Everything Else

I’m not even gonna give it a name. You know what we’re doing here.

2018-2019

FUCK YOU

Goalies: So the question isn’t whether you believe in love after love…well, I mean it kind of is. If you believe “love” is Jordan Binnington being able to repeat what he did over the final 32 games last year. And really, his regular season was a huge January and February, as he was rather ordinary in March and April, By then it of course didn’t matter. And he was good enough in the playoffs without being spectacular, as a .914 is not spectacular. In his first full season in the NHL, you can probably expect something like Matt Murray has gone through, which is very up and down and overall probably just ok.

If it’s anything worse, somehow Jay Gallon is still here. Perhaps this is what he was always meant for, with no pressure as a backup. He can probably fill this role well. It would be hilarious and a market correction if both Binnington and Allen both stained the sheets (in the bad way), but most likely the Blues are looking at no worse than solid if not song-worthy goaltending. FUCK YOU.

Defense: What really fucking sucks is that Justin Faulk, whom the Hawks should have been after for two goddamn years, is a major upgrade on Joel Edmundson, who was a rock-headed fuckstick that was over-worshipped by the inhabitants of the IQ desert down there. Now that they’ve let Alex Pietrangelo off the hook, the Blues have yet another puck mover, to go along with another season of growth from Vinnie Dunn Bag O’ Donuts Ovah Here! I’m still sure Colton Parayko is a disaster waiting to happen, except I’m still waiting. Jabe O’Meester and Robert Bortuzzo for sure are something that needed to be cleared with vinegar and baking soda, but it was enough once. If O’Meester is a healthy scratch a fair portion of the time, they’ll sadly be fine. FUCK YOU.

Forwards: Boy it must really piss the Predators off that the Blues stole their act of having only one genuine top line forward (Tarasenko) and a bunch of tweeners after that and went somewhere the Predators never have and never will. Sure, Ryan O’Reilly did a fine impression of a genuine #1 center in the playoffs, and took home the Conn Smythe as a demonstration of that. But we know what he is. But with him, Brayden Schenn, Tyler Bozak, and if Robert Thomas sees any time in the middle, they basically have three or four guys who slot between 1-2 or 2-3, so it’s just about the same thing. This corps is actually short on fuckwits and dipshits, which you would think would be illegal in West East St. Louis. But it’s young, and it’s fast. Thomas gets another year, as does Sammy “TO BLAIS, WHICH WE ALL KNOW MEANS TO BLUFF, SO YOU WERE PLAYING CARDS…”. Fabbri Robby or Robbri Fabbi or whatever is back before something else goes snap. Jordan Kyrou is going to get a full look after a pretty impressive half-season in the AHL last year and a cameo at the top level. Other than maybe Zach Sanford, the Blues are going to boast speed on all four lines. What the fuck kind of world is it when the Blues are sporting a lineup chockfull of speed both at forward and the blue line and the Hawks make the same sound as your car stuck in the mud/snow? FUCK YOU.

Prediction: With Winnipeg looking an absolute train wreck-in-waiting, the Predators possibly slipping back or at least going stale, there is no reason the Blues don’t win the division. Maybe Colorado is ready to take that big of a leap, but we’re talking about a leap of 15-20 points, which is asking a lot. Especially out of a team that has an iffy blue line, as the Avalanche kind of do. Yeah, the Blues might not have a lot of top end scoring. But they might have a wealth of second-tier scoring to make up for it. They might not have any top-pairing d-men, depending on what your opinion of Pietrangelo is. But they might have four or five 1B or second pairing guys to make up for it. The only hope is the goaltending completely drops out, but under Craig Berube their metrics were so good they can mitigate the goaltending to a point if they have to.

FUCK YOU

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.

Everything Else

Hi, I’m Brad. I live in St. Louis. Much of my wardrobe is blue. I’m the captain of the USS Game Time, the fan-run paper we sell outside every Blues game. It’s a lot like what the Committed Indian was when Sam was more committed. Or before he got committed. I forget. For the record, in the very last issue of your deceased Hawks paper, I responded to one of these Q&As. It was for Game 6 of the 2016 first-round playoff series between the Blues and the Hawks. In that last issue, because the Blues eliminated the Blackhawks in Game 7, I predicted it would be the last issue. However, I thought it would just be the last issue of the season, not for forever. Someday I should use my powers for good.

