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Blues vs Wild: 09-15-09 (Pre-Season) September 16, 2009

Posted by bluesfan45 in Game Recaps.
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I was very happy to get to get tickets for Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday. Once again, my wonderful Sales Rep took care of me. I love the level of service each Season Ticket Holder and average ticket buyer receives from the Blues. Anyways, to the game tonight.

The first period, most of it at least, was pure Blues dominance. They moved with great speed, great passing and were very sound positionally. As teh game wore on, Minnesota’s aggressive play really mucked up the flow of the game. The Blues had a roster full of high level talent and Minnesota did not tonight.

The NHL Guys:
Both the Backes and Berglund lines looked solid. They had a compete level ready for the push for the playoffs, let alone the pre-season. Kariya moved well and was all over the ice. Brad Boyes was moving (for the most part) with great speed and a high compete level. I saw Brad back-checking very hard multiple times tonight. Hopefully he will silence the “+/-” crowd this year. Perron is really growing. He is fighting for the puck, dangling, playing the point, getting in peoples faces…and yes, fighting. I Love the Marine look you got going David. McDonald was all over the ice as much as everyone else. I woudl say both top lines covered red line to red line all night. Patrik Berglund looks ready to bust out. He controls the offensive zone so well. He can dangle as well as any big man in the league. The way he carries and protects the puck, he honestly reminds me of Malkin in the offensive zone. watch the Pens and the Blues, you will see what I mean about a big man who can move controlling the puck in the zone.

Cam did his thing as always. I will say he is skating much better than he was last year. He also seems much more intent on playing the game rather than being a “little ball of hat eon skates” out there to destroy the other team. He is going to make it a really difficult decision to not take him over DJ King. I hate to say, but I wasnt so impresse dwith DJ at camp on Sunday.

The Defensemen are not to be forgotten. EJ is back! Write it down. He is large, moving as well as Green or Boyle, and ust doing everything right. He was accounting for his own mistakes and really just playing like the #1 Faranchise Defenseman should. Weaver was Weaver, so no real complaints there. Brendan Bell looked good. There really isnt any other way of describing it. We didn’t see any flashy pinches or puck lugging runs up ice. He didnt shoot laser guided missiles up ice to break out of the zone. What he did do was play consistent and fulfilled his role. Grant it, the Blues played against the Wild’s Prospects and AHL tweeners, but he was taking the body and playing pretty decent defense. He looked ready to be a top 6, every day guy.

Finally we have Chris Mason. Looked good, but not really tested in his 30 or so minutes of play. No concerns based on Game #1.

The Tweeners:
I thought the player of the night in this group was Aaron Palushaj. I was very impressed with his ability, speed, attention to defense. His complete level was right up there with Perron. They seem to be similar players. THose two on the wings for some one like Berglund in a year or two…would be very difficult to contain. Yes he made some mistakes, but I left Scottrade very impressed with Palushaj. If he keeps this up, he will be right up there with Eller for a call up from Peoria. The #2 player in this group has to be Yan Stastny. He looked like a smaller version of McClement. Always in the right place, playing with lots of speed, and blocking shots like Jay and RJ. I was also impressed with Yan at Camp on Sunday. He is going to make it really hard not to break camp on the NHL roster. I have to say that I was also impressed with Reaves. I didn’t really know what to expect from him. He appeaed to be somewhat like Backes, minus the offensive ability. Good speed, taking the body.

Kudos to Derek “Army” Armstrong for his Gordie How Hat Trick. He too could make it hard not to take him out of Camp. He will be a great asset in Peoria though. Porter showed a high compete level once a gain and an ability to play a good defenseive game as well as provide offensive pressure. He is like Stastny, doing well enough to be on the roster, but there is no room.

On defense in this category you have Wagner and Pietrangelo. Wagner looked good early. He seemed to continue to play similar to what I saw on Sunday. GOod over all play, nothign fancy but getting the job done. As teh game wore on he had several miscues. He had multiple free give-aways on some bad passes to clear pressure from the zone and also lacked good position on a key play in front of the net. The Wild player had good position for a rebound, but the puck didn’t quite come at him, so the play was broken up. I have to say that I like Wagner, but he is starting to remind me of Woywitka.

I thought Petro was good enough to be a top 7 out of camp. While he wasn’t overly physical, I thought his positioning was generally good and he was very good using his stick to break up plays. His passing was good and showed good mobility. I questioned a run he mad ein the 3rd deep to the Wild zone and was in under the face-off circles for about 15 seconds, but it resulted in some good pressure on net. The kid did well against AHL players and some NHL talent.If h continues this path through camp and the remaining Pre-Season games, he should be on the NHL roster.

I thought Bishop was very good in net. He allowed the only goal while working for roughly 30 minutes of the game. The goal was a little “flukey”, coming quickly off a Power Play at the end of the game. Im not sure if its his size, but he seemed a little timid (for lack of a better term) tonight. He seems to be ready to deal with a full season as an AHL starter in Peoria.

Misc Thoughts:
Great crowd at Scottrade tonight. Full of energy and ready for the season to start. Great turnout for a Tuesday with the Cards in town tonight.

Happy Birthday to Mr. Dave Checketts.

David Perron really does look like a Marine to me now…with that shaved head.

While the Blues were outshot 34-21, it is rather misleading. Minnesota blocked many shots and didn’t really dictate the flow of the game at all. They cut in to th eBlues flow, but never took it over for any extended period.

Was a great family night at the game. We sat next to 4 other families with small kids about my daughters age. All were very talkative and friendly. Of course, Sam had to flirt with the boy… If anyone caught the dancing baby with Blue beads in the Blues hoodie, that was Sam, Me and Kelly. Her first actual game and she makes the big screen during Dance Cam. Like I need to feed her love of dancing anymore???


Three Stars:

Honorable Mention – Aaron Palushaj
3 – Brendan Bell (2 Assists, +2)
2 – Derek Armstrong (Gordie Howe Hat Trick, +2)
1 – Goalie Combo of Mason/Bishop

Pics are up on Facebook of Sunday’s Camp/Scrimmage and Tuesday’s Game

See you all Friday vs Colorado.

Blues Thought of the Day – 04-26-09 April 26, 2009

Posted by bluesfan45 in Offseason, Thought of the Day.
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One of the Blues offseason goals is to shore up the back up goaltending for 09-10. Media coverage of the Blues seems to point to an UFA/Trade pick up rather than keeping Bishop in St. Louis or using Holt. If the Blues were to bring in a former starter like Khabibulin, Fernandez, Biron, Roloson, Gerber, Anderson, Clemmensen, or Kolzig, will it be a positive or a negative.

Positive:
Experience in Regular Season and Playoffs.
Proven ability (especially in the case of Khabubulin, late season play by Roloson)
Someone to push Mason.
Injury coverage.

Negatives:
After giving the #1 job to Mason, he flourished. Will he regress if he is put in a position where he could be the odd man out?
What is the potential message to future additions? Will a prospective free agent want to sign here knowing its possible that their play may not be rewarded the next year?
There is a Potential to tie up $8-$10 mil in goaltending.

While I would love to add a proven goalie, what is really wrong with Mason? His play all year was solid, he just lacked goal support through the first half of the season. My personal pick would be Anderson, Valiquette, or Conklin. Anderson may not get a chance to start in Florida due to Vokoun and his contract and NYR/DET need to find ways to save money. All three have been back ups before to clear #1s and would be capable back ups.

Your thoughts?