Yesterday it was announced on the broadcast during the Blues, Avalanche game that David Perron is in fact coming back and playing today against the Chicago Blackhawks. As tweeted by Jeremy Rutherford it has been 394 days and 97 games since Perron has played. Whether you believe the hit by Joe Thornton was cheap or not, Thornton did intentionally hit Perron, Perron did not have the puck, and was not a should have had his head up play. Perron was skating by the penalty box looking to receive a pass. I do play hockey, and in fact know that its very hard to collect a pass without looking it onto your stick. To me it was a cheap shot, and yes I know that Joe is quite a bit taller then Perron, but he knew what he was doing when he left the box and targeted the head. You can control where you hit. In today’s NHL that hit would have been a much more disciplined act.
It is a great day to be a Blues fan because now the team is getting deeper in talent and depth, without making a trade or signing. Earlier reports from Lou Korac @lkorac10 on twitter are saying that he is going to be on the 2nd line with Berglund and Stewart. Meaning that Matt D’agostini moves to either the 3rd or the 4th line. And Chris Porter or Ryan Reaves being healthy scratches. As much of a fan of Reaves that I am I do think he needs to sit and let what Porter brings to this team, speed, and back checking, play on the 4th line with Nichol and D’ags. Why D’ags goes to the 4th? because there are two lines you cannot break up at this point on this team, the Steen, Backes, and Oshie line, and the Sobotka, Arnott, and Langenbrunner line. The Backes line because it has been the most potent and reliable scoring line. The Sobe, Arny, and Langs because it has possibly been the best shutdown line and table setter line on the team.
On another note, as Alex Pietrangelo got over his stomach bug, Cade Fairchild was absolutely brilliant with his shot. A relative unknown to the casual fan, Cade was leading the Peoria Rivermen, The Blues AHL affiliate in +/-. Its great to know that the Blues now have depth at forward and defense. Brett Sterling who does have some NHL games under his belt even before he signed with the Blues also played great while up with the big club. Both of these guys impressed me with their shear tenacity and willingness to get in the dirty areas of the ice. Something some of our power forwards at times seemed afraid to do.
The subtraction of Davis Payne and addition of Ken Hitchcock, has the city and fans buzzing as the 8-1-3 record under him have given most fans hope that this team can make a deep run through the playoffs and challenge for a cup, something that has eluded this franchise since inception. I think this team has potential for a cup run, but wont get there unless the power play gets better on a more consistent basis, and Berglund and Stewart catch fire at some point. The defense has been stingy enough, and goaltending has been the best in the league to this point. But if those two can not get out of their funk, and the power play does not get consistent then this team will once again be a first round flame out.
- via Bill Greenblatt/UPI
Tonight the Blues battle an old time foe in St Louis taking on the Blackhawks. This match up has always been entertaining as these teams flat out hate each other. The marquee of this match up puts captain versus captain against each other, and in my opinion Backes has gotten the better of Toews the past couple of years. Including a fight between the two that ended up with Toews puking in the penalty box, and Backes going on a tear of taking on Team Canada.
Keys to winning the game
- Backes continuing domination over Toews.
- The defense shutting down Kane and Sharp
- Blocking shots from getting through from Duncan and Seabrook
- Elliot standing on his head and keeping pace with his league leading GAA and save percentage
Tonight the Blues have a chance to take over 1st in the conference something Blues fans have not seen in a long time around mid season. I expect the lines to look like
This team is getting healthier and will have decisions to make once they are fully healthy. Andy McDonald is still out as well as Grachev, Colaiacovo, Huskins, and Crombeen. Honestly I do not see Grachev with the team or Crombeen when they come back and I see Cola getting traded as well.
I will leave you with possibly the new save of the year that came from last nights game