For the first time this year, the Blues are jetting to Denver to take on the Colorado Avalanche. And, for the first time this year, we get to ask the nice folks at Mile High Hockey a few questions about their team. This may or may not mention The Trade.
Ok, just kidding. It totally does.
1. NBCSN has us scheduled as the second part of a Rivals doubleheader -- I've found that they're pushing it with the rivalries a little bit (Minny and Chicago? Maybe 25 years ago). Do you consider the Blues and Avs rivals?
When I first heard NBCSN matched the Avs and Blues for a rivalry game, I laughed. It's definitely a stretch. There are only two things that, in my opinion, have created any tension between the teams, and the first has been made moot by the second: Chris Stewart's uncanny ability to score goals against the Blues and the trade. Neither of those things are big enough reasons to call this a rivalry. But, hey, if it gets the teams some national attention, we'll be your huckleberries.
2. So, about that trade...
Sigh. That trade. Honestly, I'm tired of people arguing about it. It remains a point of contention on MHH. Arguments ensue whenever it's brought up. Here's the bottom line, cutting through all the crap: both teams got what they needed. Crazy, huh? Yes, losing Shattenkirk hurt, especially with the anemic offense we're getting from the D right now, but he still needs protection (and probably always will to a degree) with his defensive assignments. The Avs needed a top-pairing defenseman who could handle both. Hello Erik Johnson. Stewart? Good riddance. I doubt his new-found commitment will last, and I like getting consistent performances. The draft picks (often forgot in this scenario) are probably the most intriguing part of the trade, and no one will know the fruits of that labor for many years. I like what I see in Duncan Siemens, and a Siemens/Johnson pairing is just too awesome to pass up. Dem jokes. I do wish the Avs had kept McClement, but I understood why they let him walk. I mean, the team already has a defensive forward to man the third line with O'Rei--- /bangs head on desk
3. Speaking of Erik Johnson, what's your opinion of his play as a whole? I know he's bunged up right now; what will be asked of him when he comes back?
You only need to look at how horrible the Avs defense has been the past few games to know what an important part of it Johnson was. Losing him hurt. Bad. He may not have been putting up the numbers, but he was consistently one of the top three Avs' players on the ice on any given night. The team's chances at a playoff spot are ridiculously low already, but without Johnson, it's just not going to happen. If and when he gets back (you never know with concussions, unfortunately), he will be expected to continue playing that smart defensive hockey he has been, but like the rest of the Avs' blueline, he'll need to get some pucks in the net. This can best be done by refraining from shooting the pucks directly into the shin pads of the opposing team, Erik.