It told us we still have offense. It showed what happens when we have a decent time in the transition game. BUT...oh yes the but. But in the end Florida was pretty sluggish and did not truly resemble the team I'd seen this season. Their forecheck was not as strong as it usually was and that still means seeing the turnovers throughout the game that the Blues major issue continues to be their transition game.
Most of the goals the Blues have given up have come after a Blues player gives up posession of the puck in their zone. Usually it comes from a bad pass by a defender to the winger on the side boards and the failure of the winger to just force the puck out of the zone. Wagner is starting to come around but he's been pretty bad this season so far. While Polak has looked ie o best defenseman this season so far. Polak is the one who will carry the puck out of the zone unlike the others. I'm not counting Petro in all of this completely. He's played the way EJ played at the begining of last season and in such a way I believe he's playing from instructions given from the coach. He often plays the puck quickly to the veteran defenseman he is paired with. Here's the thing, watch other teams and if they have this issue one the defenseman will hold onto the puck take a check down low, make a move and stay strong on the puck after the check and quickly skate the puck towards the neutral zone.
You have to take a second and picture what the ice looks like when a forechecker is caught behind the play as a defenseman rushes the puck up quickly. It quickly becomes four on four with a player begining to lose a backcheck and force the play from the defenseman which leaves at lea on playr open and sometimes two as another player might be tempted to go for the defenseman. They are now moving away from where the play is headed. This allows for a team like the Blues or the Penguins(one of the teams with a defensemen I saw do this Letang), for instance, to use their speed and offensive creativity with an odd man rush and most importantly space.
The thing about team sports with balls is there is always the element of creating space. All great playmakers love space and when it is limited look to create space for other players. Add to creavity an element like speed and you have something dynamic. But speed is useless without space.
The point to all of this is when a team scouts the Blues they realize they can use a one man and a delyed forecheck in our zone and meanwhile clog up the passing lanes in the neautral zone. That limits the Blues ability to use their speed which is great for most teams because most teams can not afford to play run and gun hockey with the Blues or hope to compete with their team speed. So they try to minimize that asset. The Blues biggest weakness is well known and that's the defensemen's ability to move the puck quickly, decisively and well. They also know that half the Blues d-men are young and prone to error when under pressure. The great thing about Bishop was he can also move the puck which is like adding an extra player on the ice capable of passing. It's a big difference see Brodeur and Turco.
Something has to give here and first on my list is Eric Brewer. Second is McKee and third is Jackman. I don't know what Jackman's deal is as he is capable of recognizing the moment to rush and how where to make the pass. But so far he hasn't done great things in these moments. Or simple things, really.
A nice surprise was Cam Janssen keeping enough self-discipline to create penalties but not retaliate or get sucked into a fight. Actually I'll give him half credit as I think his play after the whistles could have easily resulted in him getting a minor as well and he did try to fight once.
Bishop was solid but needs to work on postioning as sometimes he had to scramble after the original shot to get back into net. Also he needs to work on rebound control because many of the rebounds were juicey.