He is more assertive offensively this season than last season. He is capable of playing big minutes. He matches up against top opponents. And, yes, he is was minus-5 in two games playing 27 minutes per night with no Pietrangelo, no Bouwmeester and not lot of puck control by the Blues. He is not a physical player, but he is not overrated. He is one of the elite young defensemen in the game.
In eight games this month he has a 1.92 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage. So right now he is one of the better goaltenders in the league. Can he sustain that with the team playing shorthanded, heading into two games against the explosive Jets? We'll see, but at the moment he is in a good place. But until he does it for a full season and an entire playoff, he won't truly rank among the elite.
Pietrangelo is out at least one more game. Bouwmeester is down again. Gunnarsson got dinged up in practice today. At the moment, Dunn's leash is long. He could head out for some remedial work at some point, but with 20-plus solid games in the NHL he has earned some opportunity to work through things.
At the moment, no, they are not ready. And I would consider some of those shots off the iron to be close. It's not like they are getting no chances at all.
No excuses for Parayko, With 17 points and a plus-5 rating he is outplaying the likes of Erik Karlsson (one goal, minus-18), Duncan Keith (zero goals, minus-8) and Dustin Byfuglien (zero goals, even).
In the last four Blues losses, they scored a total of three goals. Yeah, I suppose he should be winning more 1-0 games, but right now the team has a lot bigger concerns than goaltending.
Again, it wasn't like 91 was pumping home goals on a dynamic Blues power play while on the left half-boards. It's not usual to put a goal score on the point, especially with teams using more of a 1-3-1 power play look with one of the point men moving with with the puck. I was worth a look. Right now this team is struggling to scrounge up one decent 5-man unit with both Schwartz and Pietrangelo missing and Alexander Steen not looking like his old self.
Sometimes you can have too much practice time. Teams become formulaic when they set up on the power play, painting by numbers with the same set plays with players in the same spots making the same passes. To me, it's a matter of quicker puck movement, quicker shots, quicker player movement to counter PK pressure. Chemistry, confidence, decisiveness . . . however you want to describe the problem, you are seeing talent wasted. It's pretty easy to check five guys with four defenders if the puck movement is tentative.
Everybody is talking to Ottawa, since that team has become a dumpster fire. Buffalo is getting to that point too, with everybody asking about Evander Kane. The Sabres could use young D-men, but, again, the Blues don't have a first-round pick to move in such a rental. The Canadiens were being badgered by media types into making a trade, but Carey Price came back and settled stuff down. The Red Wings may move guys, but not for another 10 to 15 games and they want to dump unproductive forwards with big salaries.
Fans would be shocked at how well-respected Bouwmeester is around the league, even at this point in his career. As for Steen, the list of currently available forwards more productive than him is small, if it even exists.
No, he is who he is. He'll put up some points in the AHL, but up here he checks. He's not a kid any more. He's had his chance to develop offensively in Europe and in the AHL (108 regular season games) and here we are.
Yes, Allen has shouldered a heavy load and the home-and-home is a good chance to get Carter re-engaged.
The Blackhawks need help on defense, but I don't see Stan Bowman as putting family reunions high on his to-do list. As for trading FOR a defenseman, no, the Blues have depth. Their need is up front.
Yeah, I was listening to the boys on the NHL Network satellite radio show talking about that. Whoa, those guys will need some hot chocolate after enduring that.
Most of them can't be shared. But one time we asked Butcher why he was trying to wrestle the headgear off one of the Red Wings behind the play so he could punch the guy, who was coming back from a injury. Butcher couldn't believe we felt sorry for that player. "Nobody feels bad for me when he scores on me," he said.
No, there's not much finish there. He is just not a NHL-caliber scorer. It's looking more and more like he is just a placeholder player for this team.
His drug suspension was cut from two years to six months, so he was able to resume his KHL career. And that's that.
Tarasenko isn't quite that helpless with the puck. He is drawing a lot of attention and perhaps his frustration is causing him to hold the puck too long or try to make plays that are not there. That is a universal consequence of scoring slumps. As for the net crashing, if you go into a dressing room after a loss 10,987 tines, you will "we need to get more traffic in front of the net" or "we need more greasy goals" all 10,987 times.
Blocked a shot in practice during a PK drill. Yeo hope he will be good to go Saturday.
Blais has the tools to score in the NHL, unlike Sundqvist. But has none of Oskar's defensive ability. I believe Sammy will eventually make it and put up David Perron numbers. As for Barbashev, sometimes he looks like Sobotka . . . and sometimes he takes the foot off the gas. To stick in the NHL, he needs to play with tempo.