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Send out the big guys, Schenn, Tarasenko and Schwartz. Steen after that. If it keeps going, maybe Dunn next. Then you close your eyes and point.
I'm of the school that a team shouldn't be embarrassed by missing the playoffs. A team should be embarrassed by plunging miles from the postseason bracket like the Edmonton Oilers did. If the Blues make the bracket and get schooled by the Predators, at least the younger guys got some education. Also, just making the playoffs despite all of this adversity would be an achievement to build on.
Sounds like somebody needs to follow the Buffalo Sabres for a few years to gain some perspective. Obviously the Blues were motivated to get back in the hunt despite taking massive injury hits. Calgary fell by the wayside, then Dallas did as well. The Blues were motivated to outplay Chicago for big stretches of Wednesday's game, but this is a team running on fumes with lots of placeholders in the lineup.
It's not like the Blues are trying to get into the playoffs with a sub-.500 record like in the old (Chuck) Norris Division days. Injuries and the Stastny sell-off knocked this team from the NHL's upper tier to the middle of the pack. As for Armstrong's anger, if he keeps Stastny and rents, say, Thomas Vanek for the stretch run the Blues easily make the playoffs this year. He made his choice, hoping to build a powerhouse within the next year or two.
Yeah, when a team lacks confidence in the goaltender that leads to the sort of jittery play we say Wednesday. Conversely, when a netminder is hot, as Allen was for a previous stretch, the D-men make the tough outlet passes and feel free to join the rush and jump into the offensive zone cycle.
The suggestion I had in a column about 10 days back was to keep all three, investing more more in Hutton while maintaining Husso as a No. 3 on a San Antonio team the Blues will control. In that scenario he would continue to get some NHL fill-in work. When you look around the league, you see most franchises taking their time with goaltender prospects. The jump from Europe and/or the AHL to the NHL is huge.
Hutton has played a total of 36 minutes since March 3 -- and when he played, he allowed the Coyotes to score four times. So putting him in Wednesday night's game was hardly a no-brainer. That said, I would have started him in Arizona to get him back into the flow. And starting him tonight in Chicago is certainly worth a shot. And if he plays great, start him again.
Judging from the tweets from the scene in Chicago, it appeared Hutton was the guy.
If Tavares opts out of the Islanders, his team might try to orchestrate a sign-and-trade deal so he can get the eight-year deal elsewhere. As I've noted many, many times, the opportunity cost of making that contract ($13 million per year or more) doesn't seem to be worth it. If we're talking McDavid, sure, but given the age of Tavares and the fact he hasn't elevated his current team to playoff glory. That said, yes, the Blues will need to make at least one major move in addition to regaining Fabbri and adding Thomas, Kyrou, et al to the competitive mix.
The Blues have no shot at Dahlin. The Flyers get that first-round pick for Schenn.
Hutton would have remained the No. 1 goaltender had he stayed healthy. He didn't, Allen took over and led the team back into the hunt. Obviously he has struggled lately, but Hutton was awful in his one relief appearance since getting healthy. So here we are. Going to Hutton tonight is worth a shot. If it works, great, maybe he goes again on back-to-back games or gets in early in relief Saturday. If it doesn't work, then Allen has one last shot at redemption.
Healthy, yes. Rusty? Yes. Tonight he gets to scrape it off.
Yeah, well, look at some of these teams, like the Sabres, that hit rock bottom and stay there for a long time. At least the Blues have had one of the better NHL products since finally recovering from the great Bill Laurie Sell-Off.
He returned. To San Antonio, where he struggled to produce while coming back from that shoulder injury.
Yeah, despite showing promise in spurts, he has "needs change of scenery" written all over him. His physical play is a plus, but his utter inability to produce is maddening. He doesn't hurt the team as a fourth-liner, but if played with Soshnikov's motor he could be an impact player.
The severity of the Bouwmeester and Gunnarsson injuries impacts trade strategy, particularly since Carl could have become a piece to move this summer if both guys stayed healthy. Since neither guy stayed healthy, I could see re-upping Jordan Schmaltz to a one-way contract. The Mitch Reinke signing added near-term depth. He and Walman could be cornerstones at San Antonio and depth protection for the Blues. I don't see a big trade move on defense, since the crying needs are up front.
But . . . look around the league and point out the available goaltenders that have proven capable of elevating teams to Cup caliber. For next season, I'd suggest Allen/Hutton/Husso with Allen and Hutton battling for the lead role. After next season, the Blues will have a better read on all of their young forwards and potentially some salary cap room to play with.
The NHL has had some screamers, like Marc Crawford. But in a game of intense 40-second shifts, there is a whole different coaching rhythm. Trust me, there is plenty of animation between periods and between games.
Yes, Blues management sees this as a problem. And, yes, I would expect coaching staff adjustments as a result. Status quo won't be acceptable after his power play outage.