Tag Archives: st louis blues

The Blue and White Blog Game 4: Singing the HNIC Blues

Well I didn’t think this team would go 82-0-0. But that last game stung. High-scoring game, defensive lapses, soft-goals, bone-headed plays, letting rats get under their skin and beautiful offensive play wasted. That game checked all of the boxes for a typical Leafs loss. And why did it have to be against Montreal? I hate Montreal.

The Leafs are a team that is terrifying when firing on all cylinders and terrifying in a different way when the other team has momentum. Toronto seemingly gives up as many chances as it gets and that will catch up to you over a full season of hockey.

This week the Leafs have the Cup champion Blues, President’s Trophy winning Lightning and red hot Red Wings all on deck. Forget the back-up goalie, forget any youth or inexperience, forget the pressure to perform this year. Quit the excuses. A good week will do wonders to wash away the bitter taste Saturday night’s  loss against the Canadiens.

 

Tonight’s Game

This might be stupid to say about the reigning Stanley Cup champions, but this team is so good. The Blues are just so fast, physical and deep. Toronto is generally regarded as one of the deepest at the centre position but, with Brayden Schenn, Ryan O’Reilly, Tyler Bozak and Oskar Sundqvist down the middle,  St. Louis matches up very well.

While they have an established core of Tarasenko, O’Reilly, Schenn, Pitrangelo, Schwartz and Parayko, there’s plenty of youth coming up that can potentially extend St. Louis’ championship window. Robert Thomas, Jordan Binnington, Vince Dunn, Zach Sanford and a healthy Robbie Fabbri should take steps forward which will make this team even better. What a scary thought.

Players of Interest

Kasperi Kapanen

This guy needs to give us more. He’s been a fine penalty killer (stick throwing aside) and has shown a bit of sand paper. But it’s no secret that the Tavares-Marner line just hasn’t clicked the same way that it did when Hyman was on the left wing. Now the season is young and Kapanen is a natural right winger learning the ins and outs of the left side. But less than a week ago I was in a heated debate with my brother defending Kapanen over Hyman and the returns have not been promising.

I’m in the camp that thinks Hyman is a fourth liner at best and that Kapanen has some real jam. He’s one of the fastest players in the NHL and plays the game with a little chip on his shoulders. The biggest knock is his hands can’t catch up to his feet. I’m a big Kappy apologist but he simply needs to show a bit more.

Jordan Binnington

Anytime a rookie/young goalie gets hot in the playoffs I’m always interested to see how they follow it up. Binnington was an absolute animal in 32 regular season games and 26 playoff games last season. The Blues do not win the Stanley Cup last year without him.

But we’ve seen this song and dance before. Not every rookie goalie that wins the Cup ends up being Ken Dryden. Antti Niemi never quite replicated his Stanley Cup form after leaving Chicago. Matt Murray hasn’t been the dominant goalie people thought he’d be since Fleury left town. Playing 50+ regular season games and having enough gas in the tank for an extended playoff run is incredibly difficult. It will be interesting to see if Binnington is up to the task.

The Third Line

The Mikheyev-Kerfoot-Moore trio has been Toronto’s most effective unit on both ends of the ice so far. All three players have the offensive touch to potentially play up in the line-up and all three chase the puck like a dog on a bone. The speed and sand-paper makes them a tough match-up for other team’s third lines which is a huge advantage for Toronto. Let’s just hope Babs doesn’t get too excited and start force-feeding them 20+ minutes a night.

The Best Third Pairing in Hockey

I’m not talking about Sandin and Holl. St. Louis just has an embarrassment of riches that they can trot out Vince Dunn and Justin Faulk as their third pairing. The game just becomes increasingly tougher for the opposition when there’s not real weak match-up to pick on. Just take a look at this blueline:

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Simply unfair

Remember Those Leafs?

Tyler Bozak, Carl Gunnarson, Alex Steen

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The Leafs have been a bit of a feeder system for the Blues over the years.

