Thanks for joining me for the early edition of our weekly Blues chat. I'm sitting in the club seats at Scottrade Center (yes, they're wider) waiting for the team to come onto the ice at 10:30 for its morning skate. I'll be able to keep an eye on any updates/changes while we're chatting for the next hour. When the players and Mike Yeo come off the the ice, I'll have to cut loose for interviews and blog writing, so I thought this was a good time for the chat. I hope it works for everyone else. It'll be Game 2 tonight at Scottrade Center and we've got lots to discuss, so let's get chattin' ...
They just blared the sound system with DJ Khaled's "All I do is Win," and I about jumped out of my skin.
I didn't see it as puck-luck in the true sense. I saw it as Nashville putting shots on net and reaping the rewards that teams get when they do that. The last goal of course never should have went in, so maybe fluky, but there were plenty of mistakes on the shift that led to the goal. The Blues' defense and goaltending have been looser and more mistake prone the last few games than they were earlier in the series.
We are 26 minutes from the start of the morning skate, so if they have everyone on the ice, we'll know then. That's the great part about this chat being at 10 a.m and me sitting in the lower bowl. You could not get any faster updates than the Blues changing something as we're talking. I'll let you know as soon as I see something.
That Fleury rumor never made sense to me, not from the Blues' end anyway, and obviously he didn't move anyway.
Duh, Carrie! Not much of a surprise, but I'll be fine not being surprised. They put name plates on our seats in the pressbox and I'll cross out "Korac" and put "Underwood."
I don't think it's that easy. We didn't see the Blues at their best, but I don't think you can say after one game that we saw Nashville's best either. The Blues did score three even-strength goals, so they've shown that they can compete with the Predators five-on-five, but let me say this ... remember when the Blues' reaction to Boudreau saying the Wild were the better team? They said the Wild were trailing and therefore pushing and getting all the shots and scoring chances. Well, guess what, the Blues were trailing 3-1 in the third period and were pushing and getting all the scoring chances. Let's see them do that when it's 0-0, 1-1.
It could be, but I've heard that Steen is feeling much better lately. That line had a touch matchup against the Johansen line. The Steen-Berglund-Perron line certainly didn't make much noise in Game 1, but I think we've got to keep in mind it was one game. Steen had a big goal in Game 5 of the Minnesota series and Berglund played pretty well in the series, too. The Johansen line took Chicago to the cleaners in Round 1, they're playing well, and Game 1 was a feeling-out process for everybody. If it continues, then yeah, Mike Yeo is going to have to come up with an alternative plan, but I think we have to hold out judgment a bit longer.
And going back earlier in that sequence, Paajarvi made everything happen by making the play along that way in the defensive zone that began the rush. I think Paajarvi has been terrific. He was on fire when he came up from the minors, had a little bit of a lull late in the regular season, but he's picked it up in the playoffs. I don't think he's a guy that Yeo has to motivate, he motivates himself. But Yeo did tell us he had a talk with Paajarvi before Game 5 in Minnesota about doing more offensively and it led to the OT winner. Whatever he said helped, but I don't think Paajarvi needs that.
A few Blues have emerged from the locker room. Any guesses on who the first three players are on the ice?
Fair question, but I don't like thinking that way. True, home-ice advantage may not mean the same as it once did, but you'd still rather be playing at Scottrade Center than Bridgestone. So even though the numbers the past two years paint the story that the Blues are better on the road, it's hard to keep that up and secondly, at some point you've got to win some home games if you want to win the Stanley Cup. Big game tonight, very tough to go down 0-2 against the Preds heading to Nashville.
Wrong: Barbashev, Allen and Bortuzzo
This is true. Jay Bouwmeester is included in that group, taking two penalties in Game 5 of the Minnesota series, even though he disagreed with that. The Blues' vets are trying to lead the way, but they have to be careful with some of these penalties. They're going to happen, everybody gets that, but there have been too many lately from players that should know better, and as the Blues found out in Game 1, you're not going to win that way with the way Nashville's PP was humming Wednesday.
That was very odd. Tarasenko is not an embellishment type of guy, but the reaction seemed worse than the hit from where we sit way up in the pressbox. So either we had a bad view or Tarasenko has open flesh wound that we don't know about and Watson dumped some salt down it. I don't know, but that was odd. Didn't have a chance to ask him about it.
By the way, everyone is on the ice except for Steen, so we'll have some updates coming.
Well, here's the update: I'm not sure what we can take from this until we talk to Yeo, but Lehtera is centering the third line with Barbashev on the wing and Paajarvi is skating in Steen's spot. That could either mean that Barbashev is in for Paajarvi, but I don't think so. I think with the concern there was over the Steen-Berglund-Perron line in Game 1, Steen could be on the third line with Lehtera and they've moved Paajarvi up to the Berglund-Perron line.
OK, a little bit of a delay there as I checked to see what the Blues were doing with their lineup, but let's get back to your questions.
Well, we can only go by the little bit of history this postseason and Allen has seemed to rebound well. He had the hiccup in Game 4 and came back and played well in Game 5 in Minnesota. He took the Fiddler game-winner hard afterwards and knows he's got to be better. Who knows, but if Allen struggles, it won't be because he's not pushing himself. Of the many goalies I've covered, he's a laid back guy but probably takes things on the ice the most series.
Blues working on the PP now. They could use the practice.
Well, like me, they both need to apply sunscreen to their dome when outside in the summer time. But yeah, I can see the connection in the mannerisms and dissection of the game, too. They're both pretty low-key and measure their words and give you a pretty good thought on why things are happening the way they are.
I think they need to be proactive instead of reactive. The problem is the Blues are taking too many bad penalties, yes, but they're also not drawing any. They had one power play last game. As you guys know, when you're not drawing penalties, you're not working hard enough to make the other team hook you, grab you, etc. So if you play an aggressive style, skate hard, go to the net, that'll change. When you're reacting to what Nashville is doing, then you're putting yourself in bad positions and being forced to commit those fouls.
I thought I was going to be writing a game story in the pressbox while listening to the one-hit wonder Chris Brown. Glad they rescheduled.