As the season winds down, the Blues fan has a few tough decisions to make. How to cheer for the team to win, but yet also get a good draft pick? How to answer the non-fan when they ask "So, how are the Blues doing?" How much beer to buy for the next Blues game? How can I best rationalize this level of drinking? And also, what team will I be pulling for, come playoff time? Tonight's game could be considered an audition for the Phoenix Coyotes as your playoff team. Obviously, tonight we cheer for the boys in Blue. But, come mid-April, you might find yourself pulling for the Desert Dogs.
The Enemy: The Phoenix Coyotes are hoping to rebound off of a loss to Shitcago, which ended a 5-game winning streak. They are in 4th place in the West, and only 3 points behind San Jose for the Pacific Division lead. While the playoffs aren't quite a sure thing, yet, they are at the top end of the crowded field in the middle of the Western Conference standings. They have plenty of drive to finish strong down the stretch, and also make a run during the playoffs. Keith Yandle is second in the league in defensemen scoring, with 57 points (11G /46A). They have reliable goaltending in Ilya Bryzgalov, who has posted a 2.54/ .920 stat line this year. Aside from Yandle, there really isn't any one single player that is lighting up the league leader boards in scoring. Yet, they get the job done, as evidenced by their position in the standings. Shane Doan is second on the team with 55 points (18G/ 37A) and Ray Whitney is third with 53 points (14G/ 39), rounding out the remainder of the 50-point guys. They continue to get better, though, and I believe the years of adversity and rumors of the team leaving AZ have bonded these guys, and formed them into something bigger than simply the sum of their parts.
All that being said, though... For tonight, let's get 'em. If it bleeds, we can kill it (evidence below).
This will close out the West Coast road trip, and will be the last late start of the season. The puck drops at 9:00 PM St Louis time, with the GDT coming along shortly beforehand. The broadcasts are on the usual outlets, FSMW for TV, and the mighty KMOX for radio. Until then, this is your pregame warm-up. Meet here, practice your Doan-face, bitch about late starts, and enjoy this fight video. For all the talking up of the Yotes, one of my favorite PHX moments is when "Big Country" Matt Walker absolutely destroyed Ed Jovanovski:
Hockey Fights - Ed Jovanovski bloodied by Matt Walker (via UltraSharpHockey)