Andy McDonald Is The Heart Of The St. Louis Blues

No. 10 may be small, but he's played big so far in these playoffs.

I argued a few years ago that center Andy McDonald was the best player on the Blues. I don't know if that's the case anymore, but I think you can make a case for him being the heart of the team.

In the last two years he's suffered two major concussions. Dude has a Stanley Cup ring. He's gotten paid. I'm sure he still has a house in Anaheim where he could spend his days on the beach. He's 34 years old. He as a lot of life to live after he hangs up the skates and no one wants to see him do it with a traumatic brain injury. Yet here he is, in the thick of every playoff game so far.

Saturday night he took a shot to the head from a player leaving his feet. The hit cracked his over-sized, made to fight concussions helmet. What's he do the next time out, Game 3 in San Jose? Score a huge goal and grab two assists in the 4-3 win. In the meantime, he's taking a physical punishment from guys taller and 30 or 40 pounds heavier. He took a crosscheck into the boards at the end of a period. Yet none of this crap phases him. He plays with reckless abandon. And when the power play is clicking (next paragraph, please), he's the engine.

If the Blues are to advance to the next round, they have to be faster and smarter than the San Jose Sharks. They have to be tougher, in the right way. Monday night they held their composure, stood up to the Sharks when necessary and drew some important power plays leading to three goals with the man advantage. In other words, they have to do as a group what McDonald does most nights as an individual.

Oh sure, he's not the captain of the team, he's not playing on the No. 1 line. Because of his concussion, he didn't lead the team in points or goals or assists. But in the most important game of the series so far, McDonald was the No. 1 star.

One of these teams is going to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Why not the St. Louis Blues?

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