This is the second time the Blues and Hawks have played in a week. Sam didn’t send new questions for me to answer. He said answer last week’s. But that’s so last week. I’ve written up some amazing questions, maybe the best questions ever asked on this website. Then I wrote some answers. Next time you attend a game in St. Louis and a guy who looks like Santa or a woman you think may be homeless because she has plastic grocery bags over her shoes to keep her feet warm waves a publication that says, “Blackhawks Suck,” (we only print the truth) please consider buying one. My three kids eat a lot.

Now, entertaining answers AND incredible questions from Brad of Game Time.

Q. The Blues finally have a win and a well-balanced record of 1-1-1. You mouth-breathers down I-55 plan the parade down Market Street yet? (Obvs, I’m doing some Sam cosplay here)

A. Expectations are a bitch. Hawks fans still have them for some reason. They shouldn’t. Sure, during the offseason Blues GM Doug Armstrong added some important players. If you compare the forward lines from tonight to a year ago, it’s an incredible change — on paper. On ice, it’s been a different story. The best example I have is from the Hawks game last Saturday. The Blues tried a stretch pass after a decent outlet out of their own zone. The players were a little out of step, so the timing didn’t work. They got another chance quickly, but they turned the puck over just inside the Chicago zone. A Blues player blew a tire and the Hawks went the other way on a two-on-one. Future Supreme Court Justice nominee Patrick Kane put a shot on net, the rebound came straight out and the resurrected corpse of Marcus Kruger put home an easy opportunity (feel free to call him Zombie Kruger from this point forward). They were two examples of plays where it seemed like familiarity made a difference. Spoiler Alert: I’m going to talk about Jake Allen farther down. The biggest concern might be the defense. Let’s ask a question about that.

Q. Hey handsome Brad, your beard looks well-manicured. Blues defenseman Joel Edmundson also has a beard. He was hurt to start the season along with Carl Gunnarsson. That led to guys named Chris Butler and Niko Mikkola being on the roster on defense opening night last week. Jay Bouwmeester is still an NHL player? What the hell are they doing with the defense in St. Louis?

A. In the week it took the Blues to get their first win, the chicken or the egg conversation went like this: Allen is playing crap in goal and making the defense look bad. Or, the defense looks like traffic cones on the Dan Ryan and it’s making Allen look bad. How about they all started the season sucking? Second year guy Vince Dunn was a healthy scratch Thursday. They tried playing Jakub Jerabek on the third pairing. He was a -3 in less than 8 minutes of ice time. He was a castoff Oilers defenseman they got for a late-round pick right before the season started. Playing him smells like the stench of desperation or the visiting Wrigley clubhouse after two teams poured champagne on each other in 24 hours not long ago. Here’s what you need to watch: Edmundson, who got a goal in his return to the lineup, playing not quite Duncan Keith minutes with Alex Pietrangelo, every Bouwmeester mistake creating a scoring chance for the Hawks, a hopefully resurgent Colton Parayko — who arguably has the biggest shot for St. Louis but is reticent (sorry for the big words, Hawks fans; reluctant) to let it loose, a hopefully dressed Dunn and big and slow and low hockey IQ guy Bob Bortuzzo. On paper, again, it’s a decent unit. Subtracting Bouwmeester would be nice (last year of contract, hip surgery last season). Bortuzzo controlling his stick and elbows would be a nice change of pace. Seeing Pietrangelo focus more on his end would be even better.

