Tonight the St Louis Blues take on the San Jose Sharks at Scottrade and it will be the first game David Perron will play in 13 months against the Sharks Joe Thornton. That is the main focus of the game tonight, but there are more pressing issues. The Blues sit tied for 4th in the Western Conference with the Wings, and Nucks. Sitting only behind the Hawks and the Wild. This game tonight is a big chance to gain some ground.
The Perron and Thornton saga continues tonight. Perron’s twitter account @DP_57 did confirm that Thornton text’d David and wished him well in his return game against the Hawks. To me that goes along way, and almost absolves him from the hit. I almost wish I could watch the Sharks feed to see what the commentators actually say about Perron and finally admit that he was not faking an injury. Although the debate still rages whether or not the hit was dirty, I do lean on the side that it was. Being that Thornton was coming out of the box, knew Perron was expecting a pass, and regardless of height difference went shoulder to head anyways instead of checking him a different way. It is old news and tonight is a chance for fans and players to move on from it.
It has already been reported by the many writers that do have the media credentials that Brian Elliott is getting the start. I think I am finally starting to drink the Kool Aid that there is some sort of goalie controversy now as Halak has been getting starts only as Elliott has went twice in a row, or against relatively easier competition. Coach Hitch as been adamant about Halak being the #1 and rotating both goalies as long as they are playing well. But the evidence is building up now that Elliott is earning favor with the players and coaches. The players seem to play with a bit more fire with Elliott in net, they also seem to scrap quite a bit more when opposing players get to close. Halak has been known to be not as vocal on the ice as most goalies need to be, and that could be why the players play better around Elliott. The good thing though and why I think the Blues are playing better all around besides Hitch’s system is that the players are looking out for Halak more.
Roster wise tonight Ian Cole seems to be the odd man out tonight as reported by @lkorac10 that Shattenkirk has been in regular rotation with Kris Russell at practice. What bums me out as a fan is that Cole has played very well every game he has played in the NHL this year, and he is coming off of a game where he had 2 pts with a goal and assist. Hitch has publicly said that good play will be rewarded and in this case it seems it will not be. As I do believe Shattenkirk is a great asset to this team and the 2nd best defenseman on the team I think someone else should sit. Now who would it be? I think Jackman needs a rest at this point. He is not getting any younger and if the Blues keep this play up they will make the playoffs. His overall play lately has been shakey and maybe a rest and a visit with his newborn might be what he needs to re-energize his game and start playing better. The other option would be Colaiacovo since he just recently came off of IR. An injury prone, puck moving D-man would be a prime candidate to take a night off. The two other options Polak and Russell would not be sat. Polak being as he has been one of our best stay at home, shutdown D-men this year, and Russell mostly because I believe Hitch had a hand in that trade that sent Nikitin to Columbus for number 4.
Keys to the game tonight
- Blues need to get going early, the Sharks are still a very dangerous team
- Thornton, and Marleau are still all world players and need special attention
- With Perron’s return he has been better then most thought. He does however need to keep playing well and keep scoring,
- Elliott needs to stay sharp, if the defense does not hold this Sharks team could get in a flurry of shots
This match up has always been scrappy. These teams really do not like each other at all, and it has been compounded by the hit on Perron.
Remember to search around the site, read some more articles as well. Follow this site on twitter @the_hockeyhouse, me @evanhicksKC, and if you have any questions or comments put them down below in the comments section. Thanks for reading.