Tag: St. Louis Blues

Blues talk: Adjust or go home Hitch

After blowing a 3-1 lead in Game 6 and thus losing a grip on a 3-1 series lead, the St. Louis Blues find themselves playing for the season tonight at Scottrade Center.

In my latest solo podcast, I break down the reasons the Blues coughed it up.

*Why it’s very wrong Patrick Kane played 22 minutes in Game 6 and Vladimir Tarasenko played 17 minutes.

*Why can’t Ken Hitchcock make adjustments like Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville?

*If Blues choke, will the offseason feature some surprise departures and deals?

Also, what the fuck happened to Kevin Shattenkirk’s defense in the second period?

All and more right here.

A few tweets to set the mood up for the podcast:

That’s all folks. Enjoy the listen and send me thoughts to my Twitter page. GUARANTEED response. Book it.

Dose of Buffa 2

“Can’t Stop Colin”: The true story of fighting cancer at a young age

“Can’t Stop Colin” isn’t just a mantra for the Schlereth Family. It is a way of life. Remember that cool video the St. Louis Blues tweeted out in late January about a young man returning to the ice after a long battle with cancer. Well, here is his story. Meet Colin.

Colin Schlereth hasn’t endured a normal childhood, but the one thing he has never let go of is the pursuit of happiness. He has digested a different value of life and how to live through a unique battle with cancer, one that caught up to him nearly two years ago. Armed with an excellent team of doctors and nurses at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and an assist from the St. Louis Blues, he is thriving today. It wasn’t easy this bright.

Colin’s mom, Becky, remembers the early warning signs. “It’s hard to watch because he started skating at age 3. He’s a beautiful skater and was going up and up. Then, it was an entire year of watching him deteriorate on the ice. We wondered if it was his skates or something making him disengage. It didn’t make sense. We bought two pairs of skates. Then he got a hockey concussion because he was so unbalanced and got thrust into the boards on a hit. The concussion was only the first warning sign. After three months of continued problems, headaches, bigger falls and dizziness, Becky called a sports concussion doctor. An MRI revealed the tumor. (more…)

Blues fans: Hate Patrick Kane the right way

(In case you missed it in the St. Louis Game Time paper on Saturday)

It’s easy to toss the hate book at Patrick Kane. He is a very good Blackhawks player who was accused of rape this past summer. While the allegations eventually proved hollow and the case was dropped, that kind of charge follows a player around. Especially, when the player plays for your team. Do me a favor and hate Patrick Kane the right way. As a member of the Blackhawks and not on other claims that don’t carry a lot of weight.

There’s a lot of dislike about the guy on the ice. He is rocking Kevin Shattenkirk’s hairline and trying to make it look good with longer hair. He has curls in his hair. He smirks a lot and has a Sidney Crosby swagger on the ice. He scored a backbreaking playoff goal against the Blues two years ago that I still get nightmares over(though Ryan Miller still gets more). Kane is a force to reckon with who happens to be among the league leaders in goals, assists, points and overall “BAMF” appeal. He’s playing like a Bruce Springsteen acoustic performance right now. There’s reason enough to hate the guy outside of something he may or may not have done. Through 18 games, Kane has 13 goals and 15 assists and a +14 rating. He has four game winning goals and six power play goals.

The problem with justifying allegations is the lack of evidence you can ride on. Is it really worth slamming a guy for something he may not have done? Anybody can climb on Twitter and fire a shot at the Blackhawks. I made a quick charge at Kane in August when the case was a turkey leg sitting up for sports writers to pick at. While it’s the last thing on a Blues fans mind right now, showing some class and taking the high road with “iffy” charges on a rival player is the best thing to do. While no one can complain with the fact that Kane needs to clean up his dating game, it’s premature in the worst way to taunt him with a case that has grown cold.

It’s okay to take shots at the Chicago Blackhawks for not throwing some weight at Kane during the unfolding of the allegations. They seemed to think it wasn’t a big deal to barely even mention anything except express good will on their winger. It could be called protection or discreet actions. When asked about it, all Joel Quenneville could muster was, “Ah fuck fuck and fuck”.

Every time Kane steps on the ice, a Blues fan should hate it. He has 218 goals in 594 games inside eight seasons with 68 power play goals. He is a +65 for his career. Here is the best reason to hate Kane. In 116 playoff games, Kane has 48 goals and 66 assists. That’s enough go fuck yourself juice for a lifetime. Goals aren’t everything unless you find a way to score them often and well.

Hate Patrick Kane the right way. Hate him for being one of the best players the Blues have to face every season. Hate him on the power play. Hate his ugly scarf and his stupid hair. Hate him for the color jersey he wears. Hate him for being a thorn in the Blues and many other teams side. Don’t hate for something he maybe or maybe not did.


Appreciating The Versatility of David Backes

biopic01My first memory when David Backes comes to mind is from last April. When Backes got rocked by Brent Seabrook in a playoff game with the Blackhawks. Any other player would have laid on the ice stunned and cold. Backes wasn’t having any of that nonsense. He got up like he wanted to exact revenge right there. Sure, he didn’t know what planet he was on but that is beside the point. That particular play, while unfortunate and scary, is what David Backes is all about. Backes is tough as nails, and many fans outside St. Louis forgot that and don’t give it the proper amount of respect.

