Archive for the ‘St. Louis Blues’ Category

Tuesday’s Tour Around the Central

November 2, 2009

You know it’s a slow news week when you do a Google News search for the Blue Jackets and every single thing that pops up has to do with Ovechkin and his wonky shoulder. And, as an afterthought, how they came from behind to win their game Sunday.

Anywho, let’s see what’s out there in America’s Heartland – and Nashville.

Our friends (and by friends I mean fellow smartasses who also write a gameday newspaper – they’re like Game Time’s cousins or something) over at Second City Hockey have a recap of what you can tell about the Blackhawks after one month in. Kudos to them for not doing what a lot of other Hawks sites are doing – “Wooooo! We’re in FIRST!” is not an in-depth analysis. Because, um, there are like 65 or so games left. Gimmie substance, please.

Hockey’s Future has the top 10 organizational rankings out, and the Blue Jackets are 4th (Blues are 1st and the Preds are 2nd, so the Central should be tough for some time to come). Nikita Filatov is their number one prospect and apparently will be a contender for the Calder this year. Someone might want to mention that to Ken Hitchcock.

Mirtle wrote an excellent six part series on the viability of the Nashville Predators as a hockey market. Excellently researched – as a fan of the Thrashers, I appreciate someone taking the time to visit Nashville to see what’s going on there first hand. I’m fairly tired of people writing stuff that usually sounds like:

“(Insert non-traditional market team here) doesn’t have the fan base to succeed. Their attendance is awful. They need to win in the playoffs or else (insert big name star) is going to leave in free agency. Since they’re located in the south, the team will automatically finish in the bottom of their Conference. Oh, and LOL @ rednecks!” is hoping that the Red Wings have turned a corner. That’s odd – so do I. Into a wall.

And finally, continuing the injury bug that has been harassing the Blues for the past few seasons, Andy McDonald does his best impression of me in high heels and takes a header into the boards:

Thank God he appears to be ok so far, though he probably won’t play Thursday as a precaution. No word yet on Sunday at Atlanta.

Wazzupwitchu’s Laura shares her Earliest Hockey Memories

July 29, 2009
Logo by Gray from Couch Tarts

Because we’re on the verge of passing out, we’ll keep this brief: Laura is awesome. You can follow her work on Wazzupwitchu and she recently became a member of St. Louis Blues Gametime, the awesome and gigantic Blues blog for Sports Blog Nation. Congrats, Laura aka Hildy aka Hildymac, and thanks for your contributions!

Here goes… I was little, so there might be a few mistakes in there somewhere. But hey, who can remember back to when they were 8, huh?

Growing up in St. Louis, as anyone who is from there can tell you, there is one game in town: Cardinals baseball. Everyone eats, sleeps, and breathes it – the Post Dispatch would give a Cards/Cubs game bigger coverage than if the Mississippi flowed backwards again (look it up – swear it happened). The Cardinals and their ten World Series wins are the pride and joy of St. Louis sports, and while I will be a Cardinals fan until the day that I die, there’s another team in town who I love just as much – and I don’t care that they haven’t won the Cup.

When I was probably 8 or so, and how this started is iffy, I began watching Blues games on TV. KPLR showed (and did so with some until last season) the Blues home games, and I guess flipping around TV I landed on one. When I was that age, well… that was the beginning of the age of Hull. Luckily I started watching during the end of the Hull and Oates team-up, so I got to see that amazingness first hand. I was fortunate to begin my tenure as a bona fide fan of the Blues during the era with CuJo (new CuJo, not shell of his former self CuJo), Shannahan, Janney, Mrs. Janney, MacInnis, and Hull. My strongest two memories of being a little kid and loving hockey are playing floor hockey with the dog – he was probably not a willing participant – by taping a 12 inch and a 6 inch ruler together as a stick and using one of his tennis balls as a puck; and watching the 1993 series sweep of the Blackhawks in the 1st round of the playoffs. I still remember, as clear as day, the front page headline of the Post-Dispatch: “SWEEP” – complete with a picture of a crying (and probably screaming… damn PMS) Eddie Belfour. I actually think that I have a copy of that still somewhere, though I’m not sure where it is.

