Everything Else

Chris Gift usually dances for nickels on the side of I-55, after a successful career as cod piece cleaner for various hair-metal bands in the 80’s. He also contributes to St. Louis Gametime. Or he used to We’re not sure and we’re definitely sure we don’t care. He’s at Twitter @ChrisGift.

Signing Tyler Bozak and trading for Ryan O’Reilly. What got up Doug Armstrong’s ass?

We’ve learned to have disdain for ownership groups, regardless of sport. Look at your group of owners in Chicago without the last name of Ricketts. Reinsdorf, Wirtz (ok, Rocky is much better than Bill was), McCaskey, and whoever owns the Fire probably aren’t the most popular folks in town, and with the ton of cash that each team makes, the amount of frugality that owners have is shocking at times.

Blues Chairman Tom Stillman isn’t like that. Since he took over for Dave Checketts in 2012, Stillman has been in on, or attempted to be as active as possible in making the team Cup contenders. His first acquisition was rolling the dice on pending UFA Jay Bouwmeester from Calgary and getting him to sign a deal before he hit the open market. Tthen there was acquiring Ryan Miller from Buffalo, and also getting Paul Stastny from Enos Kroenke’s Denver  Avlanches  – speaking of disdain for ownership groups.  The key sticking point of the O’Reilly deal was the $7.5 million roster bonus ROR was due on July 1st. To paraphrase Armstrong, he called Stillman, said he needed $7.5 million and before Armstrong could even get to the first word of the next sentence explaining it was for ROR, Stillman told him “no problem.” Stillman has deep pockets, and his minority  owners have deeper pockets.

Last year’s pfffft of a season, and the undefeated Father Time approaching on some of the core may have been the kick in the ass that did it for Armstrong and ownership. What really got us was the decision to finally cut bait with Patrik Berglund. More accurately, I think the surprise is that Army found a way for a team to take two God awful contracts (Vlad Sobotka’s contract blew as well as Berglund’s) and get more in return than the bag of pucks that we all anticipated.

Slowly but surely the team’s core has both aged and turned over. Berglund, TJ Oshie, David  Backes, Jerry Halak and Brian Elliott are all gone. Bouwmeester is 35. Alexander Steen is 34. Even some of the “younger” player are starting to get a tad longer in the tooth. Alex Pietrangelo is 28 already. Jaden Schwartz and Vlad Tarasenko are 26. There’s a window for winning with this team, not gaping because of the strength of Winnipeg and Nashville, but there’s definitely a window.

The O’Reilly rumors flew around all season last year, but not just in St. Louis. When the draft came and went, and there was no movement on the ROR front, we thought it was on life support at best. When Bozak and David Perron signed on July 1, and the sun set that night, we thought that was it. Then the “holy shit,” moment happened to see ROR coming to St. Louis. It went from a  plain “holy shit” comment to being capitalized, underscored, boldfaced and whatever the fuck else you do to show exhilaration and joy and when the news of Buffalo’s return on the trade included taking Berglund and Sobotka. It had to be a total Andy Dufresne celebrating freedom in raw sewage and a thunderstorm by escaping Shawshank for Armstrong. Tage Thompson is an above average prospect that needs to mature mentally and physically and eat a TON of wings from the Anchor Bar. The Blues were touting Thompson, Jordan Kyrou, Robert Thomas, and Klim Kostin as the organization’s four best prospects. To acquire talent, two shitty contracts and two draft picks wasn’t going to do it. One of the four had to go. Thompson was the only one with NHL experience. With first round pick Dominik Bokk, and Erick Foley (acquired for Stastny) being added to the prospect reservoir, it was adios Tage.


Why is Jake Allen still here and still starting?

Wait, you don’t call him Jay Gallon anymore?

If this was the olden days, and twitter was limited to 140 characters, the answer would be something like “Carter Hutton was too expensive. Ville Husso isn’t ready yet. Jordan Binnington isn’t good enough to play in the NHL, and warts and all, Jake isn’t awful.”

