Hockey

vs.

RECORDS: Blues 40-18-10   Hawks 31-29-8

PUCK DROP: 6:30

TV: NBCSN (All Women Broadcast)

MOS EISLEY CANTINA: St. Louis Gametime

There’s not much I can add to Pullega’s wrap from Friday night. There could not have been a more clear illustration of every failing of this organization–players, coach, and front office–then puking up a game to one of the worst teams in history that you claimed you had to have because you’re trying to sell the fact that you’re in a playoff race that abandoned you long ago. The players weren’t ready, the coaches didn’t have them ready, and the front office provided a roster that couldn’t stomach the losses of a 19-year-old defenseman and another one that has played five NHL games. It feels like after that, if they didn’t before, everyone but the Hawks see them for what they are. And if the Hawks continue to ignore it, nothing will ever change.

And of course, here traipsing into town is the team we used to laugh at for never getting it, that have now gotten it while the Hawks lost the plot. You can’t help but see the symbolism and weep until you seize.

Since the Blues performed their latest third period live-autopsy of the Hawks after the trade deadline, they’ve won three of four from the New York teams and Dallas, but that hasn’t seen them pull away from the Avs for the top of the division. Colorado is two points back with a game in hand, and have the decided advantage in regulation wins so the Blues can’t tie on points. And winning the division certainly has its prize, as it’ll mean avoiding two weeks of mud in the tires against Dallas and getting a first-round matchup with whatever nitwit team finishes as the last wildcard. The Blues and Avs finish the season against each other in Denver, which could be spicy.

The only note about the Blues of interest is that in those four games since beating the Hawks, they haven’t gotten a goal or point from their bottom six. That could be a worry going forward, as last year’s torture was partly based on getting the occasional goal when they needed it from the support players.

The Blues are back at it at home tomorrow against the Panthers, a game they’ll probably view as the harder of the two so the Hawks might get to see Jay Gallon tonight.

For the Hawks, Adam Boqvist will return to the lineup but Carlsson won’t, which means Nick Seeler can continue to make Connor Murphy question every decision in life he’s ever made. Seeler had an absolute disaster against the Blues last time, because he doesn’t have the feet, hands, or brain to deal with the Blues furious forecheck. Other than that, I can’t see a problem for him.

The Hawks will try and tell us that if they win tonight, it’s still six out of eight points this week which would have been the goal anyway. And they’ll tell you they still have the Sharks and Senators up this week. They’ll tell you, while really trying to convince themselves, that it’s still on. But their performance on Friday told you what they really think. A team that thinks it has a real chance doesn’t lay that egg in the home of the biggest collection of trash and discarded gum posing as a hockey team in recent memory. They know they’re done and the second of a back-to-back was simply too much work for them to be bothered to do.

Perhaps they’ll have the decency to try and save some face tonight, knowing they embarrassed themselves on Friday. Combine that with every effort against the Blues this year being sad in its own way, and they should be somewhat inspired. Whether that matters against a genuinely superior team who actually has something to play for, well… I think you know the answer to that one.

It’s something of a landmark night, as least in broadcast terms, as NBCSN will fully broadcast and produce the game with an all-female crew. If you can ignore the large swaths of both fanbases proving how adult they can’t be, it should be enjoyable. Maybe it’ll even cause Jeremy Roenick to finally immolate himself. One can only hope.

Baseball

I don’t even know if we have younger readers. I know we have a couple younger writers, but maybe everyone who reads this remembers when “Cheers” was on NBC. Maybe even when Diane was the female lead (not even close to as funny as Rebecca and I’m not even going to entertain an argument about it). But let me take you back anyway to 1996.

The heart and soul of the Blackhawks wanted to be paid what he was worth. He made no bones about it for a few years. The Hawks hung around the fringes of championship contending, though never really looked like they could threaten the Wings or Avalanche. Perhaps with another move or two, and not even major ones, they could have. But the owner was one of the biggest assholes on Earth who thought he was larger than any player, and the Hawks traded pretty much everyone’s favorite player that summer instead of paying him what he was worth. And right after that, they were irrelevant in this town, in that sport, everywhere for 13 years until that shithead owner died. You could fire a cannon through the UC on most game nights and maybe hit one person.