My grandmother of all people got me started collecting hockey cards, as well as a subscription to Beckett’s hockey price guide, which is a tradition I still continue with my monthly on-line subscription. This collecting of cards made me aware at a really young age of who the best players were, who the up and coming guys were, all their stats, and of course contributed to my unhealthy goaltender crush. I moved down to Georgia in 1993 which completely killed my hockey trading card addiction, as well as prohibited me from finding friends to whack street hockey balls against the side of the house. I only had my Super Nintendo, NHL ’94, a Blues sweatshirt, and some autographs from Hull, Shanny, and CuJo to get me through those dark, horrible, hockeyless days until 1999 when the Thrashers showed up and I got to watch their first game, a 4-1 loss to the Devils, in person. I adore the Thrashers (as much as they’ll let me) but because of where I’m from and the warmth that I associate with these early hockey memories of a childhood past, well, the Blues are my boys and are still my hometown team.

Laura gives many the goaltending Blues (11th pick)

July 24, 2009

11. Roberto Luongo goes to St. Louis, picked by Laura from St. Louis Game Time and Wazzupwitchu.

Cap Hit: $6,750,000

Laura of Wazzupwitchu covers the Blues and Thrashers Free Agent thoughts

June 29, 2009

Big thanks to Laura from Wazzupwitchu for being two team bloggers in one. Make sure to check out her spirited Blues-Thrashers blogging.

First, Laura’s thoughts on the Blues:

1. Which player, for the love of God, do you NOT want to see in your team’s sweater in the 09-10 season?

Danny. Freaking. Heatley. I’m sick and tired of seeing the Blues mentioned in trade rumors for him… and I really don’t care for the fact that Perron is constantly included in these rumors. We don’t need to break up the young core of the team, and Heatley, while good, is a pure goal scorer with no real oomph for playmaking (he floats a lot) and he’s not great defensively. Heater’s already been on one of my teams, he doesn’t need to be on the other one.

2. Conversely, pick a potential move by another team that would just crush your soul/favorite team’s chances.

Wait… hm… Detroit signing Hossa would make them a tougher team, but considering that Roman Polak almost broke him, I’m not concerned about his impact on the Blues. The Central’s pretty stacked as it is – even Nashville and Columbus put up a fight every year. It doesn’t boil down to what they get, it comes down to what the Blues do. Their success or failure is in their hands.

And then, her thoughts on the Atlanta Thrashers:

1. Which player, for the love of God, do you NOT want to see in your team’s sweater in the 09-10 season?

Any former NY Ranger that their fans always want to try to dump on us, either in a Kovy trade or just in general. NYC uses Jersey to dump their trash. They need to stick with that.

A lot of people are paranoid that Dapper Don will pick up Chelios. I think that comes from last year and us picking up Schneider from the Ducks last year. We’re moving towards youth, and there’s not a market for chili in Atlanta. We should be safe.

Another rumor that went around after someone saw Waddell at a Wild game was the acquisition of Gaborik. If he’s healthy all season and doesn’t act like Madonna when she’s told she can’t adopt that little African baby that she wanted, then he’s golden. But my money is on a failed trip to Africa and a trip to the ER. Please, don’t.

2. Conversely, pick a potential move by another team that would just crush your soul/favorite team’s chances.

Tampa Bay to getting decent ownership who don’t need couples therapy and to find at least 7 defensemen to stick with the entire year would be horrible for the whole Southeast Division. I mean, that’s at least 4 sure fire intra-conference wins a season gone with the wind. *poof*

Five Questions: St. Louis vs. Vancouver

April 15, 2009

OK, so here’s the last preview of Wednesday:

Thanks a bunch to Laura, who came through with the St. Louis Blues angle once again.

