No. It didn't happen in anything we saw.
The other night, you'd have been with 10 forwards, which might have been stretching things. And he doesn't turn the puck over every night. Though lately, it's been a lot of nights.
So far this season they've had Schenn, Hoffman, Sanford, Barbashev, Kyrou and now Blais. Though Barbashev is the only one of them who has gotten hurt, so it doesn't have that true Spinal Tap drummer feeling to it. And some of those guys have scored goals elsewhere. But it certainly isn't a spot that allows someone to put down roots.
The Blues certainly have the ability to win. Better defense would help because the Blues have always been better equipped to win a game 3-2 than 5-4.
The hope is that Blais gives them more of a Barbashev type linemate, who can be aggressive on the forecheck and get them the puck. And that moving Kyrou will help the Schenn line.
Clifford has done better than expected, but right now, it seems his preferred usage is in a fourth-line role where that group can be heavy and aggressive and make things happen and the team would lose some of that with him in a third-line role and not as much grinding and crunching. There's a definite case to be made that over the past few games, the best scoring chances have come from the fourth line.
The Krug-Faulk pairing has been productive for the Blues, and that seems to be settling in. The cupboard is a little low on right-handed D at the moment -- Mitch Reinke is the next guy in the organization listed as a right D, and he isn't even on the taxi squad -- so they'll have to be using people on the other side. The cap space doesn't allow for trading Dunn for a living person; whatever deal the Blues make will be for a draft pick. The Blues are going to have to survive with what they've got now in the organization. (Unless they somehow found someone who made less than Dunn on the market.)
Not really, though if the Blues are trailing, Dunn plays more and if the Blues are winning, Scandella plays more. Dunn's ice time is up though. Scandella may also not be back to 100 percent after his injury situation.
The return of Tarasenko would certainly give the team a psychological boost. Around now, getting any of the injured guys back would likely be a plus. And it's really unclear who may be the closest to coming back. Maybe Schwartz, though he didn't skate again today. Bozak had been on the ice but wasn't today, so he may have taken a step back. Tarasenko is still a few weeks away.
None. Neither have skated since coming out of the lineup. The Blues haven't put either on IR, which can be seen as them thinking either could be back soon or that they don't need the roster spot, so why bother? At this point, both have been out long enough that the team could put them on IR if they needed to free up a roster spot and bring them back whenever. And they're both about at the point where they'll need a few days after they return skating before they can start playing again. Schwartz is going to go at least two weeks between games.
Getting the puck into the zone is another longstanding problem. Or keeping the puck in the zone once they get it in. If the Blues can get set up in the zone, they can make things happen. But that has not been easy for them.
Alas, right now, they're too deep into thinking mode. They need some things to go their way.
That will be a true sign of desperation if that happens. Doing that would also require changes to a lot of other things.
I was on Bernie Miklasz's radio show the other day and said I thought they could tread water in this stretch with the California teams, play .500 hockey, so I guess I'll stick with that for the time being. The Blues' expected goals totals haven't been very high lately: 2.15 on Monday, 1.56 before that, 3.41 (in the overtime San Jose game), 1.33 in the last game at Arizona. Less turnovers, and less goals for the opponent, would help. Again, this team, especially right now, isn't going to win 5-4 very often.
I think you're getting a little ahead of things. When this team has everyone, it can be pretty good. Right now, they don't have everyone and are playing subpar. Problem is it's not clear when many of those players are coming back. The waters are very murky right now for that reason.
It's hard to differentiate watching hockey for fun and watching hockey for work, because even watching an Eastern Division game right now can be both. Last night, for instance, I was watching hockey games. If I didn't do this for a living, would I have watched something else? Maybe. Right now, out of a sense of professional responsibility, I watch whenever I can, but it's never really a burden. My dad ran a convenience store; that is something I would have had nothing to do with in my free time. Being a sports writer is a little different. Though, as I was telling someone the other day, being a sportswriter reduces your ability to just be a fan because objectivity is the goal. So even when I'm at a sporting event I'm not covering, I don't really cheer.
By the way, we're coming up on the homestretch, so if there are any questions, now is the time.
When players get closer together, more contact is inevitable and it just happens. When neither player has the puck, have at it.
Clifford started a fight in the fourth Arizona game, but there hasn't been anything since. But with the way this team is going, can't rule one out. Berube closed practice today with some 3-on-2 and 3-on-3 drills in tight spaces, presumably to get the energy flowing this morning.
Schwartz's contributions, which often go unnoticed, become much more apparent when he's not there. He also helps them get in front of the net.
Considering some of the Blues options up front, why not? A second shift of Hoffman vs. a shift of Poganski? Just have to watch out for what happens on the other end.
This is true. And the Blues haven't scored a lot of goals on rebounds this season. They got a big one with Schenn on the sixth attacker. Now they have to make it happen in five on five.
A lot will depend on what the market for Hoffman looks like. They were able to get him on sort of a half-off deal at $4 million. If he goes back up to what his normal price should be, that will probably take him out of the Blues range. If there's only room for one, I would think the preference would be for Schwartz. Though who's to say what can happen between now and when free agency starts.