When Jackets like Zherdev and Nash and Brule score, I have a hard time getting upset, because they're skilled young players and the new rules are supposed to help guys like this score. But Zherdev didn't score. Nash didn't play. When Luke "The Statue" Richardson scores, you know it's garbage. And Aaron Johnson's goal wasn't his type of goal. He's a guy who shoots from the point typically. But he was down low on the back door side because Jody freakin' Shelley was banging away at the front door. Jody Shelley gets the first assist. THAT sucks, because Jody Shelley sucks. He's out there to fight, so it hurts when he gets points against you.
I still like Sanford in net. I think the Blues play with more confidence in front of him than they do in front of Patrick "No one shoots top shelf" Lalime. I also like Wideman. I'm not the biggest Blues prospect watcher, but he's got a shot and he seems confident in the offensive zone. I still like Matt Walker, and not just because he was nice to my kid once, the kid I will reference later in this post. I like that he got into it with Mike Rupp for continuing to the net well after the whistle. Rupp is just trying to get attention so he can stay with the big club even though he can't score at all. He's also way, way bigger than Walker, who didn't back down and wouldn't let Rupp get to Sanford.
Weight looked good, but, if any of you read my Editor column in the LA issue, you'll know how I feel about this one. Tonight, he did get some time with Tkachuk, which seems like a good idea, but it just didn't click. Call me crazy, but I think Weight might just make McAmmond look like a 30-40 goal scorer if they spent a bunch of time together. Tkachuk's style just doen't seem to naturally fit with Weight's. Tkachuk just need someone to put the puck on net, which Weight doesn't do much. Weight needs a speedy guy and Dean has shown the ability to score.
I'm worried about my guy Dallas Drake. To me, Drake has long been the guy to watch. Here's a long story for you. Seroiusly, go pee now before you get in to this. The day before free agency opened back in 2000, I actually made the comment to a few people that I hoped the Blues would sign Dallas Drake and then Sean Hill, because they would both fit well on the current team. One day later, I was 'I told you so'ing all over the city and the county, as the Blues had signed both. Well, Hill didn't work out so well, as he was behind Pronger and MacInnis in the offensive d-man food chain and his big hits, while crowd pleasing, took him out of position too often for Coach Quenneville's liking and he was shipped out in a waiver deal. He's been solid in Carolina and Florida ever since. I'm bitter because he could have been a great Blue. He just never grooved in the system.
But, back to Drake. He made such an impact on a team that was considered soft that he became my guy on the team. As I've mentioned, the hard-nosed two-way guys that are grinders and muckers are the guys I admire the most out there. And Drake was the guy. Regulation. In addition, he was the one who talked up St. Louis to his soon-to-be-traded buddy, Keith Tkachuk. At the time, the Tkachuk trade was gigantic. And I'm not making a joke there. At the time, Handzus, Nagy, Taffe and a 1st rounder was a just less than a steal for number 7. He was arguably one of the best two or three power forwards in the NHL at the time (Tkachuk, Bertuzzi, Shanahan, in no particular order). Now, you'll see everyone pick apart that trade as stupid, but I want you to always remember that at the time, it was a great deal for the Note. A great player for great youth deal always ends up looking bad, unless the deal gets the first team a Cup. In our case, it did not.
But, again, back to Drake. Drake was THE hard-hat guy. Drake did all the stuff away from the puck that his teammates loved. Drake went into the corners. Drake went hard to the net. Drake knocked the living snot out of people. Drake fought for his teammates. Drake fought to send a message.
I was singing his praises during every game. At that time, Liz was pregnant with our second child, a boy. I no longer remember how it happened, but the wifeditor and I came to an agreement during the playoffs. If the Blues won the Stanley Cup, the boy would be named Dallas Drake Gallagher.
Needless to say, my son has a different name.
That's OK, I guess, because if they'd won and my kid was Dallas Gallagher, then our friend Rich Norris would have lost a perfectly good nickname in "Just One Cup Before I Die".
But, again, back to Dallas Drake. When he was named Captain this year, I was McDonalds. Not as excited when I was awarded the "Dallas Drake Hard Hat" Award at the final Game Night Revue awards, but I was pretty psyched. Now, he'd get the recognition. Now, people would see what I was talking about. Now I'd stop getting all those crazy looks when I told the Dallas Drake Gallagher story.
But, unfortunately, I may be forced to add Dally to my growing list of people who have been passed by the new game. Drake was off to a blazing start this year and just drilling people. But he was taking penalties, too. And, as will happen on every team this year, players are adjusting the way they play in order to fit inside the new parameters. And Drake has been fitting in. But now, he's not the same Drake. Gone is the same guy who should have the hard hat named after him. Gone is the warrior. Gone is the guy who everyone knows is on the ice so they remember to keep their heads up.
Gone, gone, gone.
But I still wish my kid was named Dallas Drake Gallagher.
In GT news, I hope you all enjoyed the John Buccigross (ESPN) interview. Yes, it was real. I don't think he really wanted to do it, but he was gracious enough to give me some of his time. My thanks go to GT uberfan Chris Reed for setting that up. Way to go #8. Also, thanks to Bernie Miklasz, who was nice enough to put a bit about us in his column on Saturday.
I sat up in section 333 tonight thanks to Julie and her brother Russ, who are both GT type of people. Julie showed up at the game in her jersey, as were all three of her youngsters, including at least one of the 1990's variety. Dave Checketts may have pulled out of the Blues bidding, but I bet if he'd met Julie and her kids when he was here, he'd have finished the deal. Those kind of fans are the real deal.
Up in 333, I saw a couple of people using the GT to track players while the action was going on. Thank you. I promise that the salaries are coming soon, because I know you want that info, too. Check the Foundations and the Ref Stats, too, next time. They're pretty interesting as the game goes on.