Don't get me wrong - I was really looking forward to the Olympic break. Not for the hockey, of which I knew I wouldn't see much. I needed the break to catch up on some things around the GT HQ. But after a few days of cleaning up files and getting some other backburner issues resolved, I got bored. Bored bored. Bored.
I'm just so glad they're back.
And it seems I'm not alone. I was flipping around the Center Ice package last night and tonight and almost every game I saw I heard the commentators say how glad they were to be back. There's just nothing like NHL hockey.
I know a few folks who have been proponents of the Olympic hockey tounament full of NHLers. I know a couple who were even able to catch games televised during the weekdays and even remembered to get up and flip on the Gold Medal game on Sunday morning.
But most hockey fans I know were working during a lot of those games and then forgot when the weekend ones were on. Or just didn't care.
But I digress. All I know is that I fall into the category of most of the announcers I heard over the last two days. I'm just glad the NHL is playing again. The game is just at its best on NHL ice. And you can't convince me otherwise.
Olympic Hockey and Larry Pleau
One curious thing from the Olympics I did catch was an interview with Larry Pleau about the team he helped select and the other teams in the tounament. I don't have the quote, but he made the comment that all of the good teams had good goalies. That most of the good teams were built around good goaltending.
Huzzah? Is this the GM of the St. Louis Blues talking about how all good teams are built around goaltending? Larry Pleau was named General manager on June 9th, 1997. In the almost nine years since, the Blues have employed Grant Fuhr and Jaime McLennan (neither brought in by Pleau), Brent Johnson (acquired just before Pleau was hired), Rich Parent (who?), Jim Carey (momentarily), Roman Turek, Reinhard Divis, Fred Braithwaite, Chris Osgood, Cody Rudkowsky, Tom Barasso, Curtis Sanford, Jason Bacashihua and Patrick Lalime. Nine of those players saw time in the last three seasons.
Not exactly the cornerstone of the franchise, eh?
I think that Sanford and Bacashihua could turn into real players in the position, and that Marek Schwartz could still become a good goalie for the team, but Mr. Pleau seems to be in a 'do as I say, not as I do' with this whole goaltending comment.
I think that when this team eventually gets sold, Larry Pleau will be given the opportunity to resign his position or have it resigned for him. I think that at that point, the new ownership and management ought to do their best to lure a franchise goalie like Roberto Luongo to St. Louis. Luongo has basically already made it known that he wants to see what the market will do for him this summer. With the cap locked and all teams having the same max they can pay, the Blues won't be at any disadvantage. They just need to sell the stellar young netminder, who is just coming into the prime age for goalies, that St. Louis is the place to be and that the team is heading towards a Cup run in the near future.
Let's get that cornerstone goalie that Larry Pleau says is necessary and has never actually gone out and gotten.
Blues v. Oilers
Wow. A lot of great things to take away from this game. The youthful exuberance that the team is showing is just exciting to watch. This bodes well for the future, too, as the Note build a big core group of youngsters who have NHL games under their belts. And they are getting big minutes, too. This will definitely help the team as it builds.
Keith Tkachuk is probably wishing that these rule changes had been implemented years ago. No one can stop him as he bulls to the net anymore. The move he used to go around Pronger for a goal tonight simply wouldn't have worked in the past. Pronger would have simply gotten on his back and dragged him down. Tonight, he was powerless to stop him.
Andy Strickland is reporting that the Blues have taken the club option on Tkachuk for next year, which is a no-brainer. Hopefully Big Walt will be motivated to be in camp in shape on time next year. If so, he could have a monster season.
There is some discussion on the GT message boards about Sejna, and I was going to talk about him more here, but honestly, I'm too frustrated to do it. Let's just get the kid up here and play him on a scoring line. Time to make him shit or get off the pot. Is he an NHLer or just a really good AHLer? Could we just find that out please?