It started with an episode of CSI: St. Louis. It’s moved on to handshake line shenanigans.
The Blues are having fun, and it’s only pre-season. Madness! Pre-season hockey doesn’t even count - someone tell these guys that ASAP.
In all seriousness, the team-building is a sight to see, and it’s a good one. There’s an early confidence there that needs to be present for the Blues to bounce back from a disappointing post-season sweep at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche. Last season was flat for many reasons; this season, the team’s first full 82-game season since 2018-2019, shouldn’t be that way.
Of course, it helped that the Blues romped over the Blackhawks; that’s always a confidence booster. Vladimir Tarasenko and Pavel Buchnevich both had a goal and an assist for the Blues. Robert Thomas and his linemate for the evening, Jake Neighbours, each had a goal and two assists. Nathan Todd opened the scoring, and Ivan Barbashev’s quality preseason continued with a goal.
Neighbours has been especially impressive this pre-season, and last night was no exception. He’s getting a look on the PK and the PP, and finished with 18:11 of ice time. It’s tough to not see the Blues want to see more of him, and he’s outshone some of the bottom six regulars. If he hangs around for the nine-game tryout, as Lou Korac suggested as a possibility, don’t be shocked.
Tonight’s lineups for both teams will look very different for the Blues fans out in Independence, MO, and it’s hard to not feel sorry for them that they’ll be missing a chance to see Neighbours and Scott Perunovich (who finished with 20:49 of ice time last night) in action. Tonight’s lineup isn’t any sort of slouch, though. From stlblues.com:
Jordan Kyrou - Ryan O’Reilly - David Perron
Brandon Saad - Tyler Bozak - James Neal
Michael Frolik - Nikita Alexandrov - Klim Kostin
Mackenzie MacEachern - Dakota Joshua - Sam Anas
Torey Krug - Colton Parayko
Calle Rosen - Niko Mikkola
Tyler Tucker - Tommy Cross
Tonight’s game will be played at Cable Dahmer Arena in Independence, MO. You may remember Independence from The Oregon Trail, both the actual trail and the video game where you died from dysentery. Hopefully the only people making the trek out of Missouri after tonight’s game are the Blackhawks, and they’ll be heading east.
Tonight’s game will air on Bally Sports Midwest, so find it if you can. The radio broadcast will, as always, feature Chris Kerber and Joey Vitale on ESPN 101.