"Not so awesome."
Tonight the Leafs have to face yet another trade that isn't working out in their favor. A couple months ago, in Boston, the Leafs and their management had to hear the Boston crowd chant, "Thank You Kessel!" after their rookie, Tyler Seguin, scored on the Leafs in a winning effort. Seguin, you see, was selected with the 2nd overall draft pick which was acquired from Toronto (along with another likely lottery pick this year) for the scoring winger Phil Kessel.
And while Kessel is a just fine young player who could turn out to be a real stud at some point, the clearly rebuilding Maple Leafs did not make a wise decision in trading away the picks they did in order to acquire him.
Which brings us back to tonight. Alexander Steen and Carlo Colaiacovo play in Toronto for the first time since the Leafs traded them to the Blues back in 2008. Both players were selected in the first round of their draft years by the Leafs and both had a hard time playing to expectations under the media microscope that is Toronto. The trade to St. Louis allowed them to relax, not be afraid to make a mistake and to rediscover their games.
Since the trade, both Steen and Colaiacovo have put up career numbers and both have signed follow-on contracts to stay with the rising Blues. For their side of the deal, Toronto has basically nothing to show for it. Lee Stempniak, a one-time fan favorite in St. Louis, never did much damage wearing the blue and white and was traded last year at the trade deadline to Phoenix, where he promptly went on a torrid point-per-game scoring streak. Cue Debby Downer music.
Tonight the Blues need to not play to their competition and instead go out to demolish a weak Leafs team that still manages to beat good teams and play close games. They need to go out with the goal to make the Toronto fans groan every time Colaiacovo lays out a guy with a good hit and doesn't go all Splodeybones. They need to want the Leaf fans to put their heads in their hands after Steen blows a laser past their goalie.
They need to want to avoid David Payne running another bag skate on their asses tomorrow morning.
A win puts the Blues back up in the four or five seed range of the standings. A loss would be demoralizing and would likely see them fall out of the top eight spots in the incredibly tight Western Conference.
FSN for TV, KMOX for radio, see how the other side lives over at Pension Plan Puppets, and stay right here for your GDT.
Make 'em cry, baby, make 'em cry.