Overreaction is a symptom of sports fellowship. Something happens and the need to fly off the handle is hard to resist. Trust me, I know about this particular activity.
Today when Klim Kostin was demoted to San Antonio right as Troy Brouwer’s Visa issues were handled, several St. Louis Blues fans went nuts.
One reason could be the simple fact that Kostin was one of the few highlights in an otherwise disappointing loss to the Nashville Predators on Saturday. He took a puck three quarters of the ice and sunk a slick wrist shot for his first NHL goal.
Second, Kostin seemed to be getting better with each game. Saturday was his fourth game, and every shift saw the 20-year-old kid becoming more in tune with the flow of the game. There’s more to it than goals, hits, and crowd interaction. It’s forechecking, taking the body instead of the puck, working in unison with your line, and listening to your coaches. Kostin just seemed to be getting the hang of it.
Third and lastly, no one was looking at problem-solving chart for offensive production and thinking of Brouwer’s name. While his one year in St. Louis and memorable series-winning goal against Chicago in the playoffs gives fans the warm and fuzzy wave of nostalgia, it dispenses quite fast when you think of him getting serious minutes three years later. Think about that midnight stop at Taco Bell later that morning.
Kostin represented the slow but sure wave of incoming youthful difference makers (Vince Dunn, Sammy Blais, Robert Thomas) and fans never want to see that go away, especially if the particular player is fun to watch.
And the Russian is a lot of fun to watch. He’s a Gordie Howe delight out there: shooting, moving, smashing, and showing some swag afterwards. When he scored his first goal with the confidence of a magician who paid off the audience, Kostin put his arms up and soaked in the attention as he passed behind the net. He could do what Ricky Bobby couldn’t do on that suburban street once upon a time: he could feel it.
Kostin will be back soon. The way the team is getting injured a little over seven weeks into the season, there will be a spot opening up soon. If Brouwer doesn’t produce, Kostin will find a way to back to his minutes. Hopefully more minutes next time. By the end of his cup of coffee, Kostin was logging less than eight minutes of action. He needs to play more than that. I wanted him to take on Blais’ minutes after his injury, but it didn’t happen.
In San Antonio, Kostin will get double that amount of time. He’ll get plenty of action to stay sharp and ready. Now that he’s had a whiff of the NHL game, Kostin knows what needs to be finessed and what can be adjusted. The adrenaline of those four games will be coercing through his veins for weeks. He got a taste. As my good friend and trusted Blues mind Dan Reilly noted today on Twitter, let’s see what he does to get another taste of the big time.
You know, where your luggage is carried and the ladies have long legs and brains.
The Blues get a chance to see what Brouwer can do. Back in the day, he put up 17 goals or more in seven consecutive seasons. The past two years, though, Brouwer has only scored 18 goals in 151 games combined. He shouldn’t be playing unless he can not only do as much as Kostin, but more hopefully. If a flier isn’t worth reading, it’s best to throw it away.
Kostin doesn’t need to be spending game days wearing a suit and chewing on press box snacks anyway. He’ll stay stretched out and ready for his sequel.
In the mean time, relax. The Blues seek revenge in Nashville tonight and fans have a more entertaining thing to riot about: Jake Allen starting in goal for possibly the first of two games this week. Oh baby, let it burn.
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