Coach Hitch is always trying something new with the team .... - Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports
RM: Blues Audition for a Leading Role in LA
The second stop on this road trip takes the Blues to Los Angeles to face the Kings. The first time we faced them, it was at the end of the original losing streak, and it continued with a 4-1 loss. Now we have a second chance. Halak will likely be in net, but this time we'll be missing Alexander Steen, Andy McDonald, and Vladimir Tarasenko. That's a lot to be missing, so the Blues front office has brought in ... Jason Arnott? That's just crazy enough to work! While he hasn't been signed (yet), he's been skating and practicing with the team on this road trip. It sounds like a contract offer is pretty imminent. There's a lot about this that makes sense: a familiar face for the team, someone that knows the system, and he brings experience to a team that lost Jamie Langenbrunner. I suppose the call went out for a Mean Old Man.
The Enemy: The Kings were originally predicted to be one of the top teams out of the West, and even a favorite to repeat as Cup champs: the lockout extending the offseason for them would prevent the usual Stanley Cup hangover. They got off to a slow start, and people started to reel in those expectations. As of Monday night, the Kings sit in 11th place, out of playoff position. However, that's pretty misleading: there are only 4 points separating 4th-place San Jose from 14th-place Edmonton.
Those positions will change only slightly overnight, as the Kings are playing (beating) the Nashville Predators Monday. The Blues will be catching them on the second of back-to-back nights. Hopefully, the Kings wore themselves out with all that scoring. Looking at LA's stats, it sticks out that Jeff Carter accounts for a fourth of their offense (11 of 48 team goals). Add to that a hat trick Monday night on Pekka Rinne. The overall points leaders for the Kings are Anze Kopitar (6-12-18) and Mike Richards (4-9-13). Reportedly, Richards also ranks first in LEADERSHIP!
Final Verse: Our European friends may want to take a nap first - being in LA, the game doesn't start until 9:30 St Louis time. The TV broadcast is on Fox Sports MW, and the radio call will be on KMOX 1120 AM. The GDT should drop shortly ahead of the puck. Until then, this is your pregame warmup. Reheat the leftover bitterness from last year's postseason, and channel that towards tonight's game. Surely our boys can find some motivation tonight. Here's a memory aid - as if it's needed ...