Q. Does Jake Allen forget to take his ADD meds before most starts?

A. Blues fans either love Allen or they hate him. There’s no in between — kind of like his level of play. Fundamentally, he does a poor job squaring to the shooter and being in a solid position. The result is lots of movement laterally and some spectacular saves. Because he doesn’t prepare properly, he has torecover and use his athleticism. Fans see amazing saves and give him credit while others see he played himself into the position of having to make the spectacular move. Watch how often opponents shoot short side or take quick shots directly off the faceoff. It’s because he has a poor setup, poor preparation. Are there nights he does a better job? Absolutely. But take Thursday for example. The Blues had a 5-1 lead. The game ended 5-3. Allen stopped 91.2 percent of the shots he faced. That’s pretty average. In fact, it’s also his career save percentage. He’s definitely better than Cam “Don’t Forget I Won That Cup Years Ago” Ward. The backup is Chad Johnson. He hasn’t played in a game yet, but probably will take the ice tonight or at home Sunday in St. Louis against the Ducks. My favorite goaltender is in San Antonio, Ville Husso. The future is always better, right? Just like the future years on that Brent Seabrook contract. Alllllllof those future years.

Q. Mike Yeo probably sucks. Do you realize this or has the Budweiser made in your town killed enough brain cells so that you don’t know it yet?

A. Mike Yeo is not an especially creative man. Mike Yeo is not what you would call an inspirational leader. Mike Yeo’s teams consistently finish fourth in the division — fifth last year. He doesn’t have a good track record with cultivating young players. His teams don’t play especially well on the power play. He’s trying something new this season by playing guys who actually have skill on the fourth line, including the center you’re going to hate in the future, Robert Thomas. He might not ruin young speedster Jordan Kyrou. Chris Thorburn hasn’t suited for a game (YET). However, if the Blues struggle to string some wins together the first half of the season, it’s important to remember that Mike Yeo has one year left on his contract after this season. Also, Craig Berube, who has experience stepping in mid-season as an NHL head coach, is behind the bench as the associate head coach. I’m not saying the coaching career of Mike Yeo in St. Louis is on life support, but I think I got a notification Yeo recently updated his LinkedIn profile. And if Yeo starts coaching to avoid getting fired, he’ll only get fired.

Q. Who is the one guy on the Blues who is most valuable to the team so one of the unskilled Hawks players (too many to mention!) can sweep the leg and send him to injured reserve?

A. Well the defense looked like an over-baked tomato casserole you Chicagoans call pizza — thick, gooey and liable to cause a heart attack — without Edmundson, but the easy answer here is Jaden Schwartz. The undersized dynamo is every hockey fan’s wet dream. He’s fearless, hard to push off the puck and maybe the smartest hockey player on the roster. His next bad decision with the puck will be the first I remember. When he broke his ankle in Detroit last December, the Blues fell from the top of the conference to out of playoff position. Hating the Red Wings, something Chicago and St. Louis fans can unite around. Anyway, don’t put your grubby paws on him.

Q. Thanks for doing this, Brad. Writing the questions and giving the answers too? I’m paying you double. Last question: I saw on Twitter that some Hawks fans bought your paper last weekend in St. Louis. I’m sure they hated it, but does that make Game Time the best fan-run paper in the NHL?

A. Yes. But it’s important to mention that it’s the only one.

 

Game #5 Preview Suite

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 vs. 

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

PUCK DROP: 7pm

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

THE COLD AND DESPERATE: St. Louis Gametime

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

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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

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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

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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

 vs. 

RECORDS: Hawks 20-8-4  Blues 17-10-4

TV: CSN

THINK DEXTER FOWLER HAS TOO MUCH FUN: St. Louis Gametime

PROJECTED LINEUPS

ADJUSTED TEAM CORSI %: Hawks – 50.1 (15th)  Blues – 52.4 (10th)

ADJUSTED TEAM xGF%: Hawks – 47.5 (21st)  Blues 51.9 (13th)

POWER PLAY: Hawks – 19.0 (15th)  Blues – 21.9 (7th)

PENALTY KILL: Hawks – 73.3 (30th)  Blues – 88.2 (2nd)

TRENDS: Tarasenko has 14 points in his last eight games… Allen has made over 30 saves just twice in 25 appearances

After getting a couple looks at one of the East’s best over the past week in the Rangers, the Hawks will spend the weekend amongst the West’s aristocracy, or at least what’s supposed to be the aristocracy. The Blues tonight and the Sharks tomorrow are both teams, along with the Hawks, that are supposed to be around longer than it takes at the DMV come the spring.

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.