Let the games begin … in about 45 minutes.

Hockey Orphan: Laura from Wazzupwitchu on the St. Louis Blues

March 31, 2009
Logo by: Earl Sleek. You’re a beast, Sleek!

(Make sure to follow Laura’s take on the red-hot St. Louis Blues at Wazzupwitchu. Thanks a bunch, Laura!)

Imagine, if you will, a bad soap opera. My character barely misses being written off of the show and awakens, dazed and confused, in an Atlanta hospital, not knowing how she got there or where she came from.

Really, only one part of that horror story is true (not the contract negs but the being in Atlanta part), and the thought of being hockey-homeless is just too much for me to bear. But if my memory were tragically erased and I forgot every last awesome moment of my childhood that St. Louis Blues hockey gave me, I’d still be in love with this team. Let me explain:

1) Fun. These boys are just a blast to watch. There is no team in the league right now who plays a full 60 minutes as hard, fast, and hungry as they do. No checking out for a couple periods, hoping to recoup their losses in the 3rd. No namby-pamby Eastern Conference style speed and dump and chase. They hit, they score amazing goals, they make the saves that need to be made. Part of this fun is…

2) The Kid Line. Perron/Berglund/Oshie. There is NOTHING these guys can’t do. TJ is currently the most talked about rookie in the league right now (at least according to Puck Daddy) because he’s not scared. He does what he needs to do. He’ll lay out another team’s captain. He’ll make the slick assist. He can and WILL score a goal that’ll have women for miles wanting his children. Berglund has proven clutch, and Perron has responded to his stint in Andy Murray’s doghouse by playing at a furious pace.

3) Goaltending. Manny Legace’s season came to an unfortunate early end, but Chris Mason seems to be on a little bit of a roll. And when I mean little bit I mean holy tear. The most impressive part, aside from the GAA and SV% he’s been putting up since January, is that he’s started every game since February 3rd. No break, no “I’m tired… I think I need a rest…” He just does it, and he loves it. Every time someone asks him if he’s tired, he shrugs it off like it’s the dumbest question he’s ever heard. There is no prima-donna goaltender here.

4) Tenaciousness. The 10,000 and a half injuries this season – some weird, some not – have cost the Blues the third most manpower games in the league this season. It looked like they were catching up to us, and then bit by bit, people started coming back. Even without Eric Brewer, Erik Johnson, and Paul Kariya, we still have a solid offensive and defensive system. Thank you, Andy Murray. He needs to get the Jack Adams this year. Honestly.

5) Class. This is probably the most important thing to me. You can own 100 Cup rings, and if you don’t have class and history, you’re not a great hockey club. The Blues have it. Look at their rafters. Yes, they’ve retired the numbers of some of the greatest players in the game. But they don’t just have retired numbers up there – they have honored numbers. Doug Wickenheiser – honored not necessarily for his play nor for the fact that he retired a Blue – he played for 3 teams after them. But he was honored for what he brought to the team as a player in the form of character, and that character continues in the Fourteen Fund. Bob Plager’s banner hangs too. He was an integral part of the Blues in the 1960s and 1970s along with his brothers, and he too is recognized for what he brought to the team as a character player – as a team guy.

A more recent display of class can be found on St. Louis Game Time – a story I posted about one of my friends, some photos, a goal, and a very happy Walt. My friend’s a Thrashers fan [as was I as well as a Blues fan] before this nasty knock on my head that left me teamless), but he was blown away by the courtesy shown to him by this hockey team 900 miles away – a team that took the time out to call a fan of another club and say thank you.

Add up everything I mentioned here, and I could live in Outer Mongolia as a yak herder and still love this team. As it stands, I just live in Atlanta, I don’t have amnesia, and I will never forget who my team is. Thank God for small miracles.

Afternoon Cycle: You are fooorrrrgiiiiiven

March 30, 2009

Note: If you haven’t read Chris Kontos’ Hockey in Japan piece, make sure you do that first. It is absolutely essential reading.