Allen has his flashes of total consciousness, but there are also times when he looks absolutely lost. Ken Hitchcock damn near ruined him with his mental games a few years ago and Marty Brodeur worked with him to get his shit straight.  Both of those guys are gone now, so Hitch can’t fuck him up any more and Brodeur can’t pull the insta-fix anymore (something tells me that in the goaltending brotherhood, that an off the record text message or tip from MB30 is never going to happen).

Counting OTLs as losses, he was 27-28 with a 2.75 GAA last year. Mike Yeo  had to go to the bullpen far too often. Granted the relief was damn good in Hutton,  and Chad Johnson is nowhere the backup that Hutton was. There will be nights this year when it is 10 minutes in and the team is down 3-0, and it’ll be Jake’s game, like it or not.

The Blues look a little short on the wings as far as scoring. Tell us why we’re wrong. Only about this and not life, please.

Writing this prior to the season opener against Winnipeg, all is wonderful. Tarasenko is going to score 40 by Christmas. Pat Maroon will put up video game numbers and be the toughest power forward  player this town has seen since Brendan Shanahan.

To use coach speak, the sum is probably greater than the whole of the parts. Bozak, Perron and ROR will make the power play better (it finished 29th a year ago).Having ROR, Brayden Schenn and Bozak in the middle on the top three lines is a scoring luxury. Plus, the fourth line isn’t going to be the typical  knuckle dragging Neanderthal,  an AHL player playing over his head,  and a Kyle Brodziak type grinder. Think youth and speed on the fourth line this year. The fourth line is scheduled to be  Ivan Barbashev, Thomas, and  Sammy Blais, to start the year. Two players coming off pretty serious injuries  hope to crack the top 12 at some point this season if healthy. Acquired from Washington for Kevin Shattenkirk,  shoulder surgery kept Zach Sanford  out of everything but the first shift of the first day of training camp in the fall of 2017. And don’t forget  Robby Fabbri who managed have two ACL surgeries since just after the Winter Classic in 2017. Fabbri’s knees seem to be fine this camp, but he’s having a hard time with nagging injuries like hips and backs from getting back into hockey shape. Arrmstrong has mentioned November for Fabbri.  Both Sanford and Fabbri can play, and play really well if healthy. If healthy. If healthy .

There’s scuttlebutt that at some point this season, Steen may move to the fourth line if one of the aforementioned youngins’ makes strides to capture top-nine minutes. Steen on the PP, PK and fourth line may be just about right for this point of his career.

This is clearly a go-for-it year for the Blues. Can they really overcome the Preds or Jets?

Funny way of asking for a prediction. The offseason has been very optimistic around these parts, but the reality is that there was a ton of work to do before being able to be on par with the Preds or Jets. Have they done it? I’m not sure, but I’d like to think so. Seeing ROR for a season instead of twice a year will be nice, but he was a good player on a shitty team. Can he be a great player on a good team? Can Allen give a solid season without drama or injury or having will Yeo have to try  to make the best out of a few weeks of Chad Johnson?

The defense is awfully thin. Pietrangelo, Colton Parayko, Joel Edmundson and Robert Bortuzzo are all solid. How much does Bouwmeester have left? Can Vince Dunn have as good of a sophomore season as his freshman year? Is Carl Gunnarson going to be healthy enough to not be a liability out there, or can Jordan Schmaltz mature into a top-six D this year. Chris Butler looked overmatched out there last season, and the team is damn near capped out, so making a big acquisition to help the defense will take some salary cap magic to work.

Worst case scenario, I can’t  see the Blues finishing in anything lower than third in the division. Even if they play great and finish second, they’ll still have to go through both the Jets and  Nashville to make it to the Conference Final. That’ll require a hell of a lot of good play and good fortune to beat both  of those teams in the playoffs.

