Will Jaroslav Halak be St. Louis' lucky charm this season? (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Here we are in the midst of the preseason for the Blues and it's time for the team to be featured on the SBNHockey page as part of a series of previews. If you head over there Monday, you can expect to see some burning questions not even penicillin could treat.
Here at Game Time, we're on the hook for a preview of the Blues. This is that. At least for now. Other writers may have their own previews. Not that they'll be able to top this one.
This offseason the Blues allowed Keith Tkachuk to retire, Chris Mason to sign with Atlanta and told Paul Kariya his spaceship for Marklar 3 left at 14 o'clock after he admitted he thought he was Bruce Wayne since December. They acquired goaltender Jaroslave Halak, promoted Doug Armstrong to general manager, saw their CEO defect to the NFL in Seattle, are still looking for a new majority investor and removed the interim tag from Davis Payne's title. In other words, they didn't add a lot, there's lots of upheaval in the front office and still most pundits are penciling them in for the playoffs next spring. Ah, the fresh smell of optimism.
The only way to really get into the season is to break down each guy and try to get at his essence as a player on a relatable level. To me, that means breakfast cereal, one of the most versatile and diverse food groups you'll ever find. So lets start the season with a healthy/fruity/sugary look at your 2009-10 Blues (or at least the Blues we think will have an impact on the season, which means I don't have to come up with a horrible tasting cereal to compare Dave Scatchard to, knock on wood).
David Backes: Frosted Mini Wheats. With the frosted minis, you've got a sweet side and so does Backes. Remember his end-to-end goal in the Olympics? His four goals at Detroit two seasons ago (should have been five, but you get the point)? And the frosted minis have a serious side, a fiber side. Backes has led the league in hits. He mixes it up in front of the net. He's tough. Just like the other side of Frosted Mini Wheats.
Patrik Berglund: Rice Crispies. You really need to add some sugar for it to be good, but when it's good, it sings to you. And when it's not, it's soggy and you wonder why you got it. Ladies and gentlemen, Patrik Berglund.
Brad Boyes: Fruit Spins. You're in a hurry at the grocery store. The Lingerie Football League game is starting on MTV2, your favorite team, Philadelphia, is playing. You forgot to set the DVR. You reach for the Fruit Loops. You grab Fruit Spins. They look similar. They taste nothing alike. Boyes sure looked like a genuine goal scorer when he topped the 40-goal mark three years ago. And then he potted 13 last season. It's worse than reaching for a box in the pantry and discovering an empty box someone put back in the pantry without telling you, making it appear you had some awesome cereal in your future and now you're disappointed. And pissed.
B.J. Crombeen: Chex. Well at least you hope he checks because he's pretty much useless otherwise.
Matt D'Agostini: Reese's Puffs. I love Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. I love Reese's Pieces. I love peanut butter in general. I've never had Reese's Puffs. It looks like it might be something I'd like, but I don't really know. I might like D'Agostini. He looks like a player I might like. But I have no idea.
Cam Janssen: Wheaties. I've met him away from the rink and he has forearms like Popeye. Dude loves a good two-minute fight, so he needs his strength and energy. This could be a comparison where the guy actually eats the cereal we compare him to.
Andy McDonald: Honey Bunches of Oates. It's sweet to watch Happy Meal hold the offense together when he's healthy and playing right. When he's on his game, he's the most important player on the team, the tie that binds.
T.J. Oshie: Frosted Flakes. Everybody likes Frosted Flakes. They're very popular with kids and adults alike, even for sugar cereals. It's a workmanlike cereal with simple flakes, but some pizzazz thrown in for good measure. That's Oshie in a nutshell. Plus, he had frosted tips.
David Perron: Fruity Pebbles. Part of the mythology of Perron is his white skates he showed up with his first training camp after being drafted. In the keep your head down NHL, that's colorful. And no, we're not going to make a correlation between being French Canadian and "fruity."
Vladimir Sobotka: Alphabits. If anyone on the Blues roster could use some more vowels, it's Sobotka.
Alex Steen: Count Chocula. At first I wanted to compare Steen to the prize you get in a cereal box because his emergence last year after being considered a first round bust in Toronto. But Joe wanted me to point out that Steen and Count Chockula might have been separated at birth.
Brad Winchester: Toasted Oates. That's the most generic cereal I could think of.
T.J. Hensik: Kashi. It's more mainstream now, but that started out as one of those cereals you have to find in the health food aisle and you forget it's even in the store. That's T.J. Hensik.
UPDATED: (I'm a moron)
Jay McClement: Golden Grahams. Growing up, my grandmother always had Golden Grahams at her house. And I loved having a bowl every single time we stayed there. But at our house, we never bought Golden Grahams. I don't know why. It's like we overlooked the cereal or something. Totally like Silent Jay McClement, quietly one of the most important players on the team.
Eric Brewer: Crunch Berries. Cap'n Crunch is one of the best cereals ever. Crunch Berries are horrible. They try to be the Cap'n, but those red berries are disgusting, making the cereal a shadow of the real thing. Even if everyone in the entire organization publicly says they like Crunch Berries, you and I know they're full of shit.
Carlo Colaiacovo: Cinnamon Toast Crunch. The little baker dudes they have in the commercials look European, but they definitely sound North American. When I have a bowl of the Toast Crunch, I usually eat it too fast because it's so good. I drink all of the milk because it's delicious. And then I want more. So glad they re-signed Colaiacovo. Definitely needed more of this Euro lookalike.
Barret Jackman: Cheerios. Just plain Cheerios. Nothing special about them. Just there. No sugar. No zing. Just Cheerios. Sure they can get a little boring, but they're Cheerios man. Our cheerios. And I would never boo my Cheerios. Cheer is in the name, man.
Alex Pietrangelo: Gerber Rice Cereal. This is one of the first foods they give to babies as they begin to develop. I have no idea what it tastes like, but it's appropriate for the former first round pick of the Blues who looked like a teenager playing with men the begging of the last two seasons when he got a brief look by the Blues before being sent back to Juniors.
Roman Polak: Raisin Bran. It's nothing special unless you really like raisins. Or bran. While Polak has some potential to grow his game, unless you're a fan of solid defenseman who are good skaters, you might not appreciate him.
UPDATED (what I get for being in a rush)
Erik Johnson: Life. That's the one that had the old commercial with the kid who they don't think he'll like it but it turns out Mikey likes it. He really likes it! Erik Johnson has just two seasons under his belt. But for the Blues to have a chance this season, he must play more like a veteran. He's still a kid experience-wise, but the guy has to play like a man.
Ty Conklin: Honey Nut Cheerios. They're nutty. He's nutty. Remember the hat and stache? Honey Nut Cheerios has a freakin' bee as a spokesman. What kind of a cereal has an insect as its spokesman? The bee is no toucan, no tiger, no frog. Conklin's no starter, but he's an important part of the team. And his antics created a little buzz last year.
Jaroslav Halak: Lucky Charms. Because if he's not this team's leprechaun, there will be a lot of people leaving to find their pots of gold at the end of another rainbow.
There you have it, your 2010-11 St. Louis Blues in the context of breakfast cereals, the kind of expert analysis you expect only from Game Time.