Bobo's here, where's all the ballplayers?
The league will likely suspend Barbashev. But if the officials manufacture some early calls to help the Bruins -- who had a 3-to-1 edge in power plays in Game 5 -- then that could set up a parade to the penalty box that the league does not want. If the referees call ticky-tack stuff early, can they ignore more obvious call later? The last thing the NHL wants is more discussion about its officiating. The officials didn't go out of their way to help the Blues after the "hand pass" and I don't think they want to get into that business with the Cup on the line.
The fact Bozak was trying to play the puck doesn't really matter in this case. His was guilty of a leg whip there, which made the non-call more egregious. Had he played the puck and maybe clipped a skate incidentally with his follow-through, then it's more of a gray area. But this was about as blatant an infraction as you are going to see,
There is a slight resemblance. But I don't think Wainwright takes his next start after suffering a broken jaw.
Marchand's spear was called a slash and Brad was sent off for that. He's had a few other incidents around the call that were not called.
It'll likely come down to Fabbri or Jordan Nolan, another hard hitter that Berube really likes. Nolan was "next man up" as the extra warm-up skater earlier. Since Berube likes to play the Sundqvist line a lot at home against the Bergeron line, does he put Blais with Oskar and Steen and, say, Nolan with Bozak and Maroon on the "Bowling for Bruins" line? That is another possibility. Or he could go with Fabbri with Sundqvist and Steen and hope Robby puts his speed to work.
That's playoff hockey. Ask Nick Kypreos and Grant Fuhr about that.
Thomas wasn't on the ice for the last Blues practice -- he worked out off ice instead -- so it appears he could be finished for the playoffs. Berube hasn't indicated anything either way on Robert, but that is what Jim Thomas is surmising.
Heed Craig Berube's mantra and stay focused on the task at hand. As the say, that last game to win the Cup is always the hardest. The Bruins will come at the Blues with everything they have left.
Berube loves the fact he is getting O'Reilly going where he's at, with Perron and Sanford. We've all suspected O'Reilly has been playing hurt and perhaps the days off before the Cup Final and the days between games has helped him get some jump back. Schwartz/Schenn/Tarasenko had some chances in Boston and I expect you will notice them in Game 6. The Blues will surely miss Barbashev in Game 6, but on balance Berube really likes where his lines are at.
Early on Schwartz was that guy. Then I was leaning toward Alex Pietrangelo until yesterday, then Binnington clearly stole Game 5. His came-out-of-nowhere story will play well with the voters if the Blues win this series. And like you say, he will likely have to be great again for the Blues to win another game.
As I noted earlier, the last thing the NHL wants is the officials drawing attention to themselves in Game 6. If they start making lots of calls early, when does that end?
Brady's accomplishment is the greatest among those. It's hard to win again and again and again in the NFL, given all the rules designed to create parity and the leveling effect of injuries. A great basketball player with the right coach and the right supporting cast can have an easier time imposing his will than a quarterback leading a huge and ever-changing contingent of players through single-elimination playoffs. As for Russell, I love him and all he did, but he was on an historically great team in a league with little competitive balance at the time.
If Berube is looking for a guy to play 7 or 8 minutes and throw some big hits, then Nolan could be his guy. He has Cup experience and he is the more physical player. Remember Nolan was the guy who immediately leveled Patrik Laine the next time the Blues saw that guy after his five-goal game. Look at the job that Sanford did after sitting all that time.
I believe the coach should project calm and confidence and set the tone for his players. What if the Bruins start getting caught up in the calls or non-calls in Game 6? Could that derail their bid to force Game 7?
Gary Bettman shudders at the thought of an officiating blunder so bad that it tops what we have seen. I put the hand pass at the top of the list because it came in overtime and it ended the game. That five-minute penalty was tough, but Vegas completely fell apart on its penalty kill. I mean, give up a goal or two there, but come on. Just keep icing the puck. As for the trip, I'd rank that as second worst. Imagine if that happened in overtime! In that case I would put it higher than the hand pass.
That's optimistic. I still need to see one more starting pitcher emerge and a bullpen where all seven or eight guys can handle a tough assignment. There are some good pitching pieces in place, true, but overall this staff is not nearly as good as I believed it could become. Now, if Carlos Martinez and Alex Reyes pitch to their full potential during the season's second half we might have something.
The Blues would go to the top with one more victory because the Cardinals have won a bunch of titles, with '06 offering more shock value than '11, and because the Rams just passed through town. The Blues are in their sixth decade here and they zero titles. If you had a dollar for every time somebody told you the Blues will never win the Cup, how rich would you be?
I'd say the Blues. The Raptors are playing a depleted Warriors team. Heck of a story for sure, since the Warriors are a dynastic bunch, but the Blues were dead last in the NHL midway into the season.
Yeah, guys were falling left and right in the slop in Boston. I am not optimistic about the ice for Game 6. June is not the best time to play hockey. On one hand, the Blues like to keep their rhythm and keep playing, especially when they win. But everybody is nursing injuries at this point of the postseason so the break allows them to refresh. As I noted earlier, the extra days seem to be doing Ryan O'Reilly a world of good. And it will help Alex Pietrangelo play 30 minutes if he must in Game 6.