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The Blues are in 13th place in the battered and bloody Western Conference. With 59 points they are two ahead of the Colorado Avalanche and two behind the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Calgary and San Jose are tied with 66 points, 7 ahead of the Blues. Nashville is 8 ahead with 67 and Dallas occupies 4th with 68 points, 9 ahead of the Blues.
The Blues have at least one game in hand over 8 of the 9 teams above them within a 10 point spread.
Such A Tease Or Not?
In advance, please pardon my doom and gloom soap box pontification…
I’m happy the Blues won last night. I can’t be more serious and honest. However, the warm fuzzy feeling that a clean two points brings just isn’t there for me today.
Kudos go to the guys for taking the Canuckleheads to task once again. In general making the game a sloppy mess down in the grinders gutter. The pushed back when they needed to and got timely special teams conversions when they needed them.
Still, I can’t shake the fact that Vancouver was without Alex Edler, Dan Hamhuis and Keith Ballard. Half of a top 2 pairing and another very solid blueliner that did not have a say in the contest. That’s 14 goals, 41 assists, 55 points and a Plus-36 out of their lineup.
Why did Oshie, Petro, Backes and others have such an easy time penetrating the interior on the Canucks. Those previously mentioned weren’t there to beat forechecking pressure with passes and escape skating ability. They weren’t there clogging up the lanes with sitcks and bodies as top defenders often do.
There is no doubt Vancouver is still a potent team with the Sedins, Kesler and their supporting cast up front. But their overall strength has been reduced. Luongo was on his game all night save for the brain fart gimme to Steen and at times his rebound control. Making several strong leg saves on across the grain backhands. But the Blues know all about leaving a good goalie out to dry and the ramifications.
Vancouver was ripe for the plucking with the Blues backs totally up against the wall. That’s the long and the short of it.
The Blues now have three days off till they venture to Buffalo Friday and return home Saturday to take on Anaheim. Will there be a repeat of the Minnesota weekend or the opportunism we saw last night. My money is on a Minny Redux. Go out and prove me wrong boys, I hope you do.
- As I talked about in the Sound Off, Steve Hindle at HockeyBuzz speculated that Alex Steen could be up for grabs. I understand his thought process, but I respectfully disagree. It would take a massive overpayment of NHL ready players to pry him away from the Note. Asking price not worth the gain for teams competing for the playoffs.
Steen has solidified himself as a vital component to the success of the Blues. They win because of him, not in spite of him. For that reason, the trade is unlikely. Shake ups would come from elsewhere.
- I rarely….and I mean rarely do I dabble in the “trade rumor” game, but for once I feel pretty comfortable. Rumblings of the Blues and Pens talking are about. The Pens have had scouts at recent games, including last nights. If not for their presence, since the Pens don’t play the Blues and Cancucks again, this is likely info I would sit on.
Rarely… and I mean rarely, do I speculate on names, but since, as most of you know, I am a huge Pens fan as well, I will allow a little foray.
If I was Shero I would be looking at a short list of skilled forwards who could potentially play Center for now and wing in the future. Andy McDonald comes to mind as someone they could use in both positions with the experience Ray Shero likes to add (see Kunitz and Guerin). Brad Boyes, who has a history with Crosby, could also be a target. Patrik Berglund has has his name mentioned before (for Ballard at the draft) and likely garners real interest, but the Pens don’t really have the pieces to make the Blues want to part with Berglund.
Malkin’s IR status allows them to add to payroll and not go over the cap. I’m confident from my Pens POV that Shero could add a forward and make it work in the off season. With Letestu, Jeffrey, Conner all showing promise in their NHL time this season they can tinker with the depth to support the offensive core.
That said, Armstrong has to keep asking prices high and someone like Jason Arnott may be a better option as a rental for less payment in trade capital.
- Nothing new on the Ty Conklin speculation front. Detroit did have a scout at the game Monday. Keeping in line with Andy Strickland’s reports. Montreal also had scouts present. They could be looking for a back up for Price. With their recent transaction history, something could come up. Ask for Lars back Doug…
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