Colaiacovo Should Be OK Following Tootoo Hit.
Early reports are that the league will not be subjecting any further discipline action against Predators forward Jordin Tootoo for his charging penalty on Blues D-man Carlo Colaiacovo. In today’s game the first thing we think of following a hit like this is whether or not a suspension is in order. I’m not sure if a suspension is necessary but it’s about time the Blues respond to Jordin Tootoo. It seems like every time these two teams face one another this guy just has his way. Following the game a member of Blues front office told me “what comes around usually goes around”. Based on the reaction I hear form Blues fans, this is long overdue.
Colaiacovo did not return to the game following the hit but did accompany the team back to St. Louis late Thursday night. He is not believed to have suffered a concussion but he still had a pretty decent headache several minutes after the game. Colaiacovo will be further evaluated on Friday to determine the significance of any injury. You could see the play develop as Tootoo was coming around the net and I certainly hope either goaltender Jaroslav Halak or D-man Tyson Strachan gave Colaiacovo a heads up that a Nashville player was coming hard.
Regardless the end result is what it is.
The Blues continue to get points as they’ve lost just one regulation game all season. Their game is being won in the neutral zone as the Blues are giving opposing teams almost no time to generate any speed once they cross the blue line. A big part of this has to do with the return of the forwards applying backside pressure and making a commitment to this area of the game. It really shouldn’t go unnoticed. This is where coaching can make a difference combined with players buying in, so far everyone is on the same page.
It doesn’t hurt when a good portion of the game is being spent in the offensive end either.
Halak has obviously made a difference. Sure the defense is improved but this guy has a lot to do with it. It goes without saying Halak is proving to be the best pickup of the off-season. The breakaway save he made on Patric Hornqvist set the tone for not only the game but for the type of night Halak was about to have. This guys confidence is contagious throughout the lineup as he’s recorded seven straight periods of shutout hockey.
Did Alex Pietrangelo really play 25:00 minutes? I know a lot of this was on the PP and Roman Polak is out of the lineup but still. Who’s playing better than this kid? How often do we say a player who is basically a rookie, is elevating the play of his partner? Pietrangelo’s ability to put pucks in good areas combined with his uncanny ability to read plays is making Barret Jackman a better hockey player. He never seems to put Jackman in bad situations where he can’t bail himself out. Watching Pietrangelo handle the puck in his own end is like watching a quarterback in football go through his progressions. If the first or second option isn’t there he doesn’t force the play. From management on down, this kid is surprising everybody.
Doug Armstrong deserves some credit here as well for how he’s taken hold of the organization. I said it on NBC television Friday night and I’ll say it here. It goes beyond the trades, it’s his ability to keep everyone calm around him and keep things in control. His focus doesn’t appear to be on anything outside of his hockey team and that’s the way it should be. His poise and confidence has transferred through the coaching staff and onto the players. I know it’s very early in the Armstrong era but believe me when I say his presence is being felt throughout the organization. It starts up top and right now Armstrong’s even keel approach has made an impact.
Patrik Berglund played another very strong game as he’s quickly figuring out how to be a successful NHL player. We’ve been saying since the summer that this guy has to be willing to play on the inside otherwise he’s not going to be an effective hockey player. He allows Brad Boyes and Andy McDonald do their thing in the corners and he heads straight to the front of the net. Credit Scott Mellanby for a lot of this as he’s really made Berglund his own little project.
Berglund’s goal would not have been possible if Andy McDonald didn’t quickly make a neutral zone, cross ice pass to Brad Boyes. Great recognition by McDonald who felt the pressure of a Nashville player draped all over him.
Tyson Strachan did a nice job in his first real action of the season blocking 5 Nashville shots in just over 12:00 minutes of action.
There was some talk of Cam Janssen playing Thursday night as B.J. Crombeen is being bothered by a back issue. Obviously Crombeen was ok to play.
More to come,
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