Lower Body Injury Leaves Pietrangelo a Gametime Decision
Will he or won’t he?
All eyes are on #27 when pre-game begins tonight at 7:30.
I recommend all fans be in their seats.
Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock says if Alex Pietrangelo takes warmup then he’s playing.
Here’s the latest scoop…
Sources say Pietrangelo was foggy and in rough shape yesterday after being hit from behind by Dwight King. Today his head felt better and was medically cleared to return to the ice.
Sources confirm Pietrangelo has also been dealing with a “lower body injury” after crumbling hard into the boards. It’s this injury that leaves him a gametime decision for tonight’s Game 2.
In fairness and respect to the players in the dressing room, I’ll refrain from identifying the injury. This is the playoffs and injuries tend to be top secret his time of year. If your job required you to talk to the players on a daily basis you would keep this to yourself as well.
I’m hearing the Blues still may choose to dress seven D-men if Pietrangelo plays. This obviously provides protection in the event Pietrangelo can’t make it through the game.
If Pietrangelo doesn’t play, expect Hitchcock to dress six D-men with Ian Cole filling in.
In my opinion Pietrangelo looked cautious this morning and certainly less than 100%. He was the last D-man on the ice and the first to leave. He’ll meet with both GM Doug Armstrong and Hitchcock this afternoon to determine whether or not he can go tonight. Don’t forget Game 3 isn’t played until Thursday so the Blues could buy a few extra days. Then again this is the playoffs and plenty of players are fighting through injuries.
D’Agostini in for Stewart?
If the Blues dress seven defensemen then I doubt you’ll see Matt D’Agostini in the lineup. If he does play then you can expect him to replace Stewart on a line with Jason Arnott and Vladimir Sobotka.
D’Agostini adds speed and another look on the PP. This is just another example of the depth the Blues have on their roster.
Backes and Berglund flip flop….
Look for these two to swap center positions for at least the beginning of Game 2. Both players have had extensive playing time with their new linemates so this is almost a non-issue. All six forwards on the Blues top two lines have, at one time or another, played together.
Hitchcock says this move should create more tempo, recklessness, and zone time. He’s hoping this gives the Blues more energy and more speed up front.
All four wingers are skilled, work hard, and can create offense. It shouldn’t really matter who’s in the middle although Backes has more awareness and playmaking ability than Berglund.
Hitch Believes in His 4th Line.
The line of Nichol, Langenbrunner, and Crombeen is playing with a ton of confidence right now. They cherish the fact Hitchcock believes in them and their job is no longer to just play safe.
All three veterans keep things simple and are playing with almost no hesitation. It’s easier to be aggressive on the forecheck knowing you have a trailer backing you up. They’re playing relaxed knowing they can make a mistake and still see the ice again.
Will Blues Dethrone The King Early?
Will the Blues respond to the King hit right off the bat? Crombeen challenged him at the end of Game 1 before King skated away. Should he have grabbed him anyway? Likely would have cost Crombeen a game and Hitchcock a fine for instigating a fight late in the game.
Somebody has the set the tone right off the bat tonight and get the fans out of their seats early. Who will step up and do it?
Hitchcock on Game 2..."We need to win this game."
More to come,
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