  • There might not be many of you out there with the privilege of seeing much of the NCAA hockey tournament, but it’s been pretty awesome.

Still, deep down, as ESPN U or whatever affiliate covers these games, there’s this other feeling: the strong urge to plead for the NHL’s return to the four-lettered network. Admit it, you thought that as ESPN’s beautiful HD washed over you and creative, interesting camera angles came about.

Now, don’t get us wrong. ESPN left hockey bruised and battered entering the lockout. What’s the best parallel? Should we go to that Rhianna getting roughed up by Chris Brown well again? Or maybe kick it old school with a Bobby Brown-Whitney Houston or really really old school with Ike and Tina Turner?

(It’s amazing how many abusive music industry relationships involve people who either go by only their first name or don’t share a last name. Is the modern era hyphenated last name trend a catalyst for violence? Of course not, but it’s always fun to establish arbitrary reasoning for such things. Violence = not funny; outlandishness = quite funny.)

Either way, it’s obvious that ESPN’s sending subtle little flowers to hockey at work. A hockey highlight prominently displayed in the Sportscenter Top 10? Ohhh you shouldn’t have! Mentioning a hockey player other than Sidney Crosby? Maybe you can change!

Mike Chen, the wily veteran that he is, beat us to the “ESPN should televise NHL games on Thursdays” soap box but it still deserves to be mentioned. Think about it: Thursday is not a designated day for any sport, really. The NHL has three days of the week where the games are bountiful: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Versus covers Tuesday, Hockey Night in Canada owns Saturday … so why not Thursday Night Hockey on ESPN?

They wouldn’t even have to leave Versus, a cable channel we’d compare to an overweight, slightly dopey wife with a heart of gold. Sure, you can’t really brag about her with your office buds at the water cooler. And her production values are pretty terrible. And she never seems to rent the right movies/pick the right games. But she loves you and needs you. That’s got to count for something.

(Ugh, OK, no more bad analogies … until the next bullet point. Ho ho gotcha suckers!)

  • NHL Network was showing Game 7 of the Carolina Hurricanes – Edmonton Oilers SCF, which seemed shockingly old since it was in the pre or early HD era.

Still, it’s stunning just how much energy permeated every cell of that game. Dirty hits were thrown about like 10-cent tacos. Scoring chances abounded. Naturally, there were some GREAT playoff beards.

It really got us pumped for the playoffs. The long grind is almost over, everyone. Are you as excited as we are?

  • Does every NHL season see so many random, out-of-left field surges as this one? At any given time, there seems to be at least one or two RED HOT teams. Right now, the Pittsburgh Penguins are hot but they have big name stars so that’s not too shocking.

The two biggest surprises are the St. Louis Blues and the Carolina Hurricanes. We might take a deeper look at those two teams if possible. Either way, it seems like an odd trend but maybe we’re just paying closer attention these days.

  • Despite only recording one assist between eight guys on Saturday, the Funkillers managed to pull the tights and put their legs on the ropes to advance on to the fantasy hockey finals. The hero of Sunday was Roberto Luongo whose shutout, literally, was the only way this fictional team could win.

We know you don’t care, but just look at how close this was:

Living GM vs. Blogging GM: Central division

March 8, 2009

To wrap up our Trade Deadline coverage, we’ll take a look at the big moves (and non-moves) in each division one-by-one. Did our contributors and their respective GMs see eye-to-eye? Would those guest posts provide a better reality than what really came about? Let’s take a look at the Central division:

Real Life: Blue Jackets send Pascal Leclaire and a second round draft pick to Ottawa for Antoine Vermette
Bethany from Bethany’s Hockey Rants mainly pleaded with Columbus to rid the world of Christian Backman.

Since my picks are rarely correct, here’s the closest I came: “The Blue Jackets have a great thing going. If I were Howson, I’d look for that one extra center. If they found the right guy who can slide right into Hitchcock’s system, they should finally make the playoffs.”