My guess is they have a hell of a first round series that they might win. That series will probably tax them to the point that there’s nothing left against the other divisional heavyweight and they bow out in the second round.

Now with all that piss and vinegar of a prediction,  this edition of the Blues  has the most talent since the ’16 team that beat Chicago and Dallas before losing to San Jose in five games.. As unpredictable as hockey in general, and this league in particular can be, I don’t think  a Conference Final run or a Western Conference title is out of the question.


Game #2 Preview Suite




Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups And How Teams Were Built

Everything Else

Every season we hear that. And sometimes, I’m suckered into believing it. And I think this year more than most. And then I remember it’s the St. Louis Blues, and it can’t possibly be true. Maybe one day the laws of the universe will change, and we’ll all feel even more unmoored than we do now. But until that happens, the only structure we have that keeps us from unending madness is the rules we’ve always known. And one of those is that the Blues will always fuck it up. They will never get out of their own way. Until they do, we cannot reason anything else. Were we to, we would simply bend the world in a way it was not meant to go and the pillars of society and life would indeed crumble and all there would be is chaos and limitless abyss.

What’s dispiriting though is that the Blues this past summer showed the urgency that we ached for the Hawks to show. They knew they were weak down the middle, so in came Ryan O’Reilly and Tyler Bozak. Those were two players we wished the Hawks would make a run at. The Blues didn’t hang on to prospects that looked like they had over-ripened. So away went Tage Thompson and a couple high draft picks, because now is the time for the Blues. We stared at Dylan Sikura’s vacant gape on its way to Rockford. They treated missing the playoffs last year like an insult and something to be eradicated immediately and thoroughly. The Hawks signed Cam Ward and Brandon Manning. You see the problem here.

Anyway, let’s get in up to the elbow, which if you do in St. Louis leaves you with tuberculosis.

2017-2018: 44-32-6 94 points  226 GF 222 GA 51.7 CF% 51.4 xGF% 7.1 SH% .928 SV%

Goalies: And yet it doesn’t matter how you redo your bedroom or living room of your house if you keep introducing various insects and rodents and sharp weapons to your foundation. So here we are again with Jay Gallon in net. The Blues are so determined to make it work with him for the 24th year in a row that it’s gone beyond Tin Cup hitting his ball from the fairway instead of taking a drop. Except this might be the time the Blues run out of balls in the bag.

Jake Allen was bad last year. .906 SV% is bad. Carter Hutton was better. And yet it’s Carter Hutton who goes, just like any other goalie that’s dared to play alongside Allen. He can’t be moved. He’s a southern congressman at this point. No amount of incompetence or bewildering actions will ever remove him.

Allen has been above-average in exactly one of his now five NHL seasons. At this point the Blues must know what he is, which is not enough. It’s not that the physical tools aren’t there. They most certainly are. He’s big, he’s athletic. But he’s always going to do just enough to kill you. Shame they put in all this work to end up where they always do. Really is.

Anyway, backing him up this time around with certainly an eye on usurping him is Chad Johnson. Johnson was woeful in Buffalo last year but serviceable or more in Calgary the year before that and Buffalo again two years ago. Maybe Johnson is just non-threatening enough to get Allen to relax while being able to take 15-20 starts without throwing up all over everyone. I don’t know. But this looks to be Problem Area #1 again for St. Louis, who just seemingly never learn. This time it will be different.

Defense: I don’t know how many different ways we can phrase this for however many years, but the Blues defensive unit just isn’t as good as “experts” will tell you. Alex Pietrangelo somehow conned the world into thinking he’s a Norris-level defender–probably by being big, a decent skater, and Canadian–but that’s utter horseshit. He’s fine. He’s there against the best competition, but he doesn’t roll them over. He never has. He’s a rhythm guitarist miscast playing solos. And paring him with Joel “Assuredly Has Had A Bug Caught In His Ear Before” Edmundson isn’t going to change that.

