The theme for tonight's GT paper was some collective thinking that occurred independently: I mentioned it, but Brad Lee put it most succinctly when he wrote that, "Steve Ott isn't worth writing or reading about."
My point was that the Blues are too good at this point to lose their focus on the two points at hand by getting caught in the meaningless and fruitless Steve Ott Vortex. Let him run around and pull his borderline antics and just go get the two points the game offers. The Blues did a good job of that, though I'd love to have a recording of what Barret Jackman had to say to him when he was talking to him while he was on the ice trying futilely to draw a penalty, Mike Ribeiro style.
It's a Monday night that feels like a Saturday, so Imma bulletpoint this bad boy and start drinking like I got nowhere to go tomorrow. Which I don't so, you know, thousand points of light.
- I was surprised that Evgeni Grachev's goal was his first in the NHL, but I guess that's because he was such a preseason scoring machine. Talk about your unwanted title, Grachev has to hope that the dam has a crack in it now and he'll make us forget that he was great in the meaningless preseason and stop being meaningless in the regular season.
- David Perron had yet another great game tonight, so I guess it's safe to say that his break-in period after his concussion is officially over. Perron had the reputation in his first couple years of being a little self-centered and a little immature. Either that was wrong or he has grown into the role of seasoned NHLer. Chris Kerber made mention on the post-game that Perron broke out of the post-goal celebration and went and retrieved Grachev's first goal puck. That's a move that a solid team player makes. Add to that his two assists tonight to push his season totals to two goals and 10 points in 10 games and the Blues have added a guy to the roster at no additional cost that has the value of having made an impact trade.
- Kevin Shattenkirk continues to look great rushing the puck, and more confident and poised in all three zones. I'm hearing a lot of people starting to mumble that he's better than Alex Pietrangelo. This is wrong. Pietrangelo is the Blues number 1 defenseman at this point and his play in all three zones is awe-inspiring. Remember, he's still only 21 years old, but he led all Blues in ice time at 22:45 (actually down from his average of over 24 minutes a game) and he played short handed and on the power play. He is all that is man.
- While I'm on the defense I'd just like to note that when I hear you in the stands complaining about Barret Jackman, I just assume you're an idiot. You can have your beliefs, I have mine. But I believe that anyone who sees every little error made by No. 5 and yells out must be some sort of mental defective. Just try to notice that it's Jackman's solid defense that allows Shattenkirk the loose reign to rush the puck and jump up like a fourth forward. Try to notice that far more often than not, he separates the man from the puck without taking a dumb penalty. Try to see that rather than make a risky play with the puck, he always makes the safe play. Or don't, I don't care. Keep yelling at him like he's terrible. It helps me identify people to avoid.
- Good on ya, Adam Cracknell. Peoria's captain came up on short notice today and got a big goal for the team. I don't expect him to ever be a top-six guy in St. Louis, but I think he's got a valuable role in being a leader in Peoria and a responsible, hard-skating depth guy who can play in St. Louis when needed and not be a liability.
- Chris Stewart. Goddamn, man. The word on Stewart has always been that he's streaky when it comes to hitting the net, so let's hope his bank-play off the goalie and his "you take it, no you take it, fine I'll take it" empty netter with Perron combine to start a goal scoring streak for him. His fellow struggling scorers Matt D'Agostini and Patrik Berglund both had good chances again tonight and if they can start contributing too, the Blues could get very scary very quickly.
- Jaroslav Halak is no Dancin' Brian Elliott when it comes to shut-down goaltending, but he's doing enough to win lately. He's clearly seeing the weaker opponents while Elliott gets the tougher matchups, but he's finally getting wins, so let's take what we get. I'm not terribly psyched that hard shots to the top shelf seem to be his kryptonite, because it seems like that's where every NHL shooter tries to go when he gets an open look, but he did a good job of fighting off second and third chances and scrambles in front tonight.
In Detroit tomorrow, and that'll be a test, but as Jay-Z says, on to the next one. As I mentioned in my article tonight, I think Mike Babcock is a bit of an idiot, but he's not so dumb as to take the Blues lightly for a third time this season. After losing the first two to the Blues, he will definitely have the Wings ready to play and some game plans in place. The Blues can send a big message with a tough road game tomorrow, let's hope they're ready for a war.
First NHL goal:
Post game interviews with Grach and Perron: