Welcome back, hockey. Old friend, disruptor of emotions, and an all-around good friend to have in colder months.
After getting bounced out of the playoffs early a few months back, the St. Louis Blues will face off against the Colorado Avalanche-first of nine meetings-on Wednesday night. I wouldn’t take this Blues team lightly, because their roster has improved since the buzzer last sounded. They are back and better than ever. Not quite “best shape of their career” worthy, but a very strong roster.
Jordan Binnington’s 2019-20 season wasn’t as rough as some made it out to be. If you think 30 wins, a 2.56 GGA, and .912 is a huge drop, you are living on a fantasy island of perfect goaltenders. All I know is Binnington has a 2.31 GAA in 80 career starts. Ville Husso should be backing him up, because the team needs a few answers on him somewhat soon.
Vladimir Tarasenko is down, but Mike Hoffman is signed, sealed, and delivered. Unlike Tank, according to the practice game that took place the other night, the new guy likes one-timers. Whether or not he’s staying after this season is futile information right now. Enjoy it while it lasts, because Doug Armstrong is coldblooded and doesn’t care about feelings.
Look at that blueline. Torey Krug gives the Blues a unique asset on defense. Krug is good with the puck, anchors a power play, and does a lot of things well-but I really like the way he lights hockey players up. When he dropped Robert Thomas in the Stanley Cup Final, I honestly got a little aroused watching the replay. Krug has a chip on his shoulder, and it’s almost as big as Justin Faulk’s.
He crashed into town with a thud last season, failing to be that guy he was in Carolina. But Faulk could break out with more ice time. The same can be said for Colton “Breaker of Collar Bones” Parayko, who may step into the lead on defense with Alex Pietrangelo departed. Vince Dunn could fall into place, and there are some up and comers not too far away.
Speaking of the new Golden Knight, you can consider this a new era of Blues hockey. They look a lot different, and younger too. Jay Bouwmeester and Alexander Steen retired, but the impact of a certain player rings louder. If there was one player who marked this team for the past decade, it was “Petro.” The fella who used to wear the “C” chose the desert over Forest Park, so he’s now the enemy. Tomorrow night represents the first game the Blues have played without him since the 2008-09 season. Things have changed, but the depth and skill players on this team makes them a threat to the Avalanche, Vegas, and any other pack of grunts in the league.
Ryan O’Reilly. Brayden Schenn. David Perron. Jaden Schwartz. Hoffman. Eventually Tarasenko. Robert Thomas. Oskar Sundqvist. Ivan Barbashev. Zach Sanford. Tyler Bozak. Sammy Blais. Kyle Clifford. Does the opposition have the wheels and juice for all that force? I don’t think it will be easy.
The money look good for now.
The #StlBlues announced opening roster of 12F/7D/2G + Steen LTIR & Tarasenko IR.— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) January 12, 2021
Roster is $5.5M Over Cap, setting LTIR Pool & how much can exceed cap.
Thurs, can add Tarasenko to LTIR making pool $13M. That would allow roster moves like calling up Kyrouhttps://t.co/2pehawVzxY
Screw the projections. I don’t care what some guy in a suit or hoodie thinks this team will do. The Blues were among the best teams in the NHL when all this bullshit started. The elite of the elite. And then the world went to hell, time stopped, and all the good stuff got choked out. Restaurants closed. Streets were deserted. Arenas empty.
But this team has reloaded, and I think they’re a strong bunch of hockey players. For a 56 game season, this team will be hard to control and overmatch. You can’t say they got bigger this year, but the Blues sure got meaner.
Confession: They needed some of that nasty, “you will lose” blunt meanness last season. They needed an edge. Now that they were bumped off and the world tries to forget about them again, St. Louis will rise like the Phoenix covered in marinara sauce and gooey butter cake. I wouldn’t expect to be an ultra-smooth transition, but this team is resilient and built with many sound bricks. Just listen to that fierce man named Schenn:
Great quote from Brayden Schenn: "We have a lot of very good players, but we don't have an an absolute superstar where he's going to go out and get us 110 points one year. We rely on depth, we rely on counting on one another and every guy doing their job each night." #stlblues— Lou Korac (@lkorac10) January 12, 2021
Okay, now I’m hungry and need to go. Blues hockey returns tomorrow. Stop complaining about what’s not open and what you don’t have, and unite around the blue and golden goodness taking place at 14th and Clark.