Colton Parayko is the only puck-mover they have, and his game in his own zone is somewhere around DEFCON Dumbass. I still don’t know what it is Carl Gunnarsson does, and neither do they. Jay Bouwmeester is dead, has been dead, will continue to be dead, and the Blues will continue to play him more minutes until even the worms peaking out from his eye sockets ask to be left alone finally. Vinnie Dun (HEY GABBAGOOL! VINNE DUNN OVA’ HERE!) could be another puck-mover they need, but Mike Yeo apparently can’t escape the stench of Ken Hitchcock and still won’t trust him with more than 13 minutes per night.

It’s probably not as bad as we make out, but it’s certainly nowhere near great. Considering the crops of forwards one sees most nights in the Central, that’s an issue. This time it will be different.

Forwards: Ok, so the center-depth is greatly improved. Brayden Schenn was a steal from Philly, and now they’ve added Bozak and O’Reilly. Bozak really flourished behind Matthews and Kadri in Toronto, and here he’ll get to be behind ROR and Schenn. It’s really a swift move.

However, looking deeply at it now and the winger situation….ooooh boy. Vladimir Tarasenko will still score a ton, whether running with Schenn or O’ Reilly. Jaden Schwartz is still their most creative player. Fabbi Robbry or Robbry Fabbi is back from injury, providing more dash. But that’s just about it. They’re brought back David Perron, and they’re going to have a quizzical look on their face in January when he’s on the bottom six with 17 points and taking the most mystifyingly dumb penalties imaginable. Alex Steen was in need of hospice care at the end of last year and that’s not going to get better now. Patrick Maroon is here, which is just so St. Louis Blues I don’t think I can stand it. It’s a less than impressive group, so the centers and Tank are going to have to have premium years.

Outlook: Overall, they’re just a touch short of Nashville and Winnipeg. But they’re pretty much ahead of everyone else in the division, which sets them up to get thwacked by one of the aforementioned in the first round. Same as it ever was. The wingers don’t look like they provide enough, the defense is slowish and not all that skilled, and even if those things reverse there’s always Jay Gallon walking around with his gasoline can, a book of matches, and a vacant look in his eye. They made the right moves this summer. They just didn’t make enough of them.

This time it will be different…it was ever thus.

Previous Team Previews

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Everything Else


RECORDS: Hawks 32-37-10   Blues 43-30-6


TV: NBCSN (It’s Rivalry Night, Don’t Ya Know?)


This is what it’s come to. This “small club” mentality. We used to mock those (i.e. the Blues) whose goals and aims, for fans and players alike, was merely dragging a superior rival down. We laughed that they had nothing else to hang on to. Remember April ’11, when the Blues were determined to knock the Hawks out of the playoffs? Sharp rushed back on one knee and Toews was able to take advantage of Ty Conklin having the angle awareness of a drunken sloth to win it in overtime. That wasn’t the last time that’s happened between these teams of course, the Blues claiming minor/moral victories here and there while the Hawks collected the real baubles. Pictures in a box at home…yellowing and green with mold…

And now this is where we are. The only hope to have a smile about this season is two games with the wholly desperate Blues, who sit one point outside the playoffs but with a game in hand on the Avalanche, who hold the last spot. Those two play on the last night of the season, so even if the Hawks were to somehow get around having unemployed rodeo clowns in net and take both of these next two in regulation, the Blues could still pull themselves out of the muck by beating the Avs in Denver (assuming the Avs don’t beat the Sharks tomorrow night). Further complicating matters is the two teams are tied on ROW at the moment at 40. So it’s going to be white knuckle time for everyone.

And it hurts to admit it would bring a smile to my face if the Hawks cost the Blues a playoff spot. We’re supposed to be bigger than this. The season is lost and our eyes are always supposed to be pointed higher. But I’m a small and petty man, and dragging someone into the muck with you, especially if it’s these cretins… if that’s the only catharsis we’re going to get then let’s have it. Just to let them know they’ll never be free. Plus there’s the added bonus that missing the playoffs will send that organization into an existential crises that can’t help but have hilarious results.

