Tonight at 6:00 CT the Blues take the ice against the Carolina Hurricanes on FSMW. The Blues are looking to capture that last crucial point that will guarantee them third place in the Central division.
I am sure that every single freaking person knows by now but in case you have been living in a cave or, you know, playing in the KHL for cigarettes and shots of vodka, Vladimir Sobotka inked a three year, 10.5 million dollar extension with the Blues. And unfortunately for any of you who were hoping this was just a bad dream Sobe did show up for practice Friday morning sporting his brand new number 71 Blues sweater.
It’s not that I dislike Sobotka and if the Blues didn’t already have a plethora of third line centers I would welcome him back with open arms. The problem I do have is offering a guy an extension without having watched him play one NHL style game. But to be fair, I have a problem with a lot of things that Doug Armstrong does so this is pretty much par for the course.
The Blues are in a somewhat precarious position. The desperately need to get that one point to lock in third place but every time that Vladimir Tarasenko or Jaden Schwartz goes awkwardly into the boards every fan, coach and player shrieks.
One of the many things that is unique about this season compared to some of the Blues past ones is the necessity for the team to keep their foot on the gas. Something that is comparable to Mike Yeo’s season with the Wild in 2015.
Yeo made this point several weeks ago. In the last few years, the Blues knew early that they're going to be in the playoffs. He on the other hand has had to fight and claw to get the Wild in the playoffs, so he felt like that did [help] him stay focused day to day at the end of the year. Different circumstances as far as the playoffs go, but I think the Wild's first-round win over the Blues a couple of years ago shows that he can get a team ready and beat a higher-seeded opponent.
Yeo also mentioned after Friday’s practice that they would wait until after this morning’s skate to determine if Sobotka would crack the lineup. There are still some concerns about the little guy’s adaption back to the smaller ice of the NHL as well as his conditioning, which I take to mean Yeo wants to see how well he can skate with a certain Finnish center on his back.
I am fine with Sobotka in the lineup. Throw him out there and see if he can win some face-offs. Put him on the third line and see if he can figure out what to do with Lehtera. But I swear if he comes anywhere close to Tarasenko or Schwartz I will freak the hell out.
Here is a guess what the lines may look like tonight:
Like I said, that is only a guess and since I put that in writing it is pretty much a guarantee that is not what is going to happen.
What I do know is Carter Hutton will get the start for the Blues tonight and Jake Allen will get the nod on Sunday.
Robert Bortuzzo is still injured and did not make the trip. Paul Stastny has a broken foot and is doubtful to make it back before the playoffs.
Vladimir Tarasenko is two goals away from tying his career high of 40 that was set last season. He also still does not like being called Tank, so don’t do that.
David Perron, aka Frenchie, has three goals and three assists in his last five games. He has also replaced his hipster style tinted visor with a more classic clear one, this saddens me.
Alex Pietrangelo is averaging over 26 minutes of ice time in his last five games, as well as a 10 second photobomb of his head coach’s post game interview. I would have paid good money to see him try that when Hitchcock was still here.
One point will work but I think the Blues would be better off going for the deuce. Two games to go and then things really get fun. Lets Go Blues!