And Leclaire was the main image of the BJs section. Give credit, too, to Chris Kontos who predicted that CBJ would have to give up a draft pick. A rare win for the CLS gang!

Real Life: Red Wings do nothing
The Chief aka IwoCPO from Abel to Yzerman said:

“Denver fans are literally sobbing at the thought of Ian Laperriere joining the Wings, and for that reason I’d like to see it happen. We’ll see. My prediction? Nothing. No additions. Nada.”

Correct. Good job Mr. Chief.

Real Life: Nashville Predators do nothing
The Forechecker said:

“The first caveat heading into the deadline is, “no deals that make the 2009-10 edition of the team any worse.” This Predators team is hardly in the position to make a “go for it” type of acquisition, but there are two scenarios in which they could be considered Buyers.”

He ends up being half-right. Not bad.

Real Life: Anaheim Ducks trade Sammy Pahlsson, Logan Stephenson and a conditional fourth round pick to Chicago for James Wisniewski and center Petri Kontiola.
Clare from All Hawks Hockey said:

“If I were the Blackhawks GM, I would be hesitant to make any sort of trade. Adding another center would be nice but not at the potential cost that would be required in return. The Blackhawks have some minor issues that could be addressed but I believe the Hawks can be successful with the team they have now.”

Half-right. Chris Kontos and I guessed that they’d add a center. The question is: what was the “potential cost” of the Pahlsson deal? Was that peanuts or way too much for a guy who might just go back to Anaheim this summer? I’ll leave that to the commenters.

Real Life: Blues do nothing of significance
Brad Lee from St. Louis Game Time said:

“I would stand pat. The chemistry is good. The mix with young and old players is strong. They’re winning. It’s important to keep the long view of growing from within, but the fans are desperate for a chance at the playoffs. The energy around St. Louis and the enthusiasm for this team is really strong right now. So you can’t trade Keith Tkachuk. And I don’t want to give up any picks or prospects.”

Well done, Brad. That is correct.

If you were the GM (Central division edition)

March 2, 2009

(With the trade deadline upon us, Cycle like the Sedins decided to ask about 30 or so friends in the blogosphere to represent his or her team and answer the question: “What would you do if you were the GM during the trade deadline?

Since things change in a heartbeat, the date of each person’s submission is listed next to each entry. So before you start screaming “BUT THEY TRADED HIM!” while food spills out of your mouth, we’re showing what they thought at the time.

Don’t like it? Psh.)

Columbus Blue Jackets

Usually don’t feel moved to give photo credit but this was awesome enough:

Bethany from Bethany’s Hockey Rants


“If I were Scott Howson, I would give away Christian Backman, yes, GIVE him away. I don’t care if we get anything in return, just make him go away, I mean sure he played six good games for the Jackets this season, but he’s totally not worth it. We still need that top line center for Nash, and all we have to offer is a broken goalie, in Leclaire, and a broken defenseman in Klesla. Who wants to trade?!”

Chris Kontos: It’s amazing how far Backman has fallen since his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2002-2003. And the fact that Columbus would give him away for nothing speaks volumes to that. Oh, wait… what? Christian Backman? I was thinking of Barret Jackman. Who the hell is Christian Backman? Bethany is right on here… I expect the Blue Jackets to make the biggest splash this deadline… but who in hell do they have to give up to trade? Looks like it will be draft picks a plenty.

James O’Brien: The Blue Jackets have a great thing going. If I were Howson, I’d look for that one extra center. If they found the right guy who can slide right into Hitchcock’s system, they should finally make the playoffs.


Detroit Red Wings

The Chief aka IwoCPO from Abel to Yzerman

If I were Tick Tock Kenny Holland, I’d drink heavily at the deadline. Actually, if I was Cindy Brady or practically anyone else, I’d drink heavily at the deadline. In