The 2008 trade of Steen and Carlo Coliacovo for Lee Stempniak was a kick in the teeth. Steen has hit the 20 goal mark four times for the Blues (career-high 33 in 68 games in 2013-14) and has eclipsed 50 points five times. Stempniak had 24 total goals in 123 games over two mediocre seasons with the Leafs.

Gannarson made it to St. Louis by way of a trade for Roman Polak in 2014. Not a brutal trade but Gunnarson has been a steady top 4 defenseman for the Blues while Polak was a big pylon and the bane of my existence. Scratch that, it was a brutal trade.

Last year Bozak left in a free agency shuffle that saw Toronto reel in John Tavares with JVR and Bozak moving on with no real room in Toronto’s budget. Boz Lightyear ended up winning a Cup right away with St. Louis which stung, but good on him. He was always miscast as a top line centre with Toronto but produced with Phil Kessel in spite of the haters.

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Final Thoughts

Saturday’s loss was the type of deflating loss that felt like it could pile on and develop into a bit of a slide. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that and Toronto shows a bit of a bounce-back at home tonight. On a brighter note here, watch some clips of Auston Matthews goals this season:

 

Jeez. I’ll need to hose myself off. On stir fry night no less.

Jersday Blog March 14, 2019

The Round-Up

John Tavares Toronto Maple Leafs St. Pats

Any other week this would’ve won Jersey of the Week. This is by far the strongest field of submissions that I’ve had so  unfortunately it falls into the category of the “also ran”. If I was a complete Leafs homer I would’ve named it the winner, but I don’t let bias taint the jersey game. Big integrity move on my part.

For my money the Leafs have the best St. Patrick’s day set-up in sports. Every other team just falls back on the “make our regular jerseys green” play but the Leafs can just dust off the retro Toronto St. Pats out of the closet and print some money. Toronto St. Pat’s gear is on another tier with Boston Celtics and Notre Dame Fighting Irish apparel for St. Patty’s day outfits.

While we’re on the subject of St. Patrick’s Day, the viral video that my buddy took on St. Paddy’s Day two years ago ended up on Ellen this week. Shout out to Blake the man behind the camera. Shout out to the guy that got hit by the door. Apparently he was fine. Shout out to my hair cut seeing as the top of my head takes up 1/4 of the screen. Shout to Adam “Charlie Conway” Cooke.

Michigan Wolverines Baseball Starter Brand

You can tell that this puppy came straight from the thrift shop and it is fantastic. This jersey is pure grit. I’m always a big proponent of pinstripes on a baseball jersey and there is no exception here.

Go Blue.

Alex Pietrangelo St. Louis Blues 2008-2016 Alternate

The Original 6 teams get a lot of lip service in the “best jerseys in hockey” conversation. Everybody’s favourite looks seem the be the classics or the ugly 90’s throwbacks. The St. Louis Blues sneaky have one of the sharpest set-ups in hockey with some great names that you can throw on the back of the jerseys. Chris Pronger, Adam Oates, Wayne Gretzky, Brett Hull, Keith Tkachuk, Curtis Joseph, Vladimir Tarasenko. This Pietrangelo 3rd jersey hits the right notes.

Jordan Eberle Edmonton Oilers 2015-2017 Reebok Alternate

Remember when the Oilers traded Eberle for Ryan Strome? Remember when the Oilers traded the first round pick that would become Matthew Barzal for Griffin Reinhart? Remember when the Oilers traded Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson.

These trades are the result of Chiarelli making a deal with the devil to win 2015’s McDavid lottery. How in the world can you ice a team that currently sits 22nd in goals for per game in spite of McDavid’s 100 points in 66 games? What a mess. They have the best player in the world, all of those Stanley Cups, a new arena and sweet jerseys so at least they’re a hot mess.

Jamal Murray Denver Nuggets

The pride of Kitchener, Ontario. You know, growing up within a stone’s throw of KW, I know people that played against Jamal Murray in highschool. He’s lucky that Grand River High School didn’t make a trip down to the Falcon’s Nest in Fergus during my reign as chief towel waver and high fiver. He may not have made the NBA after I was through with him. I have derailed a few careers with my relentless “D What?” “Defense!” chants.