Jeremy Roenick was never the hockey player that Kris Bryant is the baseball player.

And that’s exactly what should happen to the Cubs if they are going to seriously pull the trigger one what increasingly looks like a likely Bryant trade. They should draw 15,000 a game and Hotel Zachary should collapse onto Tom Ricketts’s head. But it won’t, because somehow–and I really have no idea how–enough Cubs fans have convinced themselves this is just the way it has to be or that it might even be good business.

I don’t know how many times I have to scream this until there’s blood fountaining out of my eyes, but a Kris Bryant trade has nothing to do with baseball. The ideas of “extending the window” or “long-term health” are goddamn smokescreens to fool a surprisingly large portion of the fandom who became infatuated with the rebuild and apparently never want it to stop. It is simply about not paying Kris Bryant what he’s worth because the Ricketts family wants to keep a little more for themselves. Because of the way baseball is structured and the way the park is now, they don’t have to actually draw full house to turn a profit. They’re not the only ones skating on this.

The offers rumored for Bryant are utterly ludicrous, and yet I see far too many people trying to justify it after looking up from their Top 100 prospects list that I’m sure they don’t jerk off on daily. Austin Riley and Cristian Pache? The first struck out half the time last year and got replaces by fucking Charlie Culberson and Adam Duvall, and the second is someone you’d have the privilege of waiting two years for to not be as good as Kris Bryant. Oooh, a .,747 OPS in AAA, excuse my while my throbbing erection bursts!

The Dodgers? Here I was under the impression that the Cubs and Dodgers were supposed to be fighting over the NL pennant for near a decade, and now the Cubs are just going to hand them their best player? Well it must be for Walker Buehler, another franchise turning player? Nope. Oh, well then maybe Gavin Lux and Dustin May, two of the higher regarded players around who are ready now? Sure ain’t, fucko! It’s for Alex Verdugo, who couldn’t keep Joc Pederson or Chris Taylor out of the goddamn lineup. How is this not making everyone want to pull out their own esophagus?

There is not a trade for anyone other than a list of about seven that makes any sense for Kris Bryant, Repeat this to yourself until you believe it or until you keel over. I don’t really care which.

I’ll give the Hawks this. As much as can be said about them right now, and I’ve said it all, they are trying to win. They may not know whether it’s now or in two years, and they probably don’t know how to go about either, but they idea is the same. And it has to be, because the NHL is still so gate-dependent. The Cubs have given up on that, and they’ll get away with it because I’m apparently the only one angry about it. This is completely fucked.

And yet so many have convinced themselves it’s the right, or just acceptable move. We’re less than two years removed from Bryant not just being in the discussion of best 3rd baseman in the game. It was fact. You didn’t hear a peep from anyone about it. And then two injury-riddled seasons later and suddenly everyone thinks he’s Keith Goddamn Moreland? “Oh he’s not clutch!” Fucking die. Or did I hallucinate the homer that bailed the Cubs out of only the World Series in Game 5? “He’s not that good.” You’re too stupid to live and you’re taking up my oxygen.

The Rickettses fucked up on their budgeting for all the things that didn’t have to do with baseball, and now they’re going to make you pay for it by punting on the next two years at least to watch a hardly impressive Cardinals team or a suddenly improving Reds one zoom by you. Every time Tom Ricketts leaves the house he should be pelted by rotten vegetables because he has the business sense of a Twinkie but will never pay for it because Papa is godly rich and has all the money anyway.

“Sports is a business,” is always the rationale, and it’s not wrong. But we use that so often it’s lost all of its meaning. At the very end of it, the idea was that the “business” still, however tenuously, balanced on getting people interested and in the park and their eyes on the TV. You could only do that by winning. And now that’s out the window. And no one cares. They’ll win if it comes along to them, but not if it costs that much. And this is Chicago, which at least used to be one of the most pro-labor/union towns anywhere. What the fuck happened?

