Hockey

vs.

RECORDS: Hawks 27-27-8   Blues 36-17-10

PUCK DROP: 7pm

TV: NBCSN 

VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED: St. Louis Gametime

So, what could be the worst thing you would have to sit through after an underwhelming though probably explainable trade deadline where you hoped the Hawks would begin to outline their future but didn’t really? And you’re feeling the deepest malaise about team and organization that maybe you ever have? And it feels like it genuinely might not ever get better due to the front office’s incompetence and blindness? Why a game in St. Louis of course! Where the once red-headed stepchild has thrown off its labels and shackles and is the defending champ and sitting on top of the West and didn’t even feel the need to do much at the deadline because hey, they’re got pretty much everything they need! Oh, and they’re on a hot streak!

Kill us.

Blues fans will tell you it’s been a rocky season for them, and they’re a bit worried about what’s to come, which makes you realize what we sounded like when we were complaining about the #2 or #4 center on a 100+ point team and the Blues couldn’t find reverse on a Soviet tank (not Tarasenko). And the Blues have missed their best player basically all season, but he’s practicing again so that’s just fucking great. The Note did lose five in a row earlier in the month, which let the Avalanche and the Stars into the discussion over the division and conference. But they’ve since won four in a row by the combined score of 13-2 and have a small cushion at the top of things again.

For the Blues it starts in net, but it’s not just Jordan Binnington anymore. He did recover from a two-month-long sneeze and has been fine in February. But with the pressure off as a backup Jake Allen has been great in his starts, so the Blues get a minimum of plus-goaltending pretty much every night.

It would be inaccurate and unfair to say that’s all they are. They’re in the top ten in possession stats or close to it, so they do most things well. They don’t score a ton but they score enough, and they get that scoring from pretty much all four lines. And all four lines are packed with speed to maintain that hellacious forecheck they have. This is the misnomer about the Blues, and one the Hawks among others bought into. Because it’s THE BLUES, people assumed they forechecked hard because they’re just so tough and hairy and drooling and whatever else. But that’s not it. They’re really fast, so they can get on you quicker than just about any team. Yes, they’re not afraid to hit you when they’re there, but you can’t do that unless you can get there. The Blues can and well in time.

The Blues don’t generate a ton, there’s not much inspiration in this lineup, but they give up almost nothing because they make it so hard to get through them to even get to their zone, much less create chances. You’re basically coughing up the puck before their zone most of the time, which is what the Hawks have struggled with twice this season in their two losses to this outfit.

Are the Blues primed for another run? You might have to prepare for that. Colorado has enough speed to weave in and out of their tie fighters, but enough on the back end? The Stars don’t score enough, even if they almost pulled it off last year. The thought that only Vegas might be able to navigate this is enough to make you puke for a day.

As for the Hawks, they’ll begin the post-Lehner and Gustafsson-era with hardly a tear in their eye. The impression you get is that the dressing room and front office was sick of Lehner’s shit, and his pouty-face the past couple weeks didn’t help. This becomes a Crawford contract-drive, though the Hawks should be lining up getting him signed tomorrow. Assuming he wants to, which isn’t a given.

What to watch? Well, this will be the hardest path Lucas Carlsson has ever had to navigate, so how he does is worth assessing. It also might be nice to see Adam Boqvist move his feet once through it. Other than that, I can’t help you.

(Oh it looks like they won’t even let Carlsson try, because Nick Seeler’s brain and feet are certainly equipped to deal with this. How many times can one defenestrate himself?)

This is our lot in life now. Providing the fodder for Blues fans to marvel at just how far they’ve come and how much has changed. And to laugh and chortle. It should be a lesson in how quickly things can change, and they could always change back. But for now we just have to eat it. Because it doesn’t matter if the Hawks win tonight. It won’t change their playoff chase, and the Blues have eyes on bigger things. Just like we used to. Perhaps that’s what hurts most. Other than the history and proximity, is this even a rival right now for the Blues? They’ll play like it, and their fans will act like it, but pretty soon they won’t even think about the Hawks.

I guess you hold onto this, because if things turn around anytime soon it’s this kind of thing that makes it sweeter. Even if you can’t picture it now.

Everything Else

Box Score
Event Summary
Natural Stat Trick

Look, at this point it’s a cliche, but it always happens. The Hawks go into West East St. Louis on a Saturday night, that team teetering on quitting on whatever coach they currently have behind the bench and with the florid-faced, meth-addled MAGA chuds in attendance baying for blood from the word “go”. Sometimes the Hawks rope-a-dope and let the Blues skate themselves out of position and eventually turn to retaliatory bullshit, and others, like tonight, the pucks go in (extremely) early and the Blues walk away with two points having left everyone feel dirtier for having watched it.

