Call us sentimental, but we still kind of miss Lee Stempniak. Our Dutchie. Back to his earliest days with the Blues, we liked his offensive instincts, his willingness to work and the underdog nature of a nondescript-looking dude being able to one-time it on the weak side of the power play. We'll admit it, he's scrappy and we fell for it.
Well Dutchie is doing it again. He leads the Coyotes in goals with five and has scored 19 in his last 34 games coinciding with his escape from Toronto and his quiet arrival in the desert. This past summer we toyed with the idea of Stempniak coming back, but it seemed like his skill set and personality mesh well with what they're building in Phoenix. They have a lot of no-name players who know this is their only shot at an NHL roster with all the ownership turmoil and the bargain payroll. He just works there.
Thanks to the quipmeister Dan O'Neill with the Post-Dispatch, we know Ty Conklin will get the start tonight and that Carlo Colaiacovo and Brad Winchester continue to skate with the team in practice, but their returns to the roster are unknown. Also why the Blues really want Winchester to hurry back is also unknown. The top of O'Neill's story compares starting Conklin, who for some reason is call "The Reverand," to a line from the Dark Knight. His kids must e-mail him and say, "Dad, work Batman into your story and I'll take the trash out for Mom."
Just remember Blues fans, it can always be worse. There's still all sorts of questions about the future of the Coyotes in Phoenix. The team has such a following, tonight's game will be shown on tape delay three hours after the scheduled start. Kurt Warner still has a huge following even though he's retired. Granted, that's the same in St. Louis too.
The Blues have had some time to digest the T.J. Oshie injury. They've had more time to practice the power play. Tonight will give us a decent idea what the next stretch of games might look like. Are they still world beaters, the team at the top of basically every NHL power rankings this week? Or have they fallen back to the pack with all the injuries the team is dealing with right now? We'll find out at 7 p.m. CST tonight.
This is your game day thread. Make it feel special.