driving to the net. Big number 42 finished with a fight, 5 hits, 4 shots on goal, won 10 of 15 draws, all in 17:24 total time on the ice. Now let’s keep this type of physical play going. The goals will hopefully come.
*T.J. Oshie: Speaking of hitting everything in sight, the O-train was a wrecking ball tonight. He flattened the 14-foot tall Zdeno Chara and then completely laid out David Krejci. Oshie had a target on his back after that hit, but there is no way this kid can be intimidated. Then to top it all off, he scored on the Blues first shootout attempt. The dude is a monster.
*Brad Boyes: Another former Bruin who came back to haunt them and their fans, who have the worst accents on the planet. Boyes scored another slick shootout goal and finished with 3 shots on goal in 20:15 time on the ice. Boyes is quickly establishing himself as a shootout specialist. Now let’s hope he can start to score some goals in regulation.
*Ian Cole and Nikita Nikitin: Due to numerous injuries on the blueline, these two youngsters enjoyed a night they will never forget–their first career NHL games. Both looked poised and comfortable. Cole had 12:58 time on the ice and Nikitin finished at 14:21. Nikitin also made several outstanding defensive plays. The Blues no longer bury their heads when injuries mount. They finally have the depth good teams need to overcome crucial injuries. Time now for a personal plug, go to thehockeynews.com to read my “prospect watch” article on Ian Cole. That’s right, I write for The Hockey News. What, you think I’m like these other yahoos who have no idea what they’re writing? Come on!
*Jaroslav Halak: The Halak-ness Monster. That’s right, I said it. He kept the Blues in the game when Boston made its push. The goalposts were also very friendly to him in this contest. Boston hit the pipe 4 times. Hey, you have to be good to get lucky. I can’t say it enough, THANK YOU MONTREAL!!!
*Patrik Berglund: I will never have a BLUEnote section with just positives. Life doesn’t work that way. Berglund needs to pick up his intensity. How many times have we heard that in his young career? He finished with no shots on goal and a minus one in 13:01 time on the ice. Ramp it up Patrik, or Peoria will be in your future.
*The power play: This has to improve, and fast. The Blues finished the game 0-4 and are now 2 for their last 26. This is the one area of concern right now for Davis Payne and company. They need to stop forcing the cross-ice passes and simplify their attack. The one-time shots that used to be available are now gone. Continue to rip it from the points and crash the net. The pretty goals will eventually come, but until they do, point shots, point shots, point shots.
Thanks for reading, and remember, kiss your BLUEnote before you go to bed.
About the Author
Written by Dave Frederick
Dave has spent more than 20 years covering the NHL for a variety of different media outlets. Most notably ESPN, Fox Sports and the National Hockey League.