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@David Rogers Agreed on the second part. I still remember earlier in the season when Reaves was out after breaking his hand, though, and it was obvious how much more jump and energy the Blues have when he's in the lineup, crashing into guys and making the fourth line a forechecking force to be reckoned with.
10 hours, 38 minutes ago on Who sits when Vladimir Sobotka returns?
I was about to say, we weren't thinking alike, until I got to the last paragraph. While Paajarvi was the first name that came to my mind, the idea of giving some guys a maintenance game or two down the stretch certainly seems appealing, as long as they're not currently on fire.
And, like you said, it's a good problem to have. Especially with the division race still pretty tight, as it's tough to imagine at least one of Chicago or Colorado, if not both, making a good run down the stretch.
13 hours, 6 minutes ago on Who sits when Vladimir Sobotka returns?
The more I think on this, the more I can't make myself like it. Statistically, I'm going to argue that Miller is a sidegrade from Halak. We can have the argument that part of it is due to him playing for a godawful squad in Buffalo, but here we go:
Halak - 24-9-4 in 40 games, 83 goals against, 919 saves on 1002 shots for a .917% save percentage, and a 2.23 GAA, with 4 shutouts.
Miller - 15-22-3 in 40 games, 108 goals against, 1303 saves on 1411 shots for a .923% save percentage, and a 2.72 GAA, with 0 shutouts.
Halak - 139-81-26 in 260 games, 589 goals against, .917% save percentage, and a 2.38 GAA, with 29 shutouts.
Miller - 284-186-56 (and one tie) in 540 games, 1370 goals against, .916% save percentage, and 2.60 GAA, with 28 shutouts.
So, let's beg the question: How will Miller's numbers look playing behind the defensively superior St. Louis Blues? Does he excel no matter the amount of rubber he sees? Or does he get better the more rubber he sees (as I've seen folks contend Halak does)?
Meanwhile, let's talk about the rest of the deal. I'd break it up a bit differently and say that Miller cost Halak and a first, and Ott cost Stewart, Carrier and a third. We probably can't really say that it's exactly that in reality, but... The part of this that kills me is Ott. Sure, he *could* keep his nose clean and make that part of the deal a win for the Blues, when compared to Stewart's maddening inconsistency. Or he could have a Lapierre moment and goon it up and remind me exactly why I wish this hadn't happened.
I'll be the first one to admit that I don't really follow Blues prospects, at least, until they get somewhere near making the leap to the Blues proper, so I have no idea how this part might shake out. Maybe this winds up being the piece that breaks the deal in Buffalo's favor, and maybe not. I can't find it in me to worry about it at the moment, though, while dreading the thought that Doug Armstrong might get a wild hair and go for the goon trifecta by adding Dustin Brown to the Lapierre and Ott mix he's put together. ... No, I don't seriously expect that, but disgusting thoughts abound at the moment.
1 week, 2 days ago on Blues acquire Ryan Miller and Steve Ott from Buffalo in exchange for Chris Stewart, Jaroslav Halak, a prospect and picks
@David Rogers That's possible, I guess, but I don't know that we really need to look further than Halak and the team having two pretty awful games in a row. Maybe something comes out about this in the future, and maybe not, but for now, I think we have to take it at face value.
2 weeks ago on Backes, Oshie and Shattenkirk fail to medal in Sochi
I'll admit, I'm not as disappointed by this result a I thought I would be. Part of that probably has to do with the fact that I don't get NBCSN anymore, now that I'm out on my own, or any of the other cable channels that NBC broadcast the lion's share of the hockey on, and it's tough to get worked up about something to the same degree without seeing it, or at least hearing it. Sure, it's a rough way to end the tournament for Team USA, but looking beyond that to the Blues in general, we can hopefully take some good here and import it back home from Sochi.
Teaching Sochi how to Oshie. Sure, maybe it's not how to Bergie, but a little added excitement from the home-grown talent never hurt anybody, especially in generating fan interest, and for a team that's poised again to make a run for the top in the league points-wise. I know, I know, no shootouts in the playoffs...
Steen with the assist to put Sweden in the gold medal game. Sure, maybe he doesn't have Karlsson to pass it to here, but Pietrangelo, Shattenkirk, and Bouwmeester are hardly chopped liver.
Speaking of the top pairing, and we'll go totally anecdotal here, but I was talking to my buddy in Ottawa earlier, and he had this to say about Petro and Bouw on Team Canada: "I was going to message you to let you know how much more I appreciate Pietro and Bouwmeester now, but I thought it might have been construed as snarky." Let's not forget that they're coming back from playing the best in the world, and if they can shut them down, who can't they shut down? They've both got an assist in the bank, and are both +3 heading into the gold medal game.
And let's not leave out Shattenkirk. I can't speak to the truth of it, but nobody stepped up to prove it wrong, so I'll toss this stat out that I saw on Twitter earlier: Shatty was not on ice for a goal against this tournament. Offensive defenseman, what? Not that he's suddenly going to be the second coming of Chris Pronger, but matching up against that much sheer talent, it's a point worth noting.
I'll admit, I didn't hear much about Berglund or Tarasenko one way or the other over the course of the Olympics. Checking on the Blues site, Bergie netted two and added an assist, and Tarasenko had an assist, +/-0 and -2, respectively. I don't know that it says great things about them, and I don't know that it says awful things about them, either. Hopefully the experience itself helps - particularly Berglund, as he competes for gold in a few hours.
... ... ... Dare I say anything about Halak? From all reports, the Slovakian team itself played awfully, so how much of the 5.13GAA and .857 sv% is really Halak's fault is certainly open to debate. Hard to think that it did anything to improve his prospects for the last 25 games of the regular season, though.
Am I the only one who read comment for the first picture as 'Vladimir "Poutine"'?
2 weeks, 4 days ago on 2014 Winter Olympics: Pictures of sad Russian fans after loss to Finland
I doubt it was Melnyk, because if it was, CSI Ottawa would've traveled with the players to Sochi, and we haven't heard word one about it. You know, and I know, that he would've have been able to resist admitting that he'd sent them. heheh
3 weeks, 2 days ago on NHL doctors resort to spy techniques to hide injuries from Russians
Without controlling the list for the size of the population of the various cities, I'm not sure how helpful this is for arguments one way or the other. That said, if the Blues can use this to drive a better TV deal next time around, I'm all for them shouting it from the rooftops, regardless of the mathematical merits of it.
3 weeks, 3 days ago on Blues have the #5 fan base according to Nielsen study
@David Rogers That's certainly valid from a statistics point of view. Of course, with the new schedule, the Blues have done almost all the playing against the Cali teams that they're going to do, so until and unless they re-encounter one or more of them come playoff time, it's tough to chalk up either in the "Cali teams own us for some reason" category or the "Random statistical blip that happens to be centered on Cali teams" category.
Meanwhile, yes, beating the Hawks three times, beating Pittsburgh 2-1, Boston 3-2 on the road, and a couple quality wins against the Avalanche, as well. It's not as though the Blues have been doing nothing but feasting on the dregs and not playing any quality competition, and that short list leaves out plenty of other teams currently in the playoff picture in one conference or another that the Blues have beat. Honestly, that's probably *why* there's so much focus on the record against the Cali teams (plus the 'nucks).
1 month, 2 weeks ago on Fans are panicking during current Blues slump
I think my real issue with all of the Miller rumors is this: What if he's like Halak? In other words, what if he's really only good seeing a lot of shots, and turns out to be streaky at best if he doesn't get enough work each night? Sure, it's easy to say that he should be good, as he seems to be about the only thing between the Sabres and relegation to the AHL most nights, but given that that's the only team we've seen him in front of for years now, it seems like a reasonable question to ask before getting all excited about Miller being the difference-maker who would put the Blues into the Cup Final for the first time since 69-70.
As to the actual content of the trade, Armstrong seems to perpetually swing deals for less cost to the Blues than everyone speculates the deal will take - see also: Bouwmeester, Jay, and Stewart Trade, the (this may be under Shattenkirk Trade, the in the minds of a lot of fans these days, though), for a couple of examples. That said, I don't see giving up nearly that much for a UFA goalie with a stated preference to play on the west coast.
1 month, 2 weeks ago on Report: Blues may be willing to deal Paajarvi, Halak and a first-round pick for a goaltender
To me, it's not so much a worry in general as a worry about the Blues performances against teams from the Pacific Division in particular. To wit:
The Blues are 32-10-5 overall. It's tough to argue with a record worth the fourth-most points in the league currently, with games in hand on everyone they're trailing.
Against the East, the Blues are 13-2-1, which compares favorably with the other leaders in the West. (Anaheim, at 16-5-3, leads the pack.) That leaves the remaining 31 games in the books thus far against the West, where the Blues are 19-8-4. Again, tough to complain - the only teams with more points against the West are the two teams leading the Blues in points in the West (Anaheim, 21-4-2; Chicago, 20-6-7).
So, how does that 19-8-4 break down? 13-0-1 against the Central, and 6-8-3 against the Pacific. And that, I think, is what has folks worried. Overall, the Blues are earning 73% of possible points, winning 68% of their games. But against the Pacific, they've taken a mere 44% of possible points, and won only 35% of their games. Of those six wins, four have come against Calgary and Edmonton, games that any team with playoff aspirations should certainly be winning. Their record against Pacific teams currently holding down a playoff spot is 1-8-1 (Ducks: 0-2-0 Sharks: 0-3-0 Kings: 1-2-0 Canucks: 0-1-1), with one game left against each of the Ducks and the Canucks.
Now, here's the silver lining: The Blues play their next six, and eight of their next ten, against the East. Of those, Boston is leading their division, and the Rangers (and maybe the Red Wings, depending on how the tie-breakers shake out) are playoff teams as of today. The rest, being the Devils, Islanders, Hurricanes, and Senators, should certainly be beatable without a great deal of fuss. In other words, it's a great time for the Blues to get healthy record-wise, after going through a stretch of teams from the Pacific.
In a way, I might almost feel better if the Blues did struggle on the start of this Eastern swing. We could chalk the recent slide up to a slump, rather than having this mysterious block against playing well against the Pacific. Time will tell, of course, and I'm certainly not concerned for the regular season at this point - all this tells me at the moment is, it'll be time to worry if and when the Blues run into their first Pacific Division competitor in the playoffs.
Agreed, agreed, agreed. I've told the story before, but I'll tell it again - I grew up with Oates to Hull for 86 in a season... and 72 the next year. 6-5 finals in your traditional Norris Division barn-burner. Hockey was, to my 10-11-year-old self, just about the most awesome thing I could imagine. Wayne Gretzky was this almost mythic figure who played out west somewhere, because back then, the only hockey on TV in my area was Saturday night games, which always seemed to be west coast games, and started after my bed time.
Sure, maybe I "get" hockey more now. Over the years, I've certainly turned into more of a hockey fan in general, but it wouldn't have started without those early days, with a man they called the Golden Brett (because what could they do but pattern his nickname after his father?), a duo they called Hull and Oates (not that a ten year old had any idea who Hall and Oates were, to make it amusing), and Ken Wilson screaming "Oh BABY!" at the top of his lungs when they potted yet another goal. So, for all of me, bring on the fun. Show me the kid celebrating like a maniac when he scores four in a game, the jump against the glass along the end boards, whatever you've got. That's what makes it a great game, after all - that at any moment in time, something incredible can happen, and raise a crowd to its feet.
1 month, 2 weeks ago on Hockey must overcome hockey fans to gain mainstream acceptance
Could be, but the more I watch the .gif, the more I think it's just light reflecting momentarily off of something in the tunnel. Meanwhile, the real travesty is that the Blues laid an egg in the third against a California team... again.
1 month, 3 weeks ago on Did Jake Muzzin spit on Blues fans?
First, let's make sure to avoid the whole insects jumping onto the ice thing. We can go from there, but that should be the starting point. heheh
1 month, 3 weeks ago on NHL releases awesome preview of outdoor game at Dodger Stadium
The only Blues-related thing I got was a 2014 trivia calendar. Meanwhile, I got a Cardinals throw, 2013 NL Champs glass, and history-of-logo wall hanging (already have one of those logo history hangers for the Blues). Some people have, apparently, never quite figured out my priorities when it comes to sports. heh
2 months, 1 week ago on Blues fans celebrate Christmas
Saw those when Lou posted 'em last night. I definitely like what they say. I just wish more people were getting out to the home games to see this kid, and this team. Sure, every team is going to have its clunkers from time to time, but as long as they keep buying in to the mentality that Tarasenko has on display here, those should be few and far between, with the majority of games being the Hitchcock-era Blues Hockey that we've come to know and love.
Now, that being said, if they could clean up all these ugly first periods they've been having recently, that'd be just fine with me.
2 months, 3 weeks ago on Tarasenko's quotes show team-first mentality
Something else that should figure into this is the Blues deplorable lack of organizational depth at center. Before we forget, it's entirely possible for solid players to have down stretches, or down years. See also last year's numbers from David Backes, for one recent example.
That said, what gets a deal done with Berglund? Three years at 4M/year? If he maintains his continued improvement on the defensive side of things, and rebounds to something resembling his career numbers, does that qualify as reasonable? And, just to put an opposite spin on things, if he doesn't rebound numbers-wise, can you justify those dollars for such production from a third-line center? (Especially in the salary cap era?)
If he's looking to get paid like Backes or Oshie, he's going to have to step up, and do so this year. If he's looking to exceed those deals... well, this year isn't helping his case, regardless of the reasons for it. Of course, at the same time, he's got a bit of a corner on the market, because unless something both interesting and financially possible shows up in free agency, the Blues would have to take a depressingly long look at their depth at C before saying him nay.
3 months, 1 week ago on Is Patrik Berglund worthy of a new contract?
I can't help but agree here. I don't see the Blues doing this during the season so long as Halak and Elliott are both healthy and playing well. There's no real reason to tempt fate (and prospect depth) as long as they do, and, to reiterate on what you already said, it's entirely possible that Miller could be had over the summer, if the eventual outcome of the season and post-season warrant a move in that direction.
Personally, I've been more than a bit suspect of folks who want one or the other of the Blues current goalies gone. Certainly, neither of them played up to the league's elite level last season, due to a combination of injury and the team neglecting their defensive responsibilities. While I'd say it particularly about Halak, I think it's pretty safe to say that, given the choice, most folks who had to choose would put either of the Blues goalies in with this team from the past three years and generally expect good results, no matter who the opponent was. Not saying that they're Lundqvist, or Quick or Rinne pre-injury, but they've clearly been more than good enough to carry the load. (See also: Second in the league two years ago and won the Jennings, first in the league in points percentage and third overall so far this year, while sporting a franchise-best start to the season.)
3 months, 2 weeks ago on Analyzing the Ryan Miller to St. Louis trade rumors
Ryan Reaves: Officially off the list of "Players Who Haven't Scored More Goals Than Mike Smith".
3 months, 4 weeks ago on Video: Ryan Reaves fights, scores against Pittsburgh
@David Rogers Precisely my point.
4 months ago on David Backes donates $24,000 worth of hockey equipment to children