Then again, all the Hawks might have to do is just remain upright and let the Blues do what they do best…Blues all over themselves. They had a home date with the nothing-to-play-for Caps on Monday and promptly blew a lead to lose 4-2. They gave up a touchdown to the Coyotes on Saturday night. They lost to the Knights before that. Only the Avs hiccup in California so far has even allowed the Blues to have a shred of hope. It would suck for the Hawks to be their lifeline, you have to admit.

It’s not like the problems have changed much since we last saw the Blues a couple weeks ago. Jake Allen can’t put it together, and yet they’re determined to shove the job right down his throat. Carter Hutton, who kept the team afloat in January, but admittedly fell apart in February, has played twice since March 1. He got lit up by both Dallas and Arizona. So they’re going to almost certainly let Allen take all three of the remaining games, and he’s barely been ok of late. He had a .916 in March, which is all right, but all right might not save a team that currently has Kyle Fucking Brodziak at a #2 center. That’s what happens when your GM goes into sell-mode but only like halfway and the rest of the NHL can’t bury your half-in, half-out team.

That’s another problem for the Blues. They don’t score a ton, even though they carry the play and chances in most games. They have one genuine, class finisher in Tarasenko, which you knew. But most everyone else who did at least a passable impression of one has gone cold. Schenn has one goal in eight. Schwartz has two in 11, and both of those came in the same game. Alex Steen was dropped into a vat of DIP. The only forward other than Tank who’s on anything resembling a hot streak is Patrik “Yes Somehow He’s Still Here” Berglund, with four in his last six. And he has a such a sterling rep for showing up when it counts. If Tarasenko doesn’t fire them into the playoffs, ain’t no one else gonna. Thankfully for them they get a face-full of JF Berube or Jeff Glass or whatever other form Quenneville and Bowman can dig out of their ear to play goal the next two games.

As for the Hawks… oh christ who gives a flying fuck? You know the drill here. Some dope in net, and basically the same lineup you’ve seen. Maybe Q will break up the “Kids” line of Top Cat, EggShell, and Sikura because they got worked in Colorado and there’s no sheltering them on the road. Maybe he’ll continue to see what they can do in the deep end. Blay Killman will probably exit stage right after getting a run-out in front of his college and drinking buddies in Denver. That should see Jan Rutta return. And more of Gustafsson-Murphy, which might be the only pairing you see again next year given how things have gone for them. These are the lights were trying to find our way with.

Three more to go, people.


Game #80 Preview




Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built

Everything Else

There was a time, not so long ago, when we used to produce a program just like this for every home game. We had quite the little rivalry with St. Louis Gametime. So in a nod to the past, we’re just going to give you their program for tonight’s game. Cinch it up and hunker down. It’s 24 pages of St. Louis.

Blackhawks 4-4-18


Game #80 Preview




Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built

Everything Else

Let’s not say anything more about Brad Lee (@GTBradLee) of St. Louis Game Time than we have to. 