I hope the White Sox win three consecutive World Series, and I hope they beat the Cardinals to do it so you’ll have what you decided was ok to miss out on because it made sense in your own convoluted Moneyball brain (which you completely missed the point of) right in your face. And I hope the most obnoxious Sox fan in your life (redundant I know) never lets you hear the end of it. Lucky for me, I have about five of them, three of which work for this site. It’s what you and the Cubs deserve.

 

Everything Else

I suppose on a day when yet another professional sports team gets in bed with BarfStool it’s only right they get their dicks kicked in at home, which is essentially what the Bruins did despite the game going to overtime. This series is certainly make everyone taste their own bile, with the Bruins off the ice and the Blues on it, but here we are and now the Blues have won a Final game for the first time and nothing feels right and pretty much everything sucks. They should just cancel this thing tomorrow and the overwhelming majority of people would be happy.

I guess I have to clean it up.

-The Bruins aren’t going to win many games, if any, when their top line is getting turned over by the other team’s top line. Which is exactly what happened last night, as Schenn-Swartz-Tarasenko turned that trick. Not helping the cause at all, and the one thing we pointed out the Bruins had to do from Game 1 to 2, was sending out Zdeno Chara behind Bergeron to deal with that threat, because he isn’t up for it. Check out Tarasenko’s goal for further proof if you need, where he looked like your elderly neighbor trying to get a weed out of the yard. It’s trickier after Grzelcyk got hurt and the Bs were down to five D and still only gave Clifton 16 minutes, but you know you’ve got a matchup wrong when the other team is going to go running for it when they get the home ice on Saturday. And you can bet your ass St. Louis will. If Chara ever starts a shift anywhere but the offensive zone, fire Bruce Cassidy into the nearest landfill, which in St. Louis is always right down the block.

-Torey Krug is the only blue-liner to come out with any credit and in the black possession-wise for Boston, and that’s mostly because he’s already driven the Blues into frothing madness and they spend his entire shift trying to hunt him down like it was a fox hunt. This will only get worse in front of the braying rabble and their truck nuts, and the Bruins will score off a rush through that space at least once.

-To pin it all on Chara and the Bs ineptness isn’t fair. I thought the Blues would have to step back and basically trap, and they did so at times. They also were able to turn up the volume on their forecheck, which you can do once or twice but not convinced for a whole series. If anything, the rust everyone was worried about looked like it was more present in Game 2 as adrenaline got the Bruins through Game 1. They definitely looked too relaxed at points and it was no match for the fury of the other group.

-David Krejci showing up at some point would be nice.

-Schwartz threw up a 78% Corsi and an 81% xGF% going out there against Chara, if you’d like to know the scope of the problem here.

-Tuukka Rask made some of his own messes last night, as his rebound control was less than stellar. It prolongated too many Blues possessions and the overtime winner, though on a delayed call, was an example of something that could have been smothered earlier.

-Curious to see what Anointed Genius Berube does Saturday, as Pietrangelo was used exclusively in the offensive zone last night. If they’re going to choose to send Parayko and Edmundson at Bergeron every shift in St. Louis, I think that will go well for those of us who want this to be over quickly.

-Oskar Sundqvist’s hit was bad, I don’t know if it’s suspension bad but then again if you’re trying to eliminate this thing from hockey it has to be. There was never a point where he didn’t see Grzelcyk’s numbers, it was also late and useless, and the NHL is going to have to start erring on the side of harsh instead of lenient if it ever truly wants change. Which it probably doesn’t.

-Sammy Blais doesn’t do anything but run around like an idiot and get knocked on his ass. What a perfect representation of everything it is to be a Blue. He’s Tom Wilson without any of the whimsy.

Let’s just hope that was a one game belch.