Snark is intended . . . for a good lot of this. Read at your own risk. - DK
By the time you read this, there will be less than 36 hours until the puck drops (for real!) at the
Scottrade DrinkScotch Savvis Johnny Appleseed Kiel Center. I'll be there. I'll have fun. And if there's not at least one on-ice fight, I'll leave disappointed unless - of course - the Blues win.
But that's not why I'm spitting at you today. No, I'm going to give my completely biased, totally homer-like preview of my team . . . your team . . . OUR team . . . the St. Louis Blues. You're gonna enjoy what happens after the jump, trust me. But it won't be as good as this, I guarantee.
So yes, I am a homer. Do you think I give a shit what you think? Then why would I give a shit what prognosticators think the Blues are gonna do this year? Right. I didn't think so.
Sure, other than picking up a potential Goalie of the Future in Jaroslav Halak and swiping some third- or fourth-line grinder type in Vladimir Sobotka from the Boston Bruins, the Blues have pretty much done jack and/or shit this offseason, and Jack just bought train tickets. But that doesn't matter - we've got kids! LOTS of them! Some of them are playing for contracts and future places in the organization's plans. And nothing motivates kids like responsibility. Right? Oh. Damnit.
So here's a rundown of the key components as to how the Blues can - and WILL - succeed this year, beyond the aforementioned new Legend of the Revised Stop Sign and his backup, he of the awesome fashion sense and uncanny ability to not suck in short periods of ice time.
Shit is about to get real.
You can trash me if you want, but every team needs a guy like "SIR JAXX", the one and only Barret Jackman, on their team. You know he's going to make mistakes. You know he's going to overplay a forward at least once a game, leading to a premium scoring chance. But what ELSE do you know is going to happen? He's gonna give someone the "You're fucking stupid" look, and if he gets the wrong reaction from whoever it is he GIVES this look to, he's going to pound their ever-loving shit in (Of note - Jackman was junior teammates with current MLB hothead Nyjer Morgan. The More You KnowTM). Or take a piss on your face. Or something. And it will be fantastic. You can't replace this with anything - not even a robot.
Speaking of Eric Brewer . . . our weekday links guru has already proclaimed that this can be a solid season for this team's venerable robotic captain. I'm inclined to agree with him on mostly the same grounds on which Joe based his opinion - contract year, fully healthy for the first time in 24 months (save for this hip issue he's dealing with) - but add this: what about all this bitching and bickering about Brewer's worthiness as Blues captain (and for the record, I side on "No C For Brewer")? That's GOTTA piss off even the calmest robot, right? Just you watch - this guy's gonna put up a career year that puts his 2006-07 season to shame. And stop laughing at me, asshole!
The rest of the defense corps? Young, brutish and ready for action. Anyone who had the pleasure of having a ticket for last Saturday's preseason game got the pleasure of seeing Roman Polak literally LIFT HIMSELF AND ANOTHER MAN OFF THE ICE DURING A FIGHT! AND PUNCHED HIM ON THE WAY UP! Sure, it was Jeff Woywitka. It doesn't matter - that's another full-grown human being, and he pulled Woywitka AND himself off the ice - and punched him! - all in one motion. I can't wait for someone to completely goof and set Roman off this year. Someone will die. Then there's Eeej, Erik Johnson. All of a sudden, he's as big as a tank. Hopefully he's getting more accurate with that slapper. And Alex Pietrangelo . . . young, big, talented. Carlo Colaiacovo kinda gets lost in this shuffle, but the dude has some skills, as long as his bones don't explode. And Tyson Strachan. Enjoy that press box buffet, sir. It'll be fun!
Scoring? Hell yeah they can score! Just ask Jonas Hiller. Just ask Roberto Luongo. And if you want to argue about it, just ask Jonathan Toews. Brad Boyes may rebound and have another career year, which I think we're all entitled to believe COULD happen, but David Backes is playing for a contract. And despite what we want to believe, Backes IS human. He just won't look human on the ice this year. He won't score buckets full of goals, but 30 is not out of the question for this bad-ass. Then you have Frenchie (David Perron), Teeeeeeeeej (TJ Oshie), whatever's left of the potential of Patrik Berglund, FrankenSteen and his new contract and a variety of others that actually try to score goals. This could be more fun than the roster sheet shows at the outset of the season.
Silent Jay McClement? Your top-six forward will not score on him, so don't even try. Let's just say I'm fully on board with the Selke campaign. And if you want to try to pull your goaltender, get ready for an empty-netter. He gets half his goals per year doing that.
And while Cam Janssen may not kick your ass, he will leave you winded enough to make you skip several shifts after a fight with him. Then he'll knock you out in the second dance. And if he doesn't, BJ Crombeen will finish the job, then score a goal after he flummoxes a goaltender with the fact that, yes, he just got a shot-on-goal against you. SUH-PRIZE, BEEYOTCH!
All of these factors point toward what could be a terrific season for the Blues. Goaltending. Defense. Goal-scoring. Hey, it's a hockey team! Just like the other 29 of them!
Naysayers? I don't want to hear it. The Blues CAN be good this year - and not just "Filling out the playoff bottom-feeders" good. Legitimately good. Overly solid. Effective if not spectacular. They can get the job done. Good enough to justify giving Brad Winchester more than five minutes of ice time per night (OK, I'm running out of superlatives obviously).
Most prognosticators have the Blues either barely in the playoffs or just out of the playoffs. That's fucking nonsense, and they know it. Not a Stanley Cup contender? OK, you may have us there. Not good enough to be in the top four? Homey, please. Not better than Detroit? Now you're just fucked in the head. If I have any guarantees with how this season is gonna go, it's this - the Blues will be better than the Red Wings. Take it to the bank.
I can't wait for April. Not only will the playoffs begin in April, but all those idiots who had the Blues scraping into the playoffs or not getting there will have to kiss all our rosy-red asses and beg for playoff tickets at our beloved cylinder of hockey-viewing. And it will be fun.
Are you ready to hop on board? Let's do this shit.
LET'S GO BLUES!