There are a few teams that I, as a hockey fan, have issues getting pumped up for. It’s not a personal slight against the team, it’s not a commentary on the value I find in them as a hockey market, it’s just an overarching feeling of meh directed in their direction.
One of those teams for me are the Carolina Hurricanes. Despite my constant concern that they employ Don “this team isn’t going anywhere” Waddell, the Hurricanes still exist in the middle of the Eastern Conference. They’re not a bad team, but they’re not exciting. They’ve employed Cam Ward for over a decade in net. They’ve won the Stanley Cup, sure, but they tend to be that team that people forget have won the Cup.
All of that isn’t to say that they’re not a good hockey team. The former Whalers are solid. They always have been. They’re just not exciting (to me - your opinion will vary).
What was exciting was the 4-1 win at Busch Stadium over the Blackhawks on Monday. The Blues want to use the momentum from that game to continue their impressive play at home.
"More than anything, we're happy about how we played as a team," said Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. "We played a great team game and did a lot of the things that make us look good. Guys were really excited to enjoy that, but want to get back to work tonight and be able to hopefully get something going here. We've been fighting all year, but we really want to put together some win streaks."
Ken Hitchcock, ever the optimist, had a different approach here:
"If you start thinking about it too much, you're going to be living in the past," Hitchcock said. "For us, it's business as usual. We played two of our last three games really well, and we want to build on that."
I dig both viewpoints at this part of the season. The Blues are halfway there. They need to build and focus on what is to come, but there’s nothing wrong with utilizing the excitement of this past weekend as something to build upon.
What could temper the excitement is that the bug that bit the Blues earlier this week is still lingering. If everyone’s healthy (except Carl Gunnarsson, who suffered an upper body injury in Monday’s game), here’s what the official Blues site has as the lines for tonight:
Alexander Steen - Paul Stastny - David Perron
Jaden Schwartz - Jori Lehtera - Vladimir Tarasenko
Robby Fabbri - Patrik Berglund - Dmitrij Jaskin
Scottie Upshall - Kyle Brodziak - Ryan Reaves
Joel Edmundson - Alex Pietrangelo
Brad Hunt - Kevin Shattenkirk
Jay Bouwmeester - Colton Parayko
The Blues’ power play needs to work overtime tonight - the Canes have the best PK in the league (!) at 89%.
Working regular time tonight may be the newest member of the Hurricanes, Ty Rattie. Rattie, who will wear number eight for Carolina, could make it in the lineup against his old team.