Did you non-season ticket holders grab your Winter Classic tickets this morning? Me neither. If any of you noble, generous, smart, attractive people happen to have anywhere between one to eight spares that you're only looking to make a measly profit on, let me know.
For now though, the Blues are off to a great start to the season, with a perfect 6 points from 3 games against some pretty good teams and also the Minnesota Wild. Paul Stastny is notching points, the goaltending has been good, the special teams are chugging along fine enough, The only stumble was the rash injuries on Saturday night against the Rangers that saw Jori Lehtera, Kyle Brodziak, and Carl Gunnarsson all joining Jaden Schwartz on the injury list. All but Gunnarsson made the flight to Vancouver and Schwartzy and/or Brodziak may very well see the ice tonight. (UPDATE: Brodziak did not take part in an optional skate this afternoon, while Schwartz did. Take from that what you will.)
As for the other team on the ice, the Canucks are also off to a decent start, having won both of their first two games in overtime despite never playing with the lead vs Calgary or Carolina. The Nuckleheads are in a bit of weird spot, as their window for contention in the Sedin Era most likely closed before last season, but they don't seem to want to fully commit to a rebuild. Last season was disastrous in British-Columbia, as only the Oilers and Maple Leafs finished worse than the Canucks. They also finished 2nd-bottom in the league in goal scoring only 2.33 goals/game. No Vancouver player who isn't a genetic copy of one of their teammates recorded more than 40 points last year. And with a season long PDO of 99.3, it's hard to expect a bounce back big enough to make a significant difference this year.
Oh, and their likely starting goaltender tonight isn't just a familiar face. His very presence is yet another reminder of the Blues franchise ineptitude in taking advantage of the opportunities we've had and the many short-sighted roster moves that defined the franchise for so many years. Yes that's right, it's Mr. 5% himself, Ryan Miller.
But sister, you're much better off without him. Forget about the boy.
UPDATE: While typing up this preview, it was announced that Ryan Miller had "some tightness." It looks like we'll probably be shooting at Jacob Markstrom instead. Buuuut...I already embeded tonight's musical number, soooo...
TONIGHT'S PERFORMANCE: @ the Vancouver Canucks
CURTAIN TIME: 9PM Central - late one, ladies & gentlemen, so be sure to grab a coffee or two from the concessions in the lobby - just don't bring them into the theatre without a lid.
BROADCAST NETWORKS: Fox Sports Midwest (TV); 1120am KMOX (radio)
AT THIS PERFORMANCE, THE ROLE OF ___CARL GUNNARSSON___ WILL BE PLAYED BY ___ROBERT BORTUZZO___, THE ROLE OF ___KYLE BRODZIAK___ WILL BE PLAYED BY ___DMITIJ JASKIN___, AND THE ROLE OF __JORI LEHTERA___ WILL BE PLAYED BY ___TY RATTIE, WITH ALEXANDER STEEN MOVING TO CENTER___. (Schwartz and Brodziak seem to be game time decisions.)
CENTRAL CHARACTER: D Kevin Shattenkirk - Everyone's favorite trade bait is, if nothing else, raising his return value. The Blues have scored 4 power play goals thus far, and Shatty's been on the score sheet for 3 of them. He gets the puck going the other way as well as any defenseman in the West, and although three games is a teeny-tiny sample size when it comes to the #FancyStats, his +7.9% CFrel is the best among the team's blueliners who have played in every game so far. Sure, signing him may be pretty difficult, and he could theoretically fetch a mighty fine price at the Deadline, but be careful what you wish for, people. If you trade away Kevin Shattenkirk, you no longer have Kevin Shattenkirk.
MAIN ANTAGONIST: LW Daniel Sedin - I generally want to try to stay away from the usual suspects for this spot, but there's really not a hell of a lot else to get excited about the new guard in Vancouver. The scoring Sedin has already notched a goal and has recorded 8 shots on goal already, so as long as Henrik is still getting him the puck, Daniel is still dangerous.
PLAYBILL: Our Northwestern pals at Nuck Misconduct do a great job if you want to know more about this odd mish-mash of over-the-hill veterans and less-than-exciting young guns.
This is your pre-game hangout. There's a lot of pre-game to be had, so hey, let's talk about those pesky early games on that silly East coast that will probably be over by the time we get started. Who have you been the most impressed by so far this young season, and why is it Auston Matthews? And just be glad we're getting this weeknight Western Canada road trip over with now while it's still early.