The Blues' fast start to the season hit a bit of a speed bump Tuesday night in Vancouver. Despite holding a 1-0 lead for most of the game, we didn't play particularly well - particularly in the third period - and allowed the Canucks to draw even late in regulation. Then 3-on-3 wasn't kind, as Vancouver won their third overtime game in three games, while the Blues had to settle for their first non-win of the year.
But there's no time to dwell on that, because the show much go on, and the bus keeps chugging along the high way.
Tonight the Note face off with the Edmonton
First Overall Draft Picks Oilers. The Oil come in at 3-1-0, with Connor McDavid leading the way with 3 goals and 3 assists already. No surprise there, but here's one - our old pal Kris Russell is apparently looking so good early on that old school good ol' Canadian boy writers are propping him up as proof that advanced stats are bullshit. Yeeeaaaahhh...good luck with that long term. Clearly, Edmonton hasn't seen a decent defenseman since Chris Pronger got the hell out of dodge.
But there's legitimate hope in Oil country this year. They've been stock piling first overall draft picks for the better part of a decade at this point, they've opened a brand spankin' new building, the Rogers Place, McDavid could legitimately challenge for a scoring title as early as this year even if he doesn't have any help, and they only made the second dumbest trade of all-time of the summer. And with the Ducks being suddenly terrible and Jonathan Quick going down for at least the first half of the season, the Oilers could actually sneak into a playoff spot for the first time since Prongs dragged them kicking and screaming to game 7 of the 2006 Cup Finals. It may only be the second week, but I have to say the just the possibility of an old school Oilers-Flames first round series - Connor McDavid vs Johnny Gaudreau, Leon Draisaitl vs Sean Monahan - already has me frothing at the mouth.
But despite the improved roster and disappointing division, the true deciding factor for if the Oilers will make the playoffs or not will be the Golden Boy himself. They can all do it together as a team...but mostly him.
Getting Edmonton into the playoffs would certainly be something incredible.
TONIGHT'S PERFORMANCE: @ the Edmonton Oilers
CURTAIN TIME: 9:00pm central - but don't worry about me, I don't have class tomorrow morning. I assume you guys are the same? ...no?...oh, well...
BROADCAST NETWORKS: Fox Sports Midwest (TV); 1120 KMOX (radio)
AT THIS PERFORMANCE, THE ROLE OF ___JORI LEHTERA___ WILL (probably) BE PLAYED BY ___TY RATTIE___, AND THE ROLE OF ___CARL GUNNARSSON___ WILL BE PLAYED BY ___ROBERT BORTUZZO___.
CENTRAL CHARACTER: LW Jaden Schwartz - Schwartzie will make his season debut tonight, a quicker than expected recovery for a mysterious training camp elbow injury. It is getting to the point where one has to start asking if Jaden Schwartz can ever be relied upon to be on the ice, but there certainly is no question he can be relied upon when he is on the ice. Arguably the Blues second most important forward, Schwartz should be a shoe-in for 25-30 goals and around 65-70 points over a fully played season. If he can hit the ground running and begin contributing points starting tonight, no reason he couldn't make up for lost time - and the Blues attack could jump into elite company. (Also, Kyle Brodziak makes his way back onto the ice tonight too.)
MAIN ANTAGONIST: LW Milan Lucic - Let's get one thing straight here: Lucic is a piece of shit. But he was signed specifically to keep people from being pieces of shit to McDavid. Whether or not it will actually work out like that is up for debate, but you can be sure Lucic will want to make it look like it will. Especially when dealing with team with a reputation like the Blues have, he'll be looking to make a statement early, perhaps even preemptively. And as long as he's on McDavid's wing, he's still a threat to knock home a garbage goal after 97 creates a beautiful scoring opportunity for him.
PLAYBILL: A few years ago when I was interviewing other bloggers for a series of pre-season articles, I tried to contact the writers at Copper 'n' Blue for one of them. I sent at least three emails and several twitter DMs over the course of about six weeks...and I never heard a word in return. But don't let that stop you from checking out their coverage of the blue half of Alberta.
So what are you looking forward to most tonight? Seeing McDavid? Nail Yakupov's triumphant return? Giving Magnus Paajarvi a fake plane ticket and leaving him in Edmonton where we found him? Let us know! This is you late-afternoon/early evening hang out thread. The GDT proper should go up a bit later.