The LA Kings are getting hot at the right time. Don't count out the champs.
What an amazing kick in the dick this season has been. Even when the Blues were just white hot, they couldn't gain ground on the Predators. In the end, it may not matter anyway as the reward is very likely to be the team that's won the Cup from the 8 seed in the last 5 years and again from the 6 seed, IIRC.
The East shouldn't even be allowed to participate in the playoffs this year. You guys just stay home and let the adults play.
The longer Hitch is here, the less i like him. He got owned the playoffs last year, and between all the "players not buying in" bullshit last year, and this year's "ask that question in the room"... he seems to do a lot of finger pointing. Stasny's comment in the press was an implied shot at Hitch, and Stasny isn't one to run his mouth. Hitch's abrasiveness and hard-driving nature towards the players may have really started burning them out.
Last edited by two-hole; 02-26-2015 at 03:26 PM.
Blues pick up Cracknell (again) for future considerations.
precursor to another trade? Bergie?
Cracknell will initially report to chicago AHL, so the CPR line isn't back together...yet.
Last edited by two-hole; 02-26-2015 at 03:25 PM.
A shame about Patrick Kane. I hate to see any player get injured.
Sure looks to me like they're abandoning their defensive responsibilities pretty much without compunction at this point. They're getting caught chasing the play way too often right now.
I don't think it's entirely fair to put a ton of the poor play at the feet of the forwards; by and large they're playing quite well. I'm just really damn tired of the defensemen on this team getting schooled. Maybe Hitch is asking too much of the forwards and that's leading to a bit of a revolt on their part, but that's the way his system has always worked. Hitch has asked his forwards to be aggressive defenders his entire coaching career (it's why Hull hated him at first but credits him with making him a championship caliber player).
Stasny can chirp if he wants, but in the end the forwards will have to play a sound defensive game or this team won't win anything. That might irk them, but them's the breaks.
There's a big difference between taking care of your business inside the locker room, and hanging the dirty laundry out in public and describing who made each stain.
WHY are they abandoning their game? WHY are they not "buying in"? For a buyer, there has to be a seller. If the seller pisses off all the buyers and then blames then in the press, no one's left to own it.
I guarantee you'd never hear Mike Matheny say "ask that question in the room". That's pure passing the buck.
Last edited by two-hole; 02-26-2015 at 03:47 PM.
Do you not think that Hitchcock rides these guys in practice? Do you not think he approaches them privately? They've bought in intermittently at several points throughout the season. Then they'll have 2-3 weeks where they just coast and the effort vanishes. I don't have a problem with the occasional public shaming. It shouldn't be the only club in your bag but I don't think anyone would say that it's Hitch's go-to move either.
Hitch, in the transcripts of his interviews, does a great job of discussing strategy and substance; better than any coach I can ever remember (in hockey; Andy Reid does the same in football - tons of knowledge to be gleaned from those pressers). It's amazing to listen to him talk about what they're doing and not doing tactically - the guy is pretty brilliant, IMO. Most coaches are far closer to the vest but he's oftentimes very vocal about why they're not executing from a purely tactical standpoint. Those clips are dry and don't make the news.
Watch the SOB line, watch Jaskin and watch Reaves. Those guys absolutely buy in 100% of the time, IMO, especially Backes and Steen. Lehtera and Berglund are usually pretty responsible as well though occasionally both will fail to use their size to their advantage like they need to. Tarasenko, Schwartz and Stastny aren't always getting back like this system requires (Ott sucks; who the hell knows what he's doing).
When you're a coach that sees how good these guys can be when they're on the same page and knows/can explain why they're not executing tactically, he has to frustrate the hell out of you. FFS - how much more motivated can you be than when you were beating the snot out of everybody? Yeah public scorn may be worthwhile.
Your alternative is to simply scrap the system and get a new coach, one that favors a more wide-open game from his forwards and puts more on the shoulders of the D. The problem is that A) The D absolutely blows this year and B) There are a whole lot more bad coaches out there than good ones. We have a good one. I don't want to ditch him so we can try to duplicate the Penguins system without Malkin and Crosby.
