The Blues are freakishly healthy right now. With Erik Johnson nearly set to return, the Blues could have as many as eight "top six" defensemen available on a given night. At forward and in goal they have no one currently laid up. This makes dressing a team each night a good but difficult decision to make for the Head Coach.
A lot has been said in the early days of the season about Doug Weight. The Blues are off to a terrific start and have three of their four forward lines playing from good to great on most nights. It's evident that Weight really has his dobber down right now because he's yet to get into the fun.
On most nights, the Blues get the bulk of their offensive output from the line of Paul Karyia, Keith Tkachuk and Brad Boyes. If you're late getting into your seat you have no doubt missed the Blues grabbing a 1-0 lead. Thier "kid" line of Lee Stempniak, David Backes and Jay McClement looks to have a certain chemistry as well although they haven't scored as often as I would like to see. They expel a lot of thier work usually covering the opponents' top line. When given the chance however, in the offensive zone it will just be a matter of time until they get hot. Bakes and McClement both did exceptional work Saturday night keeping the puck in the offensive zone when Washington had chances to clear which led to Christian Backman's shot that was redirected by Backes for the game winning goal.
The Blues energy line of Ryan Johnson, Dan Hinote, D.J. King and Jamal Mayers have created energy and chipped in offensively.
Which leads us to the Weighting Game. Weight's game is suffering right now. After the great player exodus that was the Trading Deadline last season, Dougie stepped up his game, became much more of a leader and even took it upon himself to shoot more and provide goals. He got off to a jump start this season as well providing a lot of energy but the lack of results have brought his game down.
He seems out of sync and lacking in confidence. While his long time veteran team mate Keith Tkachuk has found magic alongside Boyes and Karyia, Weight has been unable to fine that old black magic with any of the line mates Andy Murray has put him with. In an attempt to get Dougie in a better place he's even been give a large amount of power play minutes to no avail.
Much has been written and said in the early going about Weight's line mates. Maybe it's time for Weight to take a break.
The Healthy Scratch can be the coach's best lecture. Without speaking a single word, the Head Coach can speak volumes to a player by sending him up to the rafters to take in a game or two. Murray has had no trouble putting the likes of Barret Jackman, Bryce Salvador and Dan Hinote upstairs to let them know that there are a lot of expectations on them and perhaps they are not meeting all of them at a given time.
Later in the season as injuries mount, the Blues will be looking for every healthy body to throw on the ice. As we know, hockey is a game of attrition.
Perhaps this is the time to send Weight upstairs for a couple of games. Not as a punishment but as the Head Coach's less than gentle reminder that everyone has to bring his "A" game every shift of every night. Perhaps Weight can find something in his game that he can bring to the mates he lines up with that will change things for the better. Perhaps a better combination can be found, perhaps someone different alongside Martin Rucinsky or David Perron or Dan Hinote can spark something.
If the Blues are going to compete, they are going to need a confident Doug Weight.