The levees didn't break, but there is a huge leak in the St. Louis Blues system this morning. Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo is down for three weeks with a knee injury suffered in Saturday's win over the Wild. He will be re-evaluated in three weeks and that means no ice time until then. I wouldn't expect Petro back for at least a month. Possibly more. This is a huge blow to the Blues, a team that doesn't score much and relies heavily on their strong defensive core.
For all the people in the Blues lounge who love to toss Pietrangelo's name into the trade rumor bin, you are finally in luck. Your dreamy keyboard gangster scrapper brain has reached an epiphany. Petro has been traded to the Injured Reserve for three weeks. He's done for a while. The anchor from the team boat has been lost and they may start to drift into the open competitive Western Conference sea.
Just wait. The effect of Petro's absence will settle in. People have always looked at this 26 year old kid and mistaken him for Shea Weber or Al Maclnnis, a defenseman with a laser shot or an ability to score goals. The guy has a career high of 12 goals and a point total of 51. He is more than a shot or a body. He is the epitome of this team's tenacity and depth.
Petro plays the most minutes on the team, close to 30 minutes every night, and against the other team's best. Don't look at his -6 rating as a bad sign. That is because he is out there for nearly half the game and has to hold down the best scorers. While Kevin Shattenkirk is vital to the power play, Petro is vital for the whole damn game.
Brian Elliott gets it like only a goaltender can. In talking to Chris Pinkert, Elliott elaborated on the loss of one of his most trusted protectors. "It’s a huge (loss). You never want to lose anybody, but he plays close to 30 minutes a night. Whenever you lose a guy that like, that’s going to change the dynamics back there a little bit.
Most hockey fans judge players by the eye test. What they think they see and that's it. While Petro's points per game and Corsi and possession are not award worthy, his work on the ice is vital. It's even worse because the Blues can't even come close to replacing him. Getting by without Shatty was tough. Finding a way without Petro and with a feeble offense won't be easy. Jaden Schwartz can fix a few things but he can't give the team what Petro can.
It's not going to be an easy stretch. Anyone who thinks the Blues aren't fucked six ways from Sunday on defense is living in denial. Petro has only missed 7 games in six seasons with the Blues.
For all the people who wanted to find out how the Blues would play without Petro, you are in luck. This theater play is running for at least a month. No pre-production at all. No prep. This will not go well.
All hope isn't lost. The Blues still are a talented bunch and were just about to get whole. Losing Alex Pietrangelo is a huge blow. Outside of #91, #1 and maybe #22 right now, I am not sure anyone else is more important to the overall balance of this team.
While the Blues are exactly Tom Hanks' platoon in Saving Private Ryan, they are close to FUBAR. What is FUBAR? Watch the video below for a clue.
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For the No Shit crowd, this does make Shattenkirk untouchable at the trade deadline and it does increase the chance of a trade.
I hope Charlie Coyle is getting a pain in his groin right now.