Also, with Kane out, we actually may have a chance to beat those bastards.
At that point all they have is a fresh Kane to skate around our porous D. It's not like any of our defensemen will hit him anyway. Cole's the only guy that's willing to body anybody up these day.
Hopefully Shatty coming back will get the rest of the D playing back to par but the top pair was playing poorly before he was hurt; not sure
Evidently a fight in the Blackhawks locker room - rumor is that Patrick Sharp was nailing Patrick Kane's girlfriend and Duncan Keith's wife.
So...yeah...if that's true, Patrick Sharp won't be with the 'hawks much longer. I don't really care that much - the guy is nowhere near the player he was a few years ago. The interesting part is that nobody will take on that contract. He has a $6 million cap hit this year and then for two more years after that. The guy's probably a $2 million player at this point; a glorified third liner.
The Hawks will have to bring back a bad contract or simply eat a ton of money to be rid of that. Maybe they can send him down and try to call him up on re-entry waivers. If a team claims him then, the Hawks end up with half his contract on their books but no player to show for it (at least I think that's how it works).
In either event, it can't be a good thing for Chicago. Of course, leave it to the Blues to have the worst case scenario of that happening - trading a HOFer in Shanahan because he couldn't keep it to himself...seriously, how do you nail a teammates wife?
Blues acquire defenseman Zbynek Michalek From Arizona, plus a conditional 3rd round pick, in exchange for Maxim Letunov, their 2nd round pick in 2014.
Michalek was regarded as one of the top trade targets among the pending unrestricted free agents, though his current status may have given some teams pause.
Michalek has been out for over two weeks with an upper-body injury. He last played in a game on Feb. 14.
Last edited by paulie walnuts; 03-02-2015 at 11:21 AM.
That said, Michalek (if healthy) is exactly the kind of player they needed to add. He's a solid 2nd pairing defenseman that does all that nasty shit that nobody on the D seems inclined to do anymore.
But seriously, I despise Jay Bouwmeester right now. WTF is it that you do around here, anyway?
I hate that we had to give away a skilled forward because our first pairing is charmin soft and evidently we can't split them up to strengthen other parts of the defense. We have 4 defenseman making better than $4 million/season (5 over $3) and somehow that's still not good enough to ice 6 guys that will play hard every night. We are spending more on our D than all but 3 teams in the league (and one of them has Subban so that shouldn't even count) yet we still can't get those guys to actually give us a consistent performance night in, night out.
And now they deal Cole to Pittsburgh for Robert Bortuzzo and a 7th round pick.
Hitch remaking the D.
One defenseman on this team that will actually play with an edge and we just !@#$ing traded him.
Ian Cole to Pittsburgh for Bortuzzo. I truly have no idea what the point in this deal was. They traded him for another big, stay at home type. That's all Cole was and Cole was actually a pretty good skater for a banger.
I feel like all we did here was trade a crease-clearer for a slightly bigger crease clearer with less upside. Bortuzzo is a 3rd pairing guy all the way, Cole could've actually played 2nd pairing minutes but Hutch never warmed to him.
Eh, whatever. Blow up the whole !@#$ing blue line for all I care at this point.
Assuming Michalek can play, the D is stronger for the day's activities.
If Shat gets back soon, I think we'll be OK. But yes, JBow needs to wake up.
If Cole's on the block, get a forward. There were several competent 3rd line forwards available.
Bortuzzo doesn't look to be anything but Joel Edmundson and Edmundson is finally healthy (is bigger, plays just as mean, is cheaper and has more upside).
Though like I said, in the end I can't be that wound up. Bouwmeester's going nowhere and I just don't know what the hell to do about Pietrangelo. They're not dealing Jackman either. Gunnarsson has actually been our best defenseman since Shatty went down and as a RH shooting offensive defenseman, he's damn valuable. So really, with a healthy Shattenkirk, you have 5 of those roles locked down with only the 6th D-man's job truly open. Michalek fits that role extremely well.