Being a captain in the NHL creates a level of complexity for certain fans. Seeing the C on the chest, they immediately think the guy should score 40 goals like Alexander Ovechkin or skate around the ice like a rugged angel like Sidney Crosby. David Backes is the quintessential power forward in the NHL. He can score goals, bang skulls and give his teammates a sense of calm and confidence when he touches the ice. For young players like Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz, they look up to Backes like a leader. That is what a captain means to me. Someone who can step on the ice and demonstrate a versatile skill set while being effective in the right areas of the game. The complete, if understated, package. (more…)

5 Reasons to Like Brodeur in St. Louis

Martin+Brodeur+Columbus+Blue+Jackets+v+New+6swrsNwQFiflWhen I heard about legendary goaltender Martin Brodeur possibly putting on the Note and blocking a few shots for the Blues, I didn’t know what to think. I grabbed my legs to see if they were awake. I refreshed the page. Looked around. Here is a guy with 688 wins and 113 playoff wins. That alone gets you inside any door of a team in need of a goaltender. That is a passport and excess into any “big deal” club in the league. Marty is legit and his skills didn’t diminish in 2013-14 with the New Jersey Devils. He was 19-14 with a 2.51 goals against average and a save percentage of .901. He is 42 years old and the Devils chose Cory Schneider over Brodeur. The team he spent 22 years with guarding their pipes behind their players wanted to part ways. He received no offers in the offseason. He was probably ice fishing on a pond somewhere in Montreal when his cell phone rang this week that the Blues may need a body in net.

That’s how it happens in sports. You could be holding a clipboard one minute and suddenly be asked to carry the weight of the world during the next minute. You could be sitting on your couch thinking about painting the walls in your living room and suddenly be called by a General Manager. Blues GM Doug Armstrong had no problem bringing Marty in. Here are a few reasons why it works.


T.J. Oshie Becomes A Legend in Russia

This is the kind of story worth spreading around.  In case you missed my Arch City Sports piece earlier this afternoon, here is my Oshie piece from the Olympics game this morning that was heard around the world.  

The story reminded me of Rocky 4.   An American slaying a monstrous Russian dragon inside the foreign country.  Sure, Oshie didn’t tell the Russians “we can all change” but he did revoke the hero label, saying the real heroes wear “camo”.  Good for him and the Blues organization, which is doing quite well so far.   Patrik Berglund has a pair of goals, Alex Steen a couple of assists, and Backes has a goal.   Oshie made a little history today and here is my story on it.  Enjoy and have a good weekend.

Sure, it wasn’t Al Michaels screaming “it’s a miracle” this morning around the United States, but the St. Louis Blues’ T.J. Oshie definitely delivered the shot heard aroundTeam USA's T.J. Oshie scores the game winning goal over Russia during a shootout in their men's preliminary round hockey game at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games the world this morning in Sochi as he helped the USA beat Russia 3-2 via shootout.  In an epic morning battle that involved lead changes, blood, sweat, tears, a rejected goal and 8 rounds of shootout action, the St. Louis Blue delivered the kill shot.  Oshie has always been regarded around the NHL as a good hockey player, but today he turned into a legend.  No matter what happens the rest of the way, everybody who woke up at 6 a.m.  will remember where they were when Oshie sank the Russians.

I’ve said for years that Oshie is the best shootout artist in the NHL.  He is 7-10 on shootout attempts this year and lifetime he is 25-46 (54 percent).  That’s ridiculous.  Oshie has baby Jesus smooth hands when it comes to going one-on-one with a goaltender.  The matchup simply isn’t fair for opposing coaches and stoppers.  When he skates to the middle of the ice and leans down with his hands on his knees, the arena seems to shut off for him and silence surrounds the moment.  Certain athletes can do that in the middle of chaos:  clear out the noise and focus like an assassin. His shootout ability is akin to a base-stealing threat.  True base thieves in baseball steal bags off instinct and natural born ability, not just speed.   It takes confidence, precision and a dose of swagger.

I am sure, for some hockey players, that length of the ice from the center line to the net is shorter than it appears on television. A lot of players simply can’t make up their mind and are beaten by themselves when they reach the net.  Oshie is different, and so deadly. He skates in side to side before settling straight up the ice at the last moment. He can pause and choose where he wants to put the puck. His best move is where he skates in quick, slows it down suddenly, pauses, freezes the goaltender and buries a wrist shot right between the legs.

Oshie didn’t just score one shootout goal.  USA coach Dan Bylsma sent him out there six times total and Oshie scored four.   The same goaltender saw him six times and could only stop him twice.  That’s sick. Completely unheard of.  Once again, it doesn’t matter what happens tomorrow or next week; everyone will remember the USA’s effort today.  They will remember Jonathan Quick’s brilliance in net. They will remember the notorious Red Wing Pavel Datsyuk bringing Russia back with two goals. The oddness for me in the Olympics is seeing the teams separated and the unlikely groups of players. Quick playing behind three Blues players instead of in front of them, Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaroslav Halak playing against the Americans. The familiar face of Datsyuk tormenting our souls and the team’s chances. This is why this event is so special, and why it’s only held every four years. It’s a celebration of the diversity in the talent of this league. All the countries, uniting rivals together for a couple of weeks, to battle for the most precious medal in all of sports. Just like any other huge sporting event, a particular moment can shine the brightest during a tournament propped up by skill.