Blues Continue to Dominate Shootout/Plus Six Outdoor Games?
Fans got a preview of playoff hockey Tuesday night in St. Louis. What a physical battle between two teams with heavy expectations.
The Blues wouldn’t be afraid to face Vancouver in the first round if things ended up this way. The Canucks play hard and they have some tremendous individual talent, but they don’t bring the heavy physical presence we see from some of the other teams in the West. Obviously the Kings are the first team that comes to mind and I don’t see anyone volunteering to face Los Angeles in the playoffs.
The Blues did a solid job of holding the Sedins to just one assist each. The twins had one or two of their usual Harlem Globetrotter moments but resulted in little production. Daniel Sedin led Vancouver with six shots on goal.
David Backes earned his salary Tuesday night. This is the way the Blues need him to play once again proving he’s a tough matchup when he brings this level of tenacity to the ice. He finished with six hits against Vancouver and probably could have been credited with a few more. Backes received stitches to his head after Alex Burrows interrupted a fight between him and Vancouver D-man Keith Ballard.
Ballard and Backes have some history going back to when Ballard played in Phoenix.
This is big boy hockey from now on and the Blues need to be prepared to play this way for the duration. The schedule shapes up nicely for St. Louis the rest of the way and they should have their sights on finishing as high as possible.
It was refreshing to see the Blues look to create and make plays in the offensive end, something we've seen very little as of late.
The Blues are nearly unstoppable in the shootout, something we couldn’t say a season ago. Andy McDonald and Alex Steen remained perfect with shootout goals on Tuesday. Chris Stewart is also perfect on the season and overall the Blues are 13 for 19 in shootout attempts. As a team St. Louis is 4-1 in shootouts with a 3-0 record on the road.
Last season Steen was 0/4 on shootout attempts and the Blues finished the year with a 4-10 shootout record scoring on only 19.6% of their attempts.
Fans love controversy but in this case there really isn’t one. The medical staff didn’t handle the injury improperly as some might suggest nor was anything missed. The fact that Oshie needed surgery and will miss extended time is more unfortunate than anything. Oshie has a reputation for having a high pain threshold but the pain never subsided as he continued skating and putting pressure on his left ankle. A screw was inserted to stabilize the fracture and the surgery should allow him to return quicker. Obviously the Blues are hopeful they see him play again this season and anyone who knows Oshie won’t be ruling him out.
This is the same ankle Oshie had operated on a few years back following an injury in Columbus.
Information has leaked of the NHL’s plans to play not one, but six outdoor games next season. Does this excite you? The league has gained great traction with sports fans, not just hockey fans, with the annual New Year’s tradition.
The idea of adding additional games waters it down. It’s no different than NCAA college football bowl games. There’s too many and creates less interest in individual games as a result.
Is this an example of the NHL getting greedy and looking to recover the revenue lost during the lockout? It’s no surprise the games are only being played in the NHL’s largest markets. In fact the New York Rangers are slated to play twice at Yankee Stadium facing the New Jersey Devils and the Islanders in separate meetings.
There will still be significant fan interest of the teams involved but outside of these markets it won’t draw the same response. There’s something to be said for trying to do too much and in this case it could very well ruin one of the true good things the NHL has that separates them from the other sports.
Having hockey played in Dodger Stadium, Soldier Field, the Big House in Ann Arbor, as well as Yankee Stadium are all great ideas. I just don’t understand why it needs to happen in the same season.
The sixth game, as being reported by numerous outlets, is expected to be played at B.C. Place in Vancouver featuring the Canucks and the Ottawa Senators.
Blues D-man and former Boston University star Kevin Shattenkirk was concerned for a number of close friends he still has in the Boston area following the explosion during Monday’s Marathon.
All of Shattenkirk’s personal friends are safe including longtime BU hockey trainer Larry Venis who for years has worked the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Venis, who has worked the marathon since 1986, was one of the first medical people on hand to assist those who were injured.
More to come,
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