St. Louis Blues Breakdown Game 5

Before the puck drops on Scottrade’s freshly paved ice tonight at 8pm, let me toss out a few thoughts.  Warnings, ideas and basic sports prose sprinkled with analysis and attitude.  A pregame warmup session if you will allow the description to take flight.  The Cardinals avenged last night’s pathetic loss to the Cubs today with a nailbiting 5-4 win, so all the focus is on the BLUES.  Here we go.

 
PLAYERS THAT NEED TO BE CALLED OUT DIRECTLY-
  • Chris Stewart.  The enigmatic winger has gone missing for 2 weeks now except for one great pass to Barrett Jackman in Game 2.  Seriously, this is the main problem with Stewie.  He is passionately streaky.  He doesn’t play it low key and take a game off.  He takes a group of games off.  There are times where his energy level is also suspect.  He skates around, gets into a few scrums but doesn’t crash the net enough.  His job is to score goals and he isn’t doing that.  If Hitch wants to bench a guy, pick Stewart or demote him.  Time is running out, and this guy isn’t doing anything.
  • Andy Mcdonald.  The little guy hasn’t scored a goal since Mitchell Boggs’ last save and can’t hit the net with a shot.  Like Stewart, his job is to make plays, score goals and avoid concussions that make him miss 45 games.  McDonald is MISSING.  He isn’t leaving a dent on the ice, and looks slower every game.  He shows up tonight or he needs to be demoted.  He also happens to make 4 million dollars.  When was the last time he had a big game?  Don’t hurt yourself thinking.
  • David Perron.  The Frenchman has done little outside of hump Jonathan Quick’s leg before every whistle.  He hasn’t scored in a long time and looks flaky out there.  Perron is a playmaker and not paid to be a pest.  He makes nearly 2 million dollars to put pucks in the net, and that is as simple as it gets.  Let Chris Porter get into Quick’s head.  Perron needs to light up the damn lamp.  
Those three players need to score goals, stop being pests, show some energy and do more than give an effort.  School teachers give effort.  Hockey players like Stewart,Perron and Mcdonald need to produce results.   This starts tonight.  
 
Brian Elliot can be blamed for one of the 4 goals but I think he once again did a hell of a job in the net in Game 4 and stopped a lot of great shots.  He allowed one soft goal and did his best, which for an enigmatic offense and troublesome defensive team is a lot.   Elliot is still the gamebreaker on the team and just needs to keep his team in the game, which he has.  
 
Hitch sitting Adam Cracknell for Vladamir Tarasenko on Monday made little sense.   Tank only played 5 minutes and 40 seconds.   Cracknell is part of the CPR line, the 4th line grinding gang which gave the KINGS all kinds of trouble in the first three games and held them to 3 goals.  Why break that up to insert a rookie that Hitch has as much faith in as he does in the Pakistani bomb squad.  It made no sense.  Sure, Cracknell and the gang average only 6 minutes and 33 seconds the first three games but those are spent being pests, disruptors and controlling the Kings top lines.  Tarasenko seemed to jump on the ice for a few moments and immediately leave the ice.  If you don’t want to play the kid, that’s fine.  Sit him.  If you dress him, put him out there and leave one of the above listed daydreamers on the bench.  At this point it doesn’t matter who makes more money.  RESULTS matter.  The Blues need to pull their head out of their ass.  
 
Final thoughts.
-When they get a lead, it would be nice to see the Blues maintain the intensity.  It seems like when they get a goal or two, they take their foot off the pedal. Against the defending champs that’s a bad idea.  
-The team has put themselves in a bad spot.  They blew leads of 2-0 and 3-2 in Game 4 and let te Kings get life, momentum and threaten to take away this series.   They had the power after Game 2 with a big series lead, but now it is gone and that is due to failing to capitalize on 10 open net chances in Game 3 and blowing leads in Game 4.  They could have come home tonight with a virtually indestructible 3-1 lead and instead the series is tied at 2, and the Kings have confidence. They have fought to the death with the Blues and gotten close early and prevailed the last couple games.   Have they figured something out in our defense or are the Note just letting up too soon?  
-We have a long way to go in this playoff session so why slow down so damn early?  The Blues have talent for days but lack the finish right now.  Certain high paid players need to step up and produce and the defense needs to really learn how to clear a puck properly.   Ryan Reaves needs to put his fist through someone’s head and the hits need to keep on coming.
-The Blues have home ice advantage with 3 games left and need to use that weapon.   I predicted this series was going 7 games so I am not surprised but that doesn’t mean I would be mad if it ended earlier.   The question this team has to ask themselves is how bad do they fucking want it and how long can they maintain that intensity out there tonight? The LA Kings got off the plane at Lambert looking for blood.   Who throws the first punch tonight?
 
It’s game time.  
 
Thanks for reading and GO BLUES!
 
-DB
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Author: D. Buffa

A regular guy who feels a journalistic hunger to tell the news. I blog because its wired into my brain to write what I think in print. I offer an opinion. A solo tour here. Take regular stories and offer my spin on them. Sports, film, television, music, fatherhood, culture, food, and so on. Commentary on everything. A St. Louis native and Little Rock resident who wants to write just to keep the hands fresh and ready.

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