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trustinjarmo knows nothing, MO • United States • 38 Years Old • Male

Blues Thus Far

Posted 1:16 AM ET | Comments 5
In honor of friendly debate and maybe someone who has as much passion for the Blues as I have I was wondering, if when you have time, we can shoot the S*^t about the Blues. I agree to disagree in the sport of learning something new and seeing things from another perspective.

So far this season Salvador has been playing a solid game. What I saw in the preseason game I got to see(against Chicago), was the same style of play that led me to be a bit impatient with him. People like that drive me nuts because they have the talent and the heart but they don't seem to be capable of putting it together. But instead of taking stupid penalties or get caught in the corner and leaving the front of the net clear for the opposing forward he has played his position well.

I still see Ryan Johnson and DJ King as wasted roster spots. In my mind what DJ King does can be done by Mayers, Hinote or Walker. And Walker's quickly becoming the odd man out with the depth the Blues have on defense, though as an extra defensemen you want the kids to get more ice time in AHL then sitting around watching games eh?
But I still think Ryan's spot would be better disposed of by Cajanek, Martin Kariya or Glumac to say the least. What i have noticed around the league, the past few years(a lot of it hearsay as I was in Iraq during most of this time and rarely was I in the chow hall and a game was on), is that the depth of lines with speed and an ability to score all the way down to the fourth line can readily be the difference in winning a game. Sooner or later the Blues will be forced to make some serious descions concerning the talent coming up and a balanced attack and roster spots. I think the sooner has come. Mayers had a rare two goal game, a fluke goal and an empty netter though his play has been stronger in the early going. But notice, earlier in the game when he comes in on a break shorthanded and fails to get the shot on goal and Kings come back up with an odd man rush. It's an irresponsible play at best. And the empty netter should have been made, has to be made by Ryan Johnson there at the end of the game. The limited amount of games I saw last year towards the end of the year had a theme when a team shanked a chance to bury the game--and that was a come back. My point is, can someone who is repeatedly unable to keep the other team from scoring really be an asset as a defensive forward, when at the same time they don't produce? Esa T. scored twenty plus goals throughout most of his career and was a defensive forward and there's also a guy by the name of Rolston.

Another note about the game is that Steve Wagner has been our best defensemen so far this year. I was happy about his signing last year and during lunch buzzed my friend in Michigan to relay the news I had just come across and told him about this kid I had heard good things about.(I was stationed in Fairbanks, AK and there's a bit of a hockey following there and I have some friends who played against him in college) Backes was the Blues best forward against LA. I say this because he consistently drove to the net, picked up the forecheck, laid the hits, took shots and pressed the other team.

Other than that I hope the Blues decide to name a captain afterall. So far this team hasn't quite yet formed an identity. They have a number of leaders but I think it'd be best if the Blues named Walt captain at this point so he stays focused and presses a little more, though I am impressed by his better work ethic so far this season(and offseason).

They need to nail down a team concept of play and do it fast. I saw too many times players looking around unsure about postioning and it led to poor puck pursuit and support on the forecheck. Overall the positioning most of the game was unsatisfactory. If you're going to dump and chase you need to have strong puck pursuit and support on the forecheck otherwise the forecheckers will get caught down low and the other team's breakout will create odd man rushes and open passing lanes. I'd prefer the Blues to utilize their talent and speed and play a game of puck possesion; where they could go back to the defense and search for the weak spots come in with a burst of speed with the puck while the other team's defense would be caught flat footed.

As far as goaltending goes I say let the Schwarz experiment begin. Play him and Toivonen and keep playing whoever's hottest. I like Legace but he's best served as a back up.

These have been some of my observations and opinions thus far. I'm curious as to what you think and what you hear.

Filed Under:   Blues   Salvador   Wagner  
October 9, 2007 11:19 AM ET | Delete
First, thanks very much for your service. Second, as usual we'll see a lot of the Blues this year starting tomorrow night, so your analysis gives me something to look for as I watch. Kariya will add a different element to your team and alter its style of play somewhat. He's pretty slick with the puck.
October 9, 2007 12:10 PM ET | Delete
As younger players continue to move up through injury and earning spots the "thinning of the herd" will take place with the likes of Hinote, Ryan Johnson, Etc. I'm not sold on DJ King, I'm not sure he does much for this team. I've always been a fan of Bryce Salvador, I think he's very steady and underrated. Without wearing the "C" I think and read that both Weight and Tkachuk have done an admirable job as leaders and veterans for the young guys to go to and working as in game coaches. I've been impressed with both of them in the early going. As far as goaltending, I'm in favor of letting Swartz continue to play in the AHL for another season. There's no need to rush him up here right now.
October 9, 2007 12:29 PM ET | Delete
Giving up on Legace already? I think he's earned another shot this year after having a real solid season in 2006-07. I tend to agree about King. I'm not sure what his role is supposed to be. He hasn't hit anybody yet and the couple times (Jackman's hit in PHX and Stempniak getting boarded in LA) he's had an opportunity to play traffic cop, he hasn't done anything. To me, it seems like Backes is setting the physical tone for this team...and quickly becoming one of my favorites to watch.I think Jackman has played really well the first couple games and hope he keeps it up and stays on the ice. Having him return to Calder Trophy form is essential if this team wants to be in the playoff mix. Salvador is one of those guys that goes unnoticed until he screws up, but he doesn't do that much, so I'm fine with him.
October 9, 2007 1:00 PM ET | Delete
Thanks for the responses and for the most part I completely agree. bluesfan5, yeah you're right, he definitely earned himself the benefit of the doubt after he came up strong last year. I've been a bit frightened on his positioning as of late. As far as rushing Marek to the show...that's always quite debatable with certain young players. Goalies, for the most part, are fickle creatures. Some of the ones with the most talent and ability fail and have bad numbers. Manny in my mind needs to fix his postioning and his timing to commiting himself on a play. There's already been two instances this season where he made the defense look bad. Though to be fair the first time in Phoenix the defense shouldn't have allowed the pass to get across though coming down the ice it was such an obvious play. It was the third goal in Phoenix that I am refering to. If you watch the play in slow motion at the ending of it, it looks like he had no chance on the play. But, if you watch the sequence occur you can see where he commits to a shot that hasn't even been faked. Since he's been with the Blues he's been good for a soft goal most every game but at the same token he's been good for two to three big saves a night as well.The question I have is how does the team feel about him? They might all gush about him as persons and friends and teamates but pyschologically are there any telltale signs they may lack a certain trust in his play? Can they get over that hump if it is there? I think the answer to both questions is yes. But I might be reading into things and it is so early in the season. It sucks a bit though because this year every point counts to every team. The playoffs began with the first game of the regular season this year.
October 9, 2007 5:05 PM ET | Delete
Well, as Hans told Charlie in the Mighty Ducks, if it's about the letter "C," then I've got a whole drawer of cloth letters for you. Hockey teams don't really need a captain to have leadership. As a player, you know who the leaders are, whether or not they have a letter on their jersey and whether or not they are the best player.I agree about Legace, though. He played well under Andy Murray, but he has never been a great starting goalie. He had the benefit of some good teams in Detroit, and he turned out to be the Achilles heal for them. Hopefully, Andy will rotate Toivenen in this season.
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