Yeah, this isn't a roster fix issue unless you're really looking to blow shit up and that's just a poor idea at this point in the season. This is an issue they're going to have to deal with internally - these guys need to find some sand quickly.
I hope they move Bouwmeester in the offseason. He's the real clog in this blueline, IMO. He's too soft to pair with Pietrangelo and costs too much to make a 2nd pairing guy. Someone like Phaneuf would be a great fit alongside Petro. At some point they built the team around puck-moving defenseman and then 1/2 of them forgot how to move the puck.
Olli Jokinen? Uh...where?
I guess you put him on the 4th line but didn't we just get Cracknell? Goc?
There has to be another move here; we're stockpiling 4th liners. Berglund has actually played extremely well for the last 3 weeks (as is his custom 'round this time of year; he'll get hurt and disappear again soon). Jaskin's a stalwart at this point. The top 9 forwards sure look set to me.
So WTF is the point here? They have to be peddling Ott. Jokinen could center the 4th with Reeves and Goc. Maybe. Hell, I dunno - this is a confusing deadline day.
Is the deadline 2 central?
Berglund almost has to be heading out. Jokinen doesn't make sense otherwise.
No love for Lindbohm? Kid has been tough and good lately. Good riddance to Cole. He has whatever disease Ryan Jackson has. Every time he does something good and gets more of a chance he pukes down his sweater.
I couldn't watch another blue zone giveaway from that talentless hack. Lindy has already passed him and edmundson is about to.
Cole has the same problems Bouwmeester does....at 10% the cost. I'm not sure exactly how much you expect from a guy that's never even been advertised as more than a 3rd pairing physical defenseman. And by all accounts, the guy we got for him is actually worse at pretty much everything hockey related...apart from being big.
I like Lindbohm but he's just another soft puck-mover. If he's your definition of 'tough' then I see where our disconnect is. This team needs a guy like Phaneuf, Kronwall, Weber, Chara, old school Pronger, etc.... Lindbohm is just a poor man's Shattenkirk. I do think he has a bright future ahead of him but right now he's just too young to play with the edge that I'm looking for. Rookies that will immediately get in guys faces are few and far between - there aren't many Barrett Jackman's out there. Think of how long it took Backes to become the hard-nosed ******* he's become on the ice. I want one of those on our blue line. Cole was actually pretty close to that. He'd give guys a stick to the spine when they weren't looking.
There's not a defenseman on this team that is willing to make guys pay to hang out in the crease. Jackman will on occasion but he's just not as effective as he used to be. Polak's physicality is really missed right now, IMO. We simply lack a defenseman who's purpose on this earth is to make life unpleasant for opposing forwards and I think that's a sorely needed element.
But at some point you have to untie the knot a little bit. We acquired Michalek essentially to replace Polak. We traded Polak for Gunnarsson and Ville Husso. We thought we needed Gunnarsson because we wanted a lefthanded shot who could cycle the puck.
We're about to put that exact player on the bench due to the acquisition of Michalek - Petteri Lindbohm.
So we could've just rolled with Bouwmeester, Pietrangelo, Shatty, Lindbohm, Polak and Jackman. That would've been a little cheaper from a cap perspective and Letunov is a much better prospect than Husso, IMO - especially in our system where we already have Allen and Binnington.
Granted, that's not entirely fair as most people didn't see Lindohm being ready this soon - but isn't that kinda Armstrong's job? Rather than shuffling deck chairs for 5 months, wouldn't it have been nice for him to have just seen the talent in one of the guys in his system?
I just feel like we're spinning our wheels sometimes and all the maneuvering with the defense corps over the last 9 months has really yielded essentially nothing. The D is about the same as it would've been had we simply stuck with our in-house options and in the process we traded the top scorer in the USHL and arguably the most skilled offensive player left in the system. With all the moves Armstrong is making, I'd like for a handful of them to actually improve the team when all is said and done.
And I didn't mean to imply that Lindbohm is such. Only that he's recently played with a grittiness and edge that I like to see. Have you been watching him recently, since he's gotten more ice time? Maybe...last 7-8 games or so? He's been hitting and getting physical and jumping into fights to defend his smaller forward teammates. He's not a Chara. No one is Chara. Chara isn't even Chara; he's like Bill Braske...his persona has become a cartoon of himself.
