In some ways, Blues fans are getting to be a little bit spoiled. No one should have really thought there was going to be a big trade for the team this year at the deadline. Frankly, aside from somehow miraculously prying that Stastny kid (I think he's gonna be good some day) out of Colorado, I didn't really want to see Doug Armstrong make a big move. As Blues fans, how many times have we seen good chemistry screwed up with a "big trade"? Depends on how long you've followed this team, I guess.
In some ways, Blues fans are getting a little bit spoiled in a good way too. When the Blues gave up the first goal against tonight, there wasn't much worry. Sure, we'd rather avoid that, but unlike years past, that's not a gut punch to this team any more. Then when the Blues tied it and went ahead and, on the strength of two powerplay goals, got a two goal lead, we all thought the same thing: That outta do it.
You could see the air go out of Cal and Gary when that third goal went in. The Flames today are the Blues of a few years ago - you could tell it was over for them. They weren't going to make a serious push, so they might as well get chippy and try to hurt someone.
So yeah, that's a sarcastic headline for this wrap up. These aren't the same old Blues. But these guys have played so consistently well this year that it feels like they've played this way for years and years. No trades today? No biggie. I believe in what we have already. Yep. I believe.
Road Warriors need bullets, right?
- The Al MacInnis ceremony was nice, but about 100% of everyone who saw it said the same thing: Why aren't they retiring No. 2? Seems weird, especially since the Blues already did it and his Calgary career and Blues career are pretty evenly split.
- I mentioned this on Twitter, but it must have been pretty awkward for that dumbass Scott Hannan to sit through the MacInnis ceremony when it was his careless high stick that caused the eye injury that ended Al's career. At least that scumbag finally got a haircut and lost the greasy stringy mullet. Al MacInnis: Hall of Fame, number retired in St. Louis, life-size statue in St. Louis, inaugural member of Always A Flame. Scott Hannan: depth defenseman who is a career plus-15.
- Al MacInnis pisses plus-15.
- I might throw out the "He wants that one back" comment about the lone goal that beat Jaroslav Halak, but that's not an honest assessment. That play turned back up ice so quickly that Halak didn't have time to get out and challenge the way he'd want to normally. Curtis Glencross took advantage with a nice shot. Had that play developed more slowly, that shot wouldn't have been there. Beyond that, another great effort from the goaltender, whose confidence has to be sky-high these days. It doesn't hurt that the defense is doing a great job of collecting and clearing rebounds. I've always argued that the Red Wings make mediocre goalies look great because their defense actively clears all rebounds and loose pucks and reduces the number of second chances. Nice to see that the Blues finally have the talent and scheme to mimic that.
- Speaking of increasing confidence, Kevin Shattenkirk seems to have shaken off his mid-season doldrums. He assisted on the first goal and looked solid with the puck and defensively again. He just turned 23 a couple weeks ago. I don't want to draw the parallel from Shattenkirk and Alex Pietrangelo as anchors on the blueline to the days when Chris Pronger and Al MacInnis were the anchors on the blueline here, but... it seems like I just did anyway. Both still get noticed for their offense, but watch them in their own zone too. Very solid and calm. Sure, Pietrangelo had the giveaway that turned into the lone goal against, but that is going to happen to every defenseman - nature of the business.
- Patrik Berglund looked strong again. If coach Ken Hitchcock has a trick up his sleeve to create consistency, he might want to use it on the Techno Viking. As someone on Twitter mentioned, the Blues are a different team when he is active and involved.
- Also, Chris Stewart could use some of that business. Remember when he was just a bull in a china shop last year? Playing like a house afire? Like a metaphor run wild? These Blues are full of swagger and confidence. They play like they expect to win most nights. Imagine what they'd be like if they had a dominant Stewart and an engaged Berglund. Scary good, right? Who needs a trade on deadline day if instead you could get those two guys going?
- I thought it was just FSN Midwest being homers when they showed the standings and put the Blues, tied with Detroit at 85 points, in the second seed for being first in the Central. I don't know the tiebreakers, so I checked the standings at NHL.com and found that it was true. The Blues hold the number two seed tonight. Of course, the Wings play the speedbump Blue Jackets tomorrow with Sad Rick Nash as their captain, so I don't expect it to stay that way for long.
- Finally, thank you, Coach Cock, for giving us the #hornyBlues hashtag. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Blues play again on Wednesday in Edmonton. Let's assume we get to see the same old Blues then too and they power their way to another win.
I'm done for now - you do your part in the comments.