Oh hey look, your team sucks too. What happened there? We haven’t seen you in a while so we kind of lost track. 
Here’s the Reader’s Digest version. The Blues were one of the best teams in the NHL in October and November. Then early in December Jaden Schwartz took a shot off his boot in Detroit. Fucking figures. Broken foot, missed significant time. The Blues had basically become a one-line team with him, Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko. Without little Schwartzy, the forward lines became a patchwork quilt of crap. At the same time, Jake Allen forgot how to make saves. Starter Hutton pushed him for playing time and Allen responded by allowing a shit ton of goals. The story line for the middle of the season became, “Thank god the Blues got off to such a good start so they are still safely in playoff position.” Then when Schwartz came back, they still couldn’t score. The team basically believed they were still the squad from the first two months. Every night they came out and played the same exact game and it didn’t work. It took fans booing and giving Allen sarcastic cheers for making an easy save after allowing four or five for the players to basically speak up and say, “We suck.” There’s been a little resurgence in the last 10 days or so, sparked by a return of the forecheck. Alex Steen and Kyle Brodziak (a pending UFA who chose to leave a Mike Yeo team before and remains unsigned even though he’s been one of the most consistent guys on the team all season) have become a nice little wrecking crew dragging Patrik Berglund’s useless ass down the ice. Allen has been forced to play better while Hutton recovers from a puck to the back of the head injury in practice. Bu there are 12 games left including tonight and they’re three points back of the Stars with a game in hand, but the Ducks are still ahead of them and the Flames right behind. It’s going to be a close call. Thankfully the schedule has some easy games on the schedule, including three with Chicago.
So this has to be it for this Jay Gallon bullshit, right?
I want to agree. I want to say he needs to find a quality realtor. I want to say the Blues front office believes he needs a change of scenery. But the guy is in the first year of a four-year contract extension for a $4.3 million a year cap hit. They signed him to the deal soon after trading Brian Elliott in 2016. It didn’t take effect until this season. They tried to make him the starter multiple times as career backup Elliott continued to outplay him. And now career backup Hutton has done the same. At every turn, the Blues have chosen to stick with Allen. And he’s shown he does not have the capacity to be a steady, reliable and consistent NHL goaltender. His positioning is bad, his focus worse. Watch tonight how many times the Hawks try to go short side. There’s a really good reason, it’s soft as Charmin. There were bullshit rumors that Montreal was interested in him, but it was a companion piece to a bullshit rumor that the Blues wanted Carey Price’s $10 million a year cap hit starting next season. Anyway, there’s a Finnish kid who looks like he’s the real deal named Ville Husso. He probably won’t start tonight after Allen got the OT win last night in St. Louis, but he’s only been trusted to wear stylish hats on the bench while Hutton has been hurt. By the way, Hutton is a free agent and probably has earned a nice little contract for a team who needs a stopgap guy while youngsters mature. So Allen, when he probably returns next fall, will probably have to fight off Husso for playing time. So yeah, expect Husso to get starts next season.
Doug Armstrong is gonna get canned for all this, no?
He has been the general manager since 2010. His team got to the Western Conference Final and two wins from playing for that big shiny silver thing. That was in the 2016 playoffs. Last year they got outplayed by the Wild and still won in the first round. They got rolled by the Predators in the second. This year they will be lucky to make the playoffs. These two step-back seasons coincided with the final two years in Armstrong’s contract. This season, he signed a four-year extension. With and option for a fifth! Let’s cover a few quick highlights. Thought Ryan Miller was the option when his career numbers were slightly worse than Elliott’s. Didn’t end well. Gave Jay Bouwmeester (Jabe O’Meester?) a five-year, more than $5 million a year contract extension for his early to mid 30s after he played about a million games in a row. He’s out six months with a hip injury. He gave Steve Ott $2 million a year for a couple years. He extended Berglund and Sobotka just 12 months ago and then was heavily rumored to be trying to move their embarrassing contracts at the deadline. He passed on a new contract for David Backes saying it was too much money for a player his age. And then a few months later gave an identical deal to Steen, who has underwhelmed to say the least. He protected Ryan Reaves and let David Perron go to Vegas in the expansion draft. Perron has set career numbers in assists and points. Here’s the biggest issue. The Blues have spent close to the cap every year since the current ownership group took over in January 2013 coming out of the last mini lockout. So that’s trying to win now, right? But in recent seasons he hasn’t tried to add in season, especially at the deadline. They’ve traded Kevin Shattenkirk and Paul Stastny at the last two deadlines. And he has refused to trade one of four highly regarded prospects saying he wants to protect the team’s future. In other words, he’s trying to win now. And build for the future. But he hasn’t committed fully to either. When you try to use all strategies, you don’t actually have a strategy. And as the Blues have imploded since early December, we have four or five years more to look forward to. Still shorter than the Seabrook contract length, though.
