Tonight, Andy Mac, Jackman, and their mostly young team take on a team from the other conference in a game with playoff implications.... And the Blues play, too!
OK, I cheated a little bit there, but our friend Dominik's team has a Tim Jackman, and an Andrew MacDonald (ours is a McDonald, but hey .... who's counting). And like the Blues, the Isles are trying to compete every night now while, at the same time, developing their youth for better things ahead. The Isles are all but eliminated from playoff contention, but that is NOT true for the Blues. The playoffs begin now, for all intents and purposes. Every game, regardless of the opponent, counts towards our standings. We cannot rely on help from around the league. That's not enough. We cannot play 45ish minutes of solid hockey. That's not enough. We cannot afford to overlook a likely-lottery-pick team .... that's not enough.
Don't let the record fool you. There's plenty of fight in this New York Islander squad. Their young guns, like John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Josh Bailey, and MacDonald have more than enough talent to compete with our youngsters. And don't doubt for a second that Doug Weight is going to be uber-motivated for tonight. Their record in the last 10 games is 3-7-0 ... but that includes a win over a tough Chicago team and 4 losses that were either by 1-goal or 1-goal and an ENG. They gave Philly a tough game Tuesday, until the trips to the box cost them the game. These close games are building up the pressure on the team - they've come close to winning, but just didn't have...
It's hard to get your hate on for this game - it's the Islanders for cryin' out loud! Whatever difficulty we have, though, is immaterial. We need our boys to get back on the winning track again, and it must begin tonight. Hopefully, the loss in Colorado will allow the Blues to keep focus. If we were still on a long winning streak, this could be a "trap" game. Since we don't have that streak running anymore, we can avoid that.
This is also your pregame pre-party. Since this is on the East Coast, the puck drops early - 6:00 PM St Louis time. Until then, meet here, bitch about early starts, and snicker about a team owned by a Wang, and GM'd by a Garth.
Party On! And LGB!