Dennis Rodman Chicago Bulls 

I believe it is fair to assume that Dennis Rodman is the only person on this planet to date Madonna, brunch with Kim Jong Un and lead the NBA in rebounds per game for seven straight seasons. This guy was/is legitimately a complete psychopath. Hell of a basketball player though.

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Christian Laettner Duke Blue Devils

March Madness is just around the corner so this jersey is perfect. Everybody hates Christian Laettner! This guy was the original Duke villain that blazed the trail for the likes of Grayson Allen and JJ Reddick. This guy was known for stomping on your hearts with big shots and… literally stomping on people.

Hate him if you will, but sports needs villains and Christian Laettner was one of the best college players of all-time and one of the biggest tools. Also, Christian Laettner also holds the rare distinction as the worst player on the 1992 Dream Team. The US men’s Olympic team was only going to take one college player and Chuck Daly and his coaching staff (Coach K) the Duke phenom over LSU’s Shaquille O’Neal (ever heard of him?). Unbelievable.

Jersey of the Week

Claude Giroux Berlin Polar Bears

I was ready to hand jersey of the week to Christian Laettner until this one hit my timeline. This is the first Deutsche Eishockey Liga jersey we’ve seen and it’s a beauty. During the 2012-13 NHL lockout Giroux racked up 19 points in 9 games with the Polar Bears on a team that also featured Flyers teammate Danny Briere. Any jersey of a North American All-Star on an overseas team’s jersey is a contender for Jersey of the Week. If someone hits me with a Davos HC Joe Thornton jersey that will be an automatic win.

Jersey of the Week Scoreboard:

1. @Acooksy19: 5
T2. @beamerr9: 2
T2. @wilsondrew17: 2
T3. @jefftrahan13: 1
T3. @phillydip4: 1

The Weekly Jersey Dump

 

These jerseys are kind of awesome. The overall look would look better with white pants but the jerseys themselves are a huge look.

 

Even the Raptors practice jerseys are hot. I’ll take a Spicy P Siakam OVO practice jersey please.

These are the perfect kind of ugly. This hits the Shane Doan-Randy Johnson sweet spot.

Whoever greenlit this must be a “fun” math teacher. Quit trying to make pi day happen. You can’t make me care about math.

 

 

Burning jerseys is so passe. I like that people are starting to get more creative in disgruntled jersey destruction.

Oof. As someone that owns a Colby Rasmus, Luke Schenn and Cory Joseph jersey this tweet hits home.

2017-18 Bench Life NHL Previews: 12. St. Louis Blues

Part 20 of 31 in our NHL previews where Ballantyne, Waind and I rank each NHL team 1 through 31 and give you an outlook on their season. Starting from the worst, we’ll be giving you the reasons why we ranked each team where we did.

Check out the other parts to this series:

#31. Colorado Avalanche , #30. Vegas Golden Knights, #29. Vancouver Canucks, #28. Detroit Red Wings, #27. New Jersey Devils, #26. Arizona Coyotes, #25. Buffalo Sabres#24. Winnipeg Jets#23. New York Islanders, #22. Florida Panthers, #21. Los Angeles Kings, #20. Carolina Hurricanes, #19. Philadelphia Flyers, #18. New York Rangers, #17. Calgary Flames, #16. Boston Bruins

2016-17 Recap

Record: 46-29-7 (99 points) 3rd in Central Division (10th overall)
GPG: 2.84 (12th)
GAPG: 2.63 (12th)
PP%: 21.8% (8th)
PK%: 84.8% (3rd)
Corsi For %: 49.5 (20th)

Like many teams that make a coaching change midseason, the Blues played like two different teams last season. After starting the year with a 24-21-5 record, St. Louis fired head coach Ken Hitchcock, who had been with the team since 2011. To replace him, they promoted assistant coach and former Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo. With the coaching change, the Blues went on the finish the year on a 22-8-2 tear. After knocking out the Wild in the first round, the Blues were knocked out by the Predators in 6 games in the second round.

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