  • Tonight was another study in neo-cubist defensive positioning, and it wasn’t just the utterly atrocious pairing of Brandon Manning and Jan Rutta, though at least Rutta finally got his ass benched and didn’t see a shift in the entire second half of the game. Henri Jokiharju was across the river on the Blues second goal, and he and Duncan Keith had a rough go of things all night long. The forwards didn’t help either, as Dominik Kahun did his best Roger Dorn impersonation on Ryan O’Reilly in the game’s opening seconds.
  • This is the most anyone has been forced to watch John Hayden handle the puck likely since he attended hockey camp in junior high (the last time he attended a meaningful class in school, don’t believe that Yale bullshit), and he’s going to give everyone an eye infection if he keeps pulling up just inside the blue line to set up shop and look for a pass.
  • The Toews line was basically nowhere to be found tonight, despite a 62% share and Mike Yeo combating Toews with ROR. The line wasn’t nearly dangerous enough, and when only one of the top two lines on this team marks the sheet against even remotely competent teams, the defense is going to have a hard time keeping the hounds at bay.
  • Conversely the Saad-Wide Dick-Garbage Dick line were all hovering around 40% and “created” all three goals, as much as anyone creates anything when Jay Gallon is letting in Downey soft bullshit like he was.
  • Speaking of which, it could be said that Chad Johnson came in and bailed the Blues out after Allen was rickety even on the shots that hit him right in the solar plexus, but the Hawks didn’t exactly mount a furious rally in the third, when everything was kept to the outside.
  • During said “rally” two seperate icings within about 2 minutes of one another were waved off by the linesmen because both Erik Gustafsson and Alexandre Fortin slacked ass on coming back even on a hybrid icing. That’s flat out inexcusable and just as benching-worthy as everything Jan Rutta did (which was plenty).
  • Other than the power play goal in garbage time, there really wasn’t a damn thing to be done by Corey Crawford on any of the 5 he allowed. He still looked sharp.
  • No time to wallow, as McJesus and his dipshit apostles arrive on West Madison tomorrow having just beat the Preds in Nashville and Cam Ward to shoot at.
Everything Else

Box Score
Event Summary
Natural Stat Trick

Look, going to overtime five straight times as the Hawks have to start this season, an NHL record, isn’t necessarily a good thing. There have been blown leads in the last three games, and in the opener they trailed to a team they really shouldn’t have. But given where the expectations were to start this season, taking 8 of the first 10 points available will be accepted in whatever form it comes in. And tonight was as solid an endeavor as this team is likely to put forward, particularly when it comes at the expense of the Blues. So now onward to what everyone is really waiting for; it’s time to shit on Brandon Manning some more and heap praise upon Alex DeBrincat.

Everything Else

Let us just throw some numbers at you: .940, .946, .932, .911, .926, .923, .937, .922.

Those are the playoff save-percentages of the last eight Cup-winning goaltenders. The only outlier there is Jonathan Quick‘s 2014 run, which was buffeted by an offense that went Human Torch in the playoffs, thanks to Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli, Justin Williams, and Marian Gaborik. So to get to a Cup, the buy-in for a goalie is just about .922.

Jake Allen‘s career playoff SV% is .922. So you might be a pleasant person, with inclinations of optimism (in which case, what are you doing here?), and say, “Well, that’s at the very bottom rung, but it’s at the table. The Blues could do it with this guy!” Well congratulations, you’re the Blues GM now.

Dig a little deeper, and you’ll see the problem. That .922 is buffeted by one series, in 2017 against the decidedly punchless Minnesota Wild. Allen threw a .956 at Minnesota over five games, winning that series pretty much by himself, and condemning Bruce Boudreau to another sweaty, Klondike-filled summer turning more read than he normally is.

But after that, when the Blues came up against an actual offense in Nashville, Allen was hurled back to Earth with impolite speed with a .909 over six games. Which aligns nicely with his .897 in 2016 as he and Brian Elliot played Hide The Pickle in the crease, or his .904 the year before as he hilariously threw up a kitten against that same Wild, including a real tour-da-fuck? in Game 6 of that series. Take away that one series, and Allen’s playoff SV% is .904.

Now let’s throw in the little nugget that Allen has exactly one regular season of a save-percentage over league-average. Would you, a rational human being with passable knowledge of how the game works, turn over your starting goalie job to him yet again?

Let’s pull back. Would you, a rational human being with a passable knowledge of how the game works, make the ultra-aggressive moves of signing Tyler Bozak to a free agent contract at age 32, and then give up a good deal of draft picks–signaling the future doesn’t mean much to you–to acquire Ryan O’Reilly, indicating you expect to not only make the playoffs this year but go far, and then turn the most important aspect over to Jake Allen?