For the record, the league has made it infinitely tougher to be physical in this game, off the puck. You can't just shove people around anymore without taking interference penalties. We've gone from a game more like football in its physicality to a game more like basketball. You can "post up" down low, but don't extend your arms. IMO, the league's gone too far. I'd like to see them reduce the size of the goalie pads a little, but allow a little more bodying up off the puck again. I just hate how many goals are junk rebounds and silly screens and redirections. I'd like to open the game back up for more finesse again, and reducing goalie pads would increase the odds of playmakers making plays and scoring, while allowing more bodying up down low would reduce the number of junk goals. I don't want to inflate the scoring, I just want to shift it back to snipers and dekers and away from screeners and junk bangers that it's become.
Cole is several years into NHL experience (albeit limited) and was originally promoted as a future top 4 all around defender. I think the org has been very patient with him and it's become apparent that he's never going to reach that ceiling. He still plays green. When you turn up the pressure on him, he makes mistakes that cost the team.
On Bowme...I'll watch him more closely. Salary aside, he does a lot of good things to make up for occasional boners. For instance, his long long reach is underappreciated. He makes a lot of plays with his stick that others simply wouldn't reach. Now, whether those positives outweigh any negatives to the tune of his healthy salary...I don't know. He plays with more poise and maturity than Cole, and I'm sick of waiting around for Cole to develop it.
It's obvious that one thing the Blues do well is play a physical (forward) game. However, for all that size and physicality, they sorely lack speed. It's how Chicago beat us last year...that and our refusal to MOVE on the power play.
Chicago was a team that could spend no more than 10% of the clock in your zone, look like they're getting dominated in the back and forth play, and then like a #$@#ing rattlesnack, jump up and strike you in milliseconds on a fastbreak that of course they'd net like they were just toying with you the whole time. So incredibly frustrating. We didn't have the speed to beat them to pucks or catch them on breaks. And it's obvious again this season. We have to play a "safe" game and never get caught pinching, because no one is going to help the goalie.
The SOB line is unquestionably a 'half-court' offense but then again, they're so defensively responsible that they create odd-man chances via takeaways or simply steam-rolling through the neutral zone.
I really don't understand why they're not scoring right now. I think a lot of it is because Tarasenko has gotten all corner-happy again. He's ringing pucks off the iron and 3-4 inches wide of the net again. When he gets in a bit of a slump, he gets really fine with his shooting and starts missing outright. With that release and with the ability of that line to cycle the puck from side to side (disrupting angles and positioning for the goalie), getting it on net is going to work out really well for him more often than not. Additionally, Steen's been cold of late and he seems to be the guy that really controls whether or not that line is going to excel offensively. When he's on his game, that whole line starts scoring. When he drops off (as was the case early in the season), that line suddenly can't generate offense at all.
So when the two best scorers on your top two lines aren't feeling it, it stands to reason that your offense isn't going to click. I think it'll come around for both guys.
there have been few joys this hockey season as great as watching Tarasenko really blossom. One that comes close, though, is watching Jaskin quickly become a difference maker. He's big. He plays big, but he still has skill. He skates and moves, with and without the puck. He's aggressive. He plays well beyond his years. And because of him, the Bergie-Staz-Jaskin line is really clicking. He's what we always hoped Bergie would be. He's Backes-lite.
It's thrilling to think about the Blues future with Tank, Schwartz, Jaskin, Rattie and Fabbri. The "must win it now or we're doomed" feeling is dissipating. But, please, win it now anyway. Because for #$#@s sake, it's time already.
Rattie? He just doesn't do anything. He's not particularly hard to knock off the puck, he doesn't fight into the corners, he's not fast through the neutral zone.