Ok, but there are more than a few promising kids here, right? Like, the Blues conceivably could turn this around next year…
Do yourself a favor and look up highlight videos of Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas. Have hard liquor nearby. They are destroying the OHL this season. Both played at the World Juniors for Canada. They have legit top-line talent. They are teenagers. There is still plenty of time for the Blues to fuck them up, trust me. With the last pick of the first round last June, the Blues used the first-round pick they got from Pittsburgh in the Reaves trade (WTF, indeed), and chose injured Russian Klim Kostin. He’s been one of the youngest guys in the AHL this year at San Antonio. He has all-world skill. Either scouts are xenophobic and dislike Russians, or he does have a little bit of a work ethic issue. And the other member of the Untouchable Four is Tage Thompson who will bring his bird legs to United Center tonight. He has size, reach, vision and velvety soft hands. He also weighs less than your sister, gets pushed off the puck by a light breeze and has more deer frozen in the headlights moments in NHL games than we can remember. He’s a work in progress. While all four of these guys are important, the subtraction of Stastny is more so. Can you believe his cap hit was $7 million? And if the Blues can convince Bouwmeester to be more like Marian Hossa and pretend to be injured all year (with a real hip injury instead of a make believe equipment allergy), they could put all of his $5.3 million cap hit on long term IR. That’s $12.3 million. Maybe they can find a taker for Car Gunnarsson and his almost $3 million and maybe John Tavares likes deep-fried ravioli and I know it’s a pipe dream, but you probably don’t want to envision Tarasenko and Tavares coming down the ice with the puck in Chicago for years to come, I’m just saying. Bottom line: Blues have legit prospects not far from impact status and potentially a difference-making amount of cap space to work with. Granted, we’re talking about the St. Louis Blues. We get that, trust me.
We kept asking our friends in Minnesota about this but they were never sure. Is Mike Yeo a Moron or Not A Moron?
I mentioned the Brodziak situation. He’s played well enough to warrant promotion to the third line. He knows his role and he has played it well and consistently all season. And yet it seems like he will test free agency for a second time after playing for Yeo. It’s not his fault Schwartz got hurt in December. It wasn’t his fault he has to play Sobotka, Berglund and Dmitrij Jaskin as the three forwards on his second power play unit, he has to play the guys put on his roster. And by the way, Tarasenko left the game Saturday night in the first period after a shot to the jaw. You’ll really be saying, “Who the fuck is that Blue?” if he’s not able to go tonight. I think he’s handled the goaltending debacle as well as possible. His lines sometimes make no sense. But again, the hand he’s dealt. Do I think he was the difference in winning a playoff round last year? Hell no. Do I think he could have prevented such a fall in the standings this season? Meh. You probably think the Blues are a bunch of assholes. They played that way much of January and February. Remember, Steen and Berglund and Pietrangelo have played for four head coaches for the Blues. Tuning out Ken Hitchcock and giving the new coach a momentary boost wasn’t just expected, it’s how they’ve operated their entire careers in St. Louis. That’s not on Yeo. And while saying you can’t blame him for shit going bad, it’s not like I can sit here and tell you he’s done anything to turn it around. The only thing that’s been noticeable has been his calm demeanor since he got here. And maybe that’s bad because these guys needed to get fired up several times and didn’t. Maybe they needed fire from the head coach, and they haven’t gotten it, at least in public. Hey Blackhawks, fire the mustache and we’ll put out a red carpet in St. Louis. It’ll be like “Quantum Leap.” The Blues could put right what once went wrong and makeup for firing Q when the team was resetting with an ownership change (not even the current owners) and turning over players across the entire organization. I know it’s not happening, he’s the new Ditka. But we know how that ended. Finally, fuck Patrick Kane, it’s fun watching Captain Serious be average and we will finally admit Corey Crawford is good. You’re welcome. Have fun at the draft lottery.