No, you’re not crazy or masochistic or have fallen down the rabbit hole into Wonderland where you’re currently chasing around the Mad Hatter with a tire iron because seriously, fuck that guy.

And yet here we are with the Blues, once again. You may not think the additions of O’Reilly and Bozak puts them over the top. It probably doesn’t unless they get unexpected contributions from a few kids in the lineup. But you don’t make them thinking you’re just going to settle for third place and a first-round exit, either. Short of somehow convincing John Tavares that St. Louis was in Ontario (and feel free to take it, Ontario), this was about as much as the Blues could do to get in the ring with the Jets and Predators.

But what does it matter if the anchor is made of cardboard? Anyone think Allen is going to be able to stonewall either the Jets or Preds in the first round, the most likely opponents? The Blues would either have to win the division to avoid either to lead off the spring, or someone engineer a wild card spot that gets flipped over to the Pacific, where only San Jose or Vegas would probably be worrying. And you don’t commit yourself to $12.5 million worth of new centers to aim for a wild card spot.

Sure, the renovations to the rest of the house look great. Do they really matter if the foundation is causing the whole thing to lean to one side?

 

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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Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

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If you can believe it, and you probably can’t, Jake Allen has only been part of the Blues for four seasons. Like everything down there, they’ve been flagellating themselves so hard and so loudly about it it only feels like he’s been there a decade. Blues fans probably feel it’s been even longer, given the Homer-ific tale that Allen has been for them.

Let’s go back through it, shall we? Jay Gallon started gobbling up starts in the ’14-’15 season, and the team clearly wanted to shift him into the starter’s role over Brian Elliot. Allen never grabbed it with two hands, and yet the Blues force-fed him into the playoffs. You’ll recall he completely melted down, as the division-winning Blues were toppled, with no shortage of giggles, by the Wild, who the Hawks then plastered in the next round. Allen’s .904 in that series didn’t exactly wow the spectators.

Because of that playoff barf-belch, the Blues went into the next season with the tandem of Elliot and Allen, because they couldn’t in good conscience toss Elliot aside. Allen was pretty good that season, with a .920. But Elliot outplayed him with an out-of-nowhere .930, and then stoned the Hawks over seven games which will assuredly go down as the greatest accomplishment in franchise history.

But the Blues were still determined to turn the job over to Allen, extending him at the very first opening on July 1st before last season. They sold high on Elliot to Calgary, and turned everything over to Allen. And it looked like it might actually work. Allen was only about league-average last year, but sterling in the playoffs for the first time, as he was the only reason that the Blues were able to get by the Wild in five games. They were rolled hard in each of those, as he made 35 saves or more three times in those five games. There was not much he could do about a clearly superior Predators team.

The Blues must have thought he crossed the Rubicon and they could finally relax about their goaltending.

Ha. As if this wasn’t the Blues.

Allen couldn’t stop a blindfolded turtle in January and February, losing starts to known space Titan Carter Hutton. He’s rebounded in March as the Blues try and death-rattle their way into the last playoff spot. But overall a .907 does not suggest that Allen is going to be the long-term answer the Blues have desperately hoped him to be for four seasons now.

Which leaves them in something of a quandary. Allen is signed through the ’20-’21 season at a $4.3 hit. That’s not terrible, but if the Blues feel they need to bring in someone to split starts with Allen at least, they’re going to end up paying two goalies at least that, otherwise known as “The Jim Nill Plan.” It’s gone great for the Stars. Maybe some team out there thinks it can harvest out of Allen what the Blues have never been able to, but unlikely. Perhaps a team like the Coyotes or Sabres or Senators feels that if they’re punting another season anyway they can take the risk. No one’s trading for a $4.3 million backup, we know that.

What the Blues do will obviously determine their direction. There ain’t shit on shit in the free agent market for the Blues. They could trade for a backup who is angling for a starter’s role. A Khudobin or McElhinney type. But that carries risk.

What we can be sure of is that the Blues will likely get it wrong.

 

Game #73 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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 vs 

Game Time: 6:30PM CST
TV/Radio: NBCSN, WGN-AM 720
Dexter Fowler’s Biggest Fans: SLGT

Now that the Mike Yeo era began a little quicker in West East St. Louis than most outside of this outlet anticipated, the Blues still find themselves at a crossroads organizationally. This is still basically the same group that Ken Hitchcock couldn’t do anything with, and now that the Blues have fired their fourth of the four winningest coaches of all time, they’re left wondering if it’s at all worth going through another one-and done playoff visit, being essentially locked into their current playoff position. And of course that mean bringing their usual brand of bullshit into the UC tonight.