During the lockout, Ryan Reaves suited up for the Orlando Solar Bears. Tonight, he'll miss out on an opportunity to return to the city that holds the second-happiest place on earth (DisneyWorld! Woo!).
The Amway Center was supposed to host this pre-season game last season, but we all know how that went. I'm sure the good folks of Orlando are looking forward to having something to do other than dress up in their character costumes and go to work. The Blues will be working too - working on improving their defense that allowed five goals by the Dallas Stars Sunday night. It's a whole new line-up, though Jake Allen will be the backup. I don't forsee the same issues happening. Different issues? Sure. But two goals on four shots? I don't know if Brian Elliott has that in him.*
Here's the line-up, from the Blues' official site:
Jaden Schwartz - Derek Roy - Chris Stewart
Ty Rattie - Vladimir Sobotka - Dmitrij Jaskin
Alexandre Bolduc - Christian Hanson - Mark Mancari
William Carrier - Pat Cannone - Jacob Doty
Ryan Whitney - Jani Hakanpaa
Jordan Leopold - Ian Cole
Taylor Chorney - David Shields
Jacob Doty? I wonder if he's any relation to Drew.
Tonight looks like the night for new guys to show what they're capable of - and one old dude. Ryan Whitney will be on the top pairing with Jani Hakanpaa, playing out his pro tryout. He was invited in just in case Alex Pietrangelo didn't sign his contract extension. Petro signed, and now Whitney's in limbo. According to the BND's Norm Sanders, that doesn't matter - the Blues are still seeing how much gas Whitney has in his tank. The 30 year old Whitney is keeping a positive outlook on things:
"I just appreciate them giving me a fair chance with what they've told me," Whitney said. "That's really all you can ask for and after that it's up to me to play well in these exhibition games. I'm as focused as I've ever been because your career's kind of on the line when you come to camp on a tryout."
That's really all that he can do, honestly. It'd be nice depth for the organization to have Whitney there for an injury call-up, especially with the Blues focused on playoff success. Having a vet to step into a role late in the season when crunch time is going down is something that the Blues value - whether or not Whitney gets playing time in Chicago if the Blues sign him remains to be seen.
Tonight is also Derek Roy's Blues debut. centering Jaden Schwartz and Chris Stewart, there's a shot he can wind up on the scoresheet.
Second game of meaningless hockey starts soon. It'd still be nice if they won. Let's Go Blues.
*ed note: I forgot last February and March. He obviously does.