Time For Shattenkirk to Step Up
Sources close to Dwight King say they’ve heard nothing from the NHL in regards to the hit on Blues D-man Alex Pietrangelo.
Is the league waiting to learn if Pietrangelo is available for Monday’s Game 2 before making a decision?
You can certainly make the case the hit was dangerous. If B.J. Crombeen puts the same hit on Drew Doughty is it a suspension? This is where the NHL gets in trouble for the lack of consistency. Trying to determine how the league will react is anybody’s guess.
Just think if it was Raffi Torres and not Dwight King.
It’s a real touchy situation when a player puts his hand directly on the numbers and shoves him into the boards. It’s even worse if it injures arguably the Blues best player. Most NHL players are fully aware if the opposition is caught in a vulnerable position.
Pietrangelo’s momentum had him lunging forward and that combined with the shove obviously contributed to him falling awkwardly into the wall. How the officials missed the blood trickling from his chin is a head-scratcher.
Fans can assume the Blues brass won’t be happy if the NHL elects to overlook this one.
This is far from the most violent hit we’ve ever seen. I think a five minute major would have been appropriate given the nature of the hit and the rules established by the NHL. Personally I’m not sure a suspension is necessary. Some are calling for one game but with the Blues likely without their Star D-man one game isn’t equal punishment anyway.
The Blues instruct their players to get up off the ice and not to embellish injuries. It probably would have worked in their favor had he stayed down this time.
Sources say it’s unlikely Pietrangelo will play Monday night although no official word has come from the team. Ken Hitchcock said Sunday morning he’s “day to day” and cautioned the media not to rule him out of Game 2.
The Blues have nothing to gain by ruling him out today.
Personally I don’t expect him to play Monday but I won’t speculate beyond Game 2. It appears he’s dealing with concussion like symptoms and I would expect the Blues to hold him out for precautionary reasons if for nothing else. This kid is only 22 years-old and has his entire career ahead of him.
Assuming Pietrangelo can’t play, Kevin Shattenkirk needs to pick up his play. He was a minus-3 on Saturday and had some costly turnovers. He got caught on the wrong side of Dustin Brown on Matt Greene’s shorthanded goal but didn’t get the help from Pietrangelo he should have. The way Pietrangelo played this makes you believe he was dazed and confused from the King hit.
Overall Shattenkirk has been “just ok” in the playoffs. The Blues will have to free him up like they do Pietrangelo if he can't go. He’s been labeled as a future star and there’s no better time to shine than now.
We’ve also seen Barret Jackman play better than what we saw on Saturday. A costly turnover led to the Kings first goal although there was a coverage issue in front. Jackman says he was interfered with by one of the referees which contributed to him coughing up the puck. There were two mistakes on the play but the coaching staff was more concerned with what happened after the turnover.
Ken Hitchcock says former first rounder Ian Cole will play if Pietrangelo is held out. They’re also considering going with seven defensemen and only 11 forwards. In this case Kent Huskins would dress and be available to kill penalties.
Chris Stewart or possibly B.J. Crombeen are the likely options to sit if they go with 11 forwards.
I wouldn’t mind seeing Shattenkirk play with Kris Russell and pair Carlo Colaiacovo with Roman Polak, and Jackman with Cole.
Crombeen has played well since entering the lineup and has had some jump playing with Jamie Langenbrunner and Scott Nichol. Hitchcock called this his best line in Game 1. This line had numerous chances including late in the game trailing by a goal.
Hitchcock says he needs more from his top players. There’s a chance we see David Backes and Patrik Berglund flip flop center positions on the top two lines.
Darryl Sutter moved the Kings practice Sunday from an originally planned 1:00 start time to 11:00, the same time the Blues were practicing. This obviously prevented the media from covering both teams and goes against NHL policy. The Kings made at least one player available via conference call as a result.
More to come,
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