I wrote for our paper today that the Blues need to look at the three games this week as must-win games. Not because it's time to panic about the standings, but because it's time for the Blues to beat these teams they are supposed to beat. Especially at home. Especially in January. The Coyotes are a good team. The Oilers are a good team. The Avalanche are a good team. But the Blues are better than all three.
Go get those six points this week.
So far, so good. Bullets? Why yes, I have some bullets.
- Where you at, Barret Jackman haters? He played almost 23 minutes (including 3:39 shorthanded), was plus-2 and added an assist on Jamie Langenbrunner's goal (as if just to answer for the morons who still want him to score like he's an offensive defenseman). I saw him play solid shutdown defense again. But I'm sure you saw something I missed, so let me know how he failed you this time.
Jaroslav Halak is starting to strike me as a goaltender who thrives under competition. In Montreal, he played best when he was pushing Carey Price out of the starting job. Last year in St. Louis, as the undisputed No. 1 guy with Ty Conklin firmly grasping the "I'm cool over here on the bench" role, he faltered. Start of this year, again as the undisputed guy, he struggled. Now that he's fighting for starts with Dancing
BillyBrian Elliott, he's playing some of his best games. Since Ken Hitchcock took over (which is right around the time Elliott started getting a lot of starts), he has allowed two or fewer goals in 10 of the 13 games he has started. Whether Elliott sticks around next year or not, the Blues need a backup who can push this guy.
- At the start of this season, I used to joke with the guy who sits in front of me at the games that whenever we saw Jamie Langenbrunner on the ice wearing No. 15, we couldn't help but think he was Brad F. Winchester. He was that bad. But lately, Langenbrunner has played his role well and I hardly ever think he's "Can't Teach Size" anymore. He is a bottom-six guy who backchecks, forechecks and plays good defense. He creates some chances and can chip in, like he did tonight.
- A guy who buys the paper from us every game is fond of telling me, "We get Oshie, Berglund and Stewart going, we'll be alright. Four, five goals a game and we'll be alright." It may be oversimplifying a tad, but lo and behold, all three of those guys scored, the Blues got four and got the win. I bet that dude is feeling pretty smart about right now.
- On a related note, the post-game show on the radio mentioned that when the Blues score three or more goals, they are 17-0 this year. So, you know, get Oshie, Berglund and Stewart going, get four, five goals a game and we'll be alright, I guess.
- During the game we found out via Twitter that Matt Hulsizer is apparently out as potential Blues owner and it's Tom Stillman's group thyat is now on the clock. He has had two offers rejected already, so I'm wondering what the relationship must be like between the minority partner and Checkett's group. Seems like it might be frosty. Either way, as a fan, I don't really care who gets control of the club, but I do see an advantage to having a local group in charge. That said, more than a local group, I want a deep-pocketed group. Please let us get someone who has some money to spend and a willingness to let GM Doug Armstrong do what he needs to do to improve the club.
Back at it on Thursday, but give us your thoughts in the comments.