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Blues vs Maple Leafs Preview: Out With The Old in With the Yeo

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Tonight marks the beginning of the Mike Yeo era as well as the number retirement of legendary Blue Bobby Plager

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Minnesota Wild at St. Louis Blues Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

A lot has happened since Tuesday night’s 5-3 loss to Winnipeg so lets get to it.

Wednesday morning general manager Doug Armstrong announced that Mike Yeo would be assuming the role of head coach effective immediately. He also announced that goaltending coach Jim Corsi would be relieved of his duties and replaced by Martin Brodeur and Ty Conkliln. The move was swift and only allowed new head coach Yeo one full practice with the team before tonight’s game.

During the press conference Wednesday morning Yeo reaffirmed the fact that Jake Allen is the Blues number one goalie and that he will start tonights game.

Yeo also stated during the press conference that there were not going to be a lot of personnel shake ups heading into tonights game.

"There's not going to be, come tomorrow night, (any) major personnel shuffles," Yeo said. "I think what's important is we give the players a chance to go out there and show us what they can do… We can determine a little more of the chemistry once we get our game going in the right direction. NHL.com

Regardless of whether you view Hitchcock’s firing as a positive or negative what’s done is done. Mike Yeo is now the head coach of the St. Louis Blues and he has a daunting task ahead of him.

Yeo has exactly 32 games to turn the Blues season around and get the team, who currently have fallen out of the final wildcard spot, into the playoffs. If the Blues are going to resurrect this season than it might as well begin tonight.

Ordinarily this is where I would post the Blues record and where I would give a short evaluation of their current play. But tonight I am going to treat this like the beginning of a new season and a new era. The Blues past record doesn’t matter anymore. If the Blues wish to make the playoffs than they simply need to start winning.

On a much more positive note, tonight the club honors legendary Blue Bobby Plager by permanently retiring his number to the rafters of Scottrade Center. Mr. Plager has been a Blue since the franchise’s conception in 1967. He played for the team from 1967-78 before taking on coaching roles for the club’s farm teams as well as a short lived stint as the Blues bench boss. Even after his coaching days came to an end he has remained a faithful Blue, serving various roles within the organization. From tonight forward Bobby Plager will forever be number 5 in the program, number 1 in your hearts!

The Toronto Maple Leafs are in the middle of a six game road trip which has taken them from Detroit to Dallas via Philadelphia. They are 2-3 in their last five games with a 3-2 SO loss to Ottawa and a pair of 4-0 wins against the Flames and the Red Wings.

Despite catching a lot of national media attention, most notable because of rookie sensation Austin Matthews, the Maple Leafs are currently one point outside the last wildcard spot and have a record of 23-16-9.

The Maple Leafs do posses the 2nd ranked power play and 3rd ranked penalty kill in the NHL. Their 3.1 goals per game average is good enough for 6th in the league.

Tonight’s Lineup

Forwards:

Steen-Stastny-Perron

Schwartz-Lehtera-Tarasenko

Fabbri-Berglund-Yakupov

Upshall-Barbeshev-Reaves

Defense:

Edmundson-Pietrangelo

Gunnarsson-Shattenkirk

Bouwmeester-Parayko

Goalie:

Jake Allen