Game #73 Preview




Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built

Everything Else

We’ve made a career out of mocking and hurling insults at the St. Louis Blues. At this point it’s basically batting practice. Luckily for us, we’ll have our bread and butter this year. Again. Because we always will. Nothing is ever going to change in Missouri, as they attempt to roll out essentially the same roster that got domed by the Preds in Round 2 last year, and basically the same one that hasn’t really ever come close to winning anything. Same as it ever was. You can set your watch to it.

St. Louis Blues

’16-’17 Record: 46-29-7  99 points  (3rd in Central, out in Round 2 to NSH)

Team Stats 5v5: 50.1 CF% (15th)  50.4 SF% (15th)  51.0 SCF% (10th)  8.3 SH% (7th)  .923 SV% (17th)

Special Teams: 21.2 PP% (8th)  84.7 PK% (3rd)

Everything Else

Now that I’ve grown up (ha!) and given up the printed program, at least for the year, there’s only one goofball doing it and that’s Brad Lee in St. Louis. You can find his work at StLouisGametime.com and follow him on Twitter @GTBradLee.

Interesting summer for the Blues, let’s try and parse it out one at a time. Is Jay Gallon really ready to be the #1 on this team and take them farther than Elliot could? Because it seems like they’ve tried to give him the job forever and he’s never seized it with both hands. 

If he’s not ready to be the No. 1, the Blues will miss the playoffs by a wide margin. The front office can say whatever they want, but the pedigree of each goaltender was on display at every turn. Brian Elliott arrived in St. Louis signing a league-minimum, two-way contract. He was designated as the backup — if he wasn’t playing in the AHL. And then he pushed Jaroslav Halak for playing time, he won a playoff series, he got picked for the All Star Game twice. Now mixed in were some up and down seasons including one where he sat for a long time and had to go to the minors for a week to get his act together. But he did. When they had to choose between goalies, they always chose not Elliott: Halak over him, Ryan Miller over him and two playoffs ago Allen over him. And then they traded him for a second round pick. But Elliott leaves as the franchise leader in save percentage, goals-against average and shutouts. He’s fourth in wins. And all that was never enough to have the Blues forget that they drafted Allen in the second round of the 2008 draft. They remember how he was the starting goalie for Team Canada at the World Juniors. They know he was an AHL All Star. His resume is awesome. He’s been an elite goaltender at every level. So it’s easy to forget the goals he’s allowed on the faceoff because he wasn’t ready or how one goal in Game 5 against the Wild in the first round made him crumble when the Blues had the momentum. And that’s ignoring the fact that he gets injured. Frequently. Like Saturday night. But I’m sure it will all work out fine. 

Everything Else

bluestrumpet_jersey vs evil empire

Game Time: 2:00PM Central
TV/Radio: NBC, TVA-S, SportsNet, WGN-AM 720
Holidae In: St. Louis Game Time

After having the tide of the series flip on a dime on two controversial goal calls (and one not at all controversial slashing call), the Blues are now afforded with an opportunity to show the hockey world that their continual, perennial faith in them is justified. To show them, yes indeed, this time it will be different.

Everything Else

evil empire at imos blues

Game Time: 8:30PM CDT
TV/Radio: CSN, NBCSN, SportsNet360, TVA-S, WGN-AM 720
If A Urinal Cake Were A Town: St. Louis GameTime

As far as inevitabilities go, the Hawks and Blues meeting in the first round of the playoffs this year is right up there with death, taxes, and David Haugh writing something profoundly ignorant, stupid, and damaging. And with this series, all of the old war horses once again will be trotted out, from the Hawks “turning it on” and hockey followers everywhere from local to national believing beyond a shadow of a doubt that this time it will be different for the Blues.