The Blues aren’t playing games just yet, but game action is right around the corner so why not start boiling the pot about our 14th and Clark noble warriors? A time where it will be legal again to drop the gloves on ice and pound sense into another player. Where hitting isn’t outlawed yet embraced. Ice was laid Monday at Scottrade, so the energy is getting closer. With that being said, I peer behind the curtain at the Blues.
- Monday, I was noting on Twitter just how bitter I feel about the playoffs this past spring. The two game lead that evaporated for a second straight time. The sight of Ryan Miller being outplayed in net. The late goals from Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews that seemed to rip the hearts of many Blues fans across the city wide open. The Blackhawks went on to lose in the playoffs, but it seemed like the Blues were talented enough(on paper at least) to win last year. When it counted and mattered most, the Blues simply couldn’t generate enough scoring chances or the hit the net as accurately as the Hawks. It was a lot closer than the swing in the series(2 wins by STL followed by 4 straight Chicago victories) made it look. This year, the chip on the shoulders of this Blues team should be enormous. They are out for blood.
- It doesn’t help that one of my trusted lady friends at work has to brandish her Blackhawks every chance she gets. It hurt in April and stung in May. It hurts now. She just smiles and walks away as I sink into my blue puddle of wounded pride. I then fire a snipe at her about her team possibly having to change its name some day because it offends people after all these years and she stares at me in confusion…haha, I win.
- The first preseason game kicks off on September 21st and on October 9th, the regular season begins against the Rangers at home. New York is bitter as well, getting so close to Stanley Cup glory only to see the Los Angeles Kings steal it away with a brutal overtime goal. The sight of Henrik Lundqvist laid out on the ice leg to skull lingers in my mind. He made so many unbelievable saves during the playoffs and unfortunately he wasn’t able to help the Rangers offense score any goals. Each team heads to the ice in October with a vendetta. The Rangers were as close as it gets but the Blues are still itching to climb back into serious Stanley Cup final contention.
- I won’t lean on Paul Stastny to show me how brilliance looks. I only want him to enhance the players around him. Stastny isn’t a goal scoring superstar player. That isn’t his general makeup. He is a playmaker. He sets others up. He gathers assists like he does ice piles in practice. I want him to make Vladimir Tarasenko into a 40 goal scorer. I want him to find a way to make Alex Steen sustain his goal scoring success. He can take pressure off David Backes and allow him to go back to winger. Stastny was brought here with lots of expectations and rightfully so. A contract for which he signed(7 million per season) creates that weight by itself. However, the ability of Paul to make others shine is the key to his success.
- Patrik Berglund, please find a way to make that ridiculous contract you received hold up. Give something back. You are no longer a value on the ice. Your potential is timed out. You are a veteran but your last season was a pure disappointment. Use the large figure you were born with and push people around. Fight and claw for the puck. Do or die out there or be banished to the back of the line with your bundles of cash. I used to think Barrett Jackman had the most ridiculous contract for a Blue. That is you. Do something. Or find your way to the trade avenue.
- Brian Elliott and Jake Allen should give the Blues plenty of stability in net. A vet who has waited for the opportunity to shine coupled with a young rookie who is simply hungry to contribute. The goaltending situation should create good old fashioned competition.
- I can’t wait for David Backes to rock Toews, and peer over him like a cleaver does at a pile of ground beef. The days of Freight Train Backes are near.
- If the Blues score more than 5 goals, can Ryan Reaves fight the towel guy on the ice? Is that legal or too much?
- The invitation of Paul Bissonnette to camp for a tryout is going to rankle some feathers. People assume he will make the team but they are mistaken. It’s a tryout and this roster is crowded. What can BizNasty do that Steve Ott and Reaves can not do? Is Bissonnette better than the guys on the Chicago Wolves? Probably not. Enjoy the camp but don’t expect him to make the team.
- What else? Can Brett Hull still skate and shoot or is he too big to complete the famous one timer? Something tells me a personal trainer and 40 pounds later the Golden One could still light the lamp for 20 goals without breaking a sweat. Hockey IQ can be more meaningful than being the most in shape player on the ice. Just saying.
That’s it folks. I ran a little long here. I hope it was enjoyed and not immediately sent to your trash bins. I know the Cards are entering playoff style baseball and the Rams are already traveling the underground disappointment tunnel, but the Blues are getting ready to launch. It’s a great time of the year for St. Louis. The St. Louis teams are either deep inside playoff chasing territory, making their way through the season or setting up to begin their seasonal trek. The fall season always creates an electricity in the air.
What lasting image will the Blues leave us with in April? Another disappointment like the past few seasons or something that is worth lining Clark Avenue for?
I love Tom Stillman’s “I Am Doing My Best” pledges. Now I want results…sometime before I die. Sincerity is wonderful if it mixes with wins in a nice cold beverage for fans to digest.