Do you remember Peter Sejna? Justin Papineau? Yeah...probably not fondly if at all. Rattie reminds me of both of those guys - players that are purely offensive minded but simply don't have the skill to get it to translate at this level (or the grit to play a different style). In the end, I don't think he has the firepower to be a top 6 forward or the style of game to make himself a useful 3rd liner. I'm not holding out a lot of hope for him these days, but he's still young enough that you at least give him next year before the organization starts looking for alternatives.
That said, the emergence of Lindbohm is a nice surprise. McRae might actually make himself into a 3rd liner one of these days (probably more likely a 4th, but still better than I'd have expected). Fabbri's injury may make next season in STL a pipe dream but Barbashev is still tearing it up in Juniors (4th rated P/G player in the QMJHL and as physical a 2-way player, that's damn impressive). I wouldn't be shocked to see both guys in the Note in the 16-17 season. Beyond that, the forwards didn't progress much this year.
From a purely developmental standpoint, the emergence of Jaskin and Linbohm probably makes this a plus season, but beyond Fabbri and Barbashev, there's not a ton on the horizon from the forwards. Colton Parayko, OTOH, appears to really be emerging as a possible stud defender for us in the near future. Massive D-man with a big shot essentially playing in a D-III league w/ little NHL competition. Scouts seem to love the potential but the learning curve will be steep. The Blues need to get him signed and into the AHL soon. Could be a Polak type of 2nd pairing defenseman.
It would sure be nice to see a guy emerge from the forward corps Lindbohm style.
Other people are starting to notice how bad Bouwmeester has been this year:
He's not just overpaid, he's actively making the team worse.
Last edited by Oz-iz-God; 03-08-2015 at 11:15 AM.
I'm not arguing in favor of Bowme, but that article is pretty thin gruel. The author makes no argument for why the Blues might be better off without him on the ice, and no criticism of his actual play, only a small population of statistics that control for exactly zero other potential factors.
An absolutely ridiculous game last night, blowing a 3 goal lead in the 3rd period and only winning on a last minute fluke shot by Jackman from beyond the blue line that the Winnipeg goalie lost sight of. They deserved to lose that game. I officially have goalie anxiety. Elliott does not look like The Man right now.
Elliott got a little unlucky and a little bent over by his team. They were once again thinking the other team would mail in the third period
No matter how well the Blues play now it could all be gone in the first round of the play-offs. It means very little, except home ice advantagein the Stanley Cup (if they ever make it) , to win the President's Trophy.
Blues go down to Vancouver and lose Tarasenko in the process. Steen is also out and Elliott remains shaky. I'm having flashbacks to the last two weeks of last season and not the fun kind.
I've got nothing.
Maybe this will be like Lynn. I was the last guy to give up on him right before he turned into a legit #2 starter.
I can't see any reason to have expectations about this franchise anymore. They've ****ing slept through the last month anyway. The only good news is that the Blues have proven that they're no more likely to get past the first round when they're playing well than they are when they're playing poorly. So from that standpoint, this stretch of absolute crap doesn't actually change anything.
P.S. Bouwmeester is absolutely untradeable now.
Most nights, he's the worst player on the ice. He's staggeringly bad. He's slow, he's completely hopeless on offense and he's become so scared whenever he gets the puck on his stick that he just starts looking for ways to get rid of it. That generally involves giving it to the other team.
If the Blues could send him down and then lose him on re-entry waivers so they're only forced to carry half his contract on their cap while he plays for someone else for the remainder of it's duration, they'll be better off for it. He's garbage.
We've got some guys to get healthy, and some playing time issues allocation issues to fix (though I'm not sure we will).
But I'm not going to get too terribly chicken little about things when we're losing a couple games in a row while out-shooting the opponents.
Sometimes, there's some fluctuation to things.
Not our best hockey, but there's some natural ebb & flow of the outcome of shooting % that amplify the perception of the results.
B. L. U. E. S.
Blow Leads Usually Every Spring
This team is on standby for the playoffs. They've battled that attitude the entire 2nd half.
And despite Oz's best attempt to assure me that Hitch is the man, Oshie in the press saying they've got "information overload". Why do the players have to air their frustrations via the press?
Hitch has this team puckered tighter than a nuns as5hole.