Having a couple days off can be great for getting healthy, getting rejuvenated, and getting hungry.....but it can also be great for getting lazy. Tonight is one of those cliché "trap games" everyone always talks about. A bad team coming into your barn where you're the best in the league looking to make a statement without 3 of their top 4 scorers against a red-hot goaltender (unless Hitch goes with Elliott even after Halak turned in a shutout last game)....it's got all the makings. This is where coaching needs to shine.
These players are all professional. They know what it means to be committed to the team, committed to winning, committed to playing their best. But after a hard-fought battle against the Stars on Monday they got to go home and hang out for a couple days. No roadtrip, no back-to-back games.....just rest and relaxation. The coaching staff has to make sure they're ready tonight. It's on them. The blame will be theirs if the Blues come out flat. Hitch has to have the guys firing on all cylinders tonight.
The team is getting a bump with getting Steen and Russell coming back. They should be feeling good for Elliott signing for another couple years. Guys should be hungry to score more than one goal throughout the entirety of the game against one of the lowliest teams in the league. As much as it looks like a "trap game" it could be the greatest opportunity to really put some numbers up.
The national media and the all-star voters have more or less written off the Blues to this point. The overall feeling seems to be that they're good but no one's sure they can keep it up. They should be talking about how good they are and how much better they're going to be when everyone gets healthy. A good jumping off point for that kind of talk would be a 6-0 shellacking of the Oilers tonight. Guys like Backes, Oshie, Steen, Pietrangelo and Shattenkirk had legitimate claims to getting a shot at the all-star game. Tonight would be good to see them come away with a couple points each.
It won't be long until the national pundits will start lauding the Blues. They'll look back at some big wins against the Red Wings and Canucks early in the season, or their home record, or the stellar play of the goalies throughout the first half of the season, but they'll glance over the 6-0 drubbing of the Oilers tonight. They won't pay attention to it at all. But this is the game that the Blues find their scoring touch. Tonight's the night they realize they should really start destroying teams early instead of getting into tight one-goal games where anything can happen late. Tonight is the night they take that step from being a really good team to being the team that knows it's the best in the league. Everyone else will be playing for second after tonight. Hitch.....get em ready.....it's gonna be a fun one.
Well Steener looks to be out. John Kelly of Fox Sports Midwest just tweeted.
That was a solid win. Should have blown them out, but I liked how the Blues stuck to their game plan and grinded out another win. They kept creating changes and working hard. These tough grinding wins will payoff come playoff time, but producing a few more goals would be nice. Gotta give Khabibulin credit for standing on his head, especiallly in that first period. Halak another solid game....glad Eklund got it right that the Blues were going to trade him...hahahaha.