River Readings, Jan. 29, 2012

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By Brian Weidler, "Game Time" Prospect Department


TWO STEPS FORWARD, ONE STEP BACK:

Rivermen continue to tread water in AHL playoff race.

Two wins in three games this week helped move the Rivermen back into the AHL's Western Conference playoff race, but they continued to lose ground to the division leaders.

A 6-3 win on Tuesday afternoon over Milwaukee was followed up with a solid 4-2 win over Grand Rapids on Friday night, but a 5-3 loss to the Griffins on Saturday, coupled with the Chicago Wolves' third straight road win on Friday, left the Rivermen five points out of second place in the Midwest Division as the AHL All-Star Break looms this week.

According to Rivs' beat writer Dave Emenian, there was Blues' brass aplenty in attendance Saturday night, including Doug Armstrong and Director of Player development Tim Taylor. None of them could have been any too pleased with Allen's performance, and especially not with the goal he gave up to Fabian Brunnstrom on the play that starts at 0:21 of the video below:

At the very least, Allen's sophomore slump is making it harder for Armstrong to pull the trigger on a Ben Bishop trade. If "Jake The Snake" cannot put the team on his back and carry it successfully without Bishop to fall back on -- and if Saturday's game is any indication, that's not an option at this point -- Armstrong has got to know that trading Bishop means the end of Peoria's playoff pursuit, and the Blues are counting on a Peoria playoff run to fuel the development of players like Allen, as well as Philip McRae, Tyler Shattock, Anthony Nigro, Stefan Della Rovere, Mark Cundari and others.

STONE COLE BELIEVER:

Per Dave Eminian, it's possible that defenseman Ian Cole could be staying in Peoria for a while, but don't think that he's not aware of his place in the organization's present -- and it's future.

"I was talking to some buddies back home, and they said 'Don't you want to get traded, be somewhere you can play right now?'" Cole said. "I told them no way. I believe I could play in a top six defense unit every night for some other NHL teams. But I look at what is happening in St. Louis, a young team rising fast — and that's where I want to be. The Blues are going to be a top team in the NHL for a very long time, and I want to be a part of it."

THE WEEK IN REVIEW:

Peoria 6 vs. Milwaukee 3, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012.

Peoria 4 vs. Grand Rapids 2, Friday, Jan. 27, 2012.

Peoria 3 vs. Grand Rapids 5, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012.


THE WEEK AHEAD:

Milwaukee

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Friday, February 3, 2012 ... Game Time 7:00 PM CST at Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NHL Affiliate: Nashville Predators.

Chicago

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Saturday, February 4, 2012 ... Game Time 7:00 PM CST at Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois. NHL Affiliate: Vancouver Canucks.


RIVERMEN NEWS LINKS:

01/24/12 -- Rivermen delight 7,082 area students with 6-3 win (Peoria Journal Star).

01/27/12 -- Blues assignees Porter, Cole lead Rivermen past Griffins Peoria Journal Star).

01/28/12 -- Rivermen fade in 3rd, lose 5-3 to Griffins (Peoria Journal Star).

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