While blue bleeding fans get to revel in the St. Louis Blues‘ 6-0 dismantling of the Detroit Red Wings, the players and coaching staff are not so lucky.
Thanks to the lockout cutting the schedule down from 82 games to 48 there will be little rest for weary legs. Let’s just say that the NHL schedule over the course of the 7 day week more resembles the AHL weekend schedule.
Next up for the Note is another Central Division rival, the Nashville Predators. While their sweaters and roster look much the same as the last time the clubs met, on March 27th, 2011, much has changed.
The once prominent, and dominating, holy trinity of Ryan Suter, Shea Weber, and Pekka Rinne is now a duo. Suter, the All-Star, All American Robin to Weber’s Canadian Batman departed Smashville for the State of Hockey, USA (and a hefty pay raise). Now, as our friends over at Section303.com report, it appears the new boy wonder will be Roman Josi.
A name that strikes fear in the hearts of opposing forwards!
Trade deadline additions defenseman Hal Gill and forward Paul Gaustad remain, but KHL “import” Alex Radulov defected once again. Which leaves the Martin Erat, Sergei Kostitsyn, and Patric Hornqvist to shoulder the offensive workload. Again, more names, that at least on paper, don’t “wow” the competition.
That said, a savvy general still paces behind the bench. Head coach Barry Trotz is still calling the shots in Nashville which means he company will be playing just as hard and fast as they always have. Considering the two-way depth they posses down the middle with Mike Fisher, David Legwand, and Gaustad, controlling the flow and pace of the game will not be an easy task by any stretch.
In terms of depth on the blueline few alterations are noticeable. Highly touted prospect Ryan Ellis is picking up where he left off in 11-12. Trying to make a name for himself despite his shortcomings. Kevin Klein provides steady services. Francis Bouillon moved on to Montreal which allows Scott Hannan to step right in. Aside from size differences, they’re very similar in terms of ranking on the depth chart.
In goal Anders Lindback no longer backsup Rinne. That task falls on to second time Pred, and one time Blues netminder, Chris Mason.
What are the probably line combos and pairings Blues fans will see? Again, Section303 helps us out. Here are their prognostications.
Erat – Fisher – Kostitsyn
Hornqvist – Legwand – Smith
Wilson – Gaustad – Halischuk
Yip – Spaling – Clune
Josi – Weber
Hannan – Klein
Gill – Ellis
Scratches: Bartley, Blum, McGrattan