How do the St. Louis Blues win Game 7? Stop fucking around and score more goals than the other team and nut punch Patrick Kane on the way out. Article finished. Goodbye...
I kid. For the time being, I am going to choose the high(er) road and not be 100 % negative about tonight. After all, a 3-3 series tie doesn't spell the end of a team's run. It just enrages the fans who wanted to celebrate days ago that the Blues could topple their big brother Chicago Blackhawks. Remember Game 5? Remember the chances to end it and missed. Kane scoring the winning goal and doing his stupid sliding fist punching routine? Terrible memories that could be cleared away with a win tonight.
For the ones who want to see the team do it at home, tonight can be the night. It was this date 23 years ago that the Blues swept the Hawks in the playoffs and made Ed Belfour snap his goalie stick into 75 pieces. Then there is 13 years ago, when the Blues last played a Game 7 in the playoffs and lost to the Canucks with no other than Joel Quenneville behind the bench. Sweet and bitter run hand in hand. What happens tonight? Let's examine five things Blues need to do to win. Short and to the point.
Play Vladimir Tarasenko as many minutes as Patrick Kane
Simple, right? Apparently for Coach Ken Hitchcock, this is a complex scientific theory that hasn't been tested yet. I don't care about 5v5 corsi grades or matchup issues. Get your best player on the ice as much as possible. When the Blues lead is 17-3, then you can rest The Russian. Until then, play him. Two lines. Two different centers. All the time. He needs to get more than 17 minutes. When Kane has 22 minutes and Vova has 17 minutes, someone should be punched or at least have his twinkies taken away. You hear that Ken, no more sweets. Be smart. Play #91.
Start Brian Elliott
A no brainer/no shit for sure, but according to some fans Elliott should be replaced by the young Jake Allen. While I like Jake and think he's got a big future, now isn't the time to play the kid. Elliott is the fucking reason you have Game 7 at Scottrade and not the United Center. When he shut down the Hawks in the last week of the season, he pushed them off for good. When he went anti-goals from January 8th until mid March, he ensured the Blues home ice advantage. He has played his ass off this series too so let's shelve the stupid talk about replacing him for a winner take all Game 7. What is wrong with you people? For the last time, put down the Bud Light and pick up a PBR.
Play Joel Edmundson
According to Blues reporter Andrew Allsman, #6 is already in for the game.
CONFIRMED: Edmundson in for Bortuzzo. #StlBlues— Andrew Allsman (@allsmandrew) April 25, 2016
I'm not sure why he was out for Game 5 and 6. Sure, he can agree with Hitch's decision. Soldiers say that shit all the time. I was wrong and should have played better. Fuck that. It's not good when you have Soft Big Bird Jay Bouwmeester out there stepping on Elliott's stick and playing like a soft old man. Joel was also around for the 3-1 series lead part too. I would have sat Jay Bo but Robert Bortuzzo was the right call. Edmundson's main goal is to clear the fucking crease of red shirts.
To quote Keanu Reeves from the underrated football flick The Replacements, "Hey Danny, you what I said about red shirts in practice. Well, forget about it." Cue the Jon Favreau hulk unleashing. Skip to the 2 minute mark and enjoy.
Put the Robby Fabbri-Paul Stastny-Troy Brouwer line back together
Remember March. The group were magic men on the ice. Brouwer had his best month as a Blue. Stastny was the promise holding playmaker. Fabbri was the lightning rod. Then the playoffs started, Hitch overthought and separated them. Orphans. Why not put them back together and see what happens? It may only be the last game of the season so it's not a bad time to try things.
Hitch must be able to adjust mid game like Coach Q
Throughout the series you've seen the Blackhawks coach adjust on the fly and that could mean line shakeup or putting certain players on the ice more often(especially ones with sexual assault charges on their ledger). Hitchcock has been stubborn to say the least in sticking with certain players, lines and attacks. He must adjust mid game if things go south tonight. It's only his legacy in St. Louis and possibly as a head coach in the NHL. Look at Q's record in elimination games and Games 5-7. It's stellar. I'd say look at Hitch's here but he hasn't gotten there that often. Turn over a new leaf and know that a change during the game could lead to a few more games played in St. Louis.
I know what you are feeling, Blues fans. Mad as hell and angry that the series has gotten this far. May I remind you that these are the Chicago Blackhawks. They are missing Patrick Sharp and other playmakers but weren't going to go down easy. They are the defending champs. They've won three Cups in the last six years. They are relentless and true bastards. For the people who won't watch tonight, reconsider. For the fans who are negative, I can't say I blame you. History supports a cynical one tonight. For the hopeful, just remember this. It's not over. A win and all is forgotten. The only cure to a shitty game is a triumphant one. Winning fixes everything. Losing opens the levees for a very interesting offseason.
Here's the thing. Right now, the future is unknown. Leave the past in the past, get mad, and put on your fucking Blues t-shirt, sweater or jersey. Slam a few beers BEFORE the game. Take the edge off. Mix in some chicken wings or potato skins and then continue with the 24 pack of PBR or Miller Light.
The Blues have the tools to win tonight. Overall, they are the better team on paper. For once in our fucking lives, can the Blues turn what's on paper into a reality. We shall see.
I love most of you. Until next time, goodnight.