As everyone in Blues nation has quickly learned in the past seven days, this Blues team (and Jaroslav Halak especially) is not invincible. However, it is not time to push the panic button. Does it hurt to give up huge amounts of goals to the BJ’s or hated Detroit? Of course, but it’s still very early in the season and this team is holding NHL auditions while five of the most skilled and experienced players have been out with injury. Halak has been brilliant at times and has shown that he does need competent defense in front of him. Eric Brewer does not fit the bill as a ‘competent’ defenseman. Countless times players have skated right by him as he swings his stick and can’t make up his mind whether to skate forwards or backwards (see David Vyborny). Other times he stickhandles backwards towards the wall and turns the puck over. His lack of speed and decisiveness with the puck would be excusable for an AHLer or one of the countless rookies making their auditions with the club, but for someone his age, salary, and NHL experience, we can all start counting the days until he’s gone. How and why this guy has stuck around AND given the captain’s “C” while Jay McKee was bought out is beyond me.
Blues GM Doug Armstrong did not rule out the possibility of a trade. Lucky for the Blues they don’t play on the east coast or southern Ontario, so heads will not roll if a trade is not made for trade’s sake. Anyone whom has followed the Blues since the lockout knows that the Blues management does not make trades for the sake of trades and they will only pull the trigger when another GM has to move a player due to a logjam at position, has lack of trade partners outside of their division, or has salary cap constraints. One name that has popped up on rumor boards is Boston’s Michael Ryder. Ryder is a guy who can jump in and automatically contribute 20+ goals. For a team that only had three 20+ goal scorers last year, this would be a great destination for a guy who does not have a NTC clause in his contract. Whether Halak regains his early season all star form or the Blues suddenly learn how to find the back of the other teams’ net more than their own, something has to give because that really sucked tonight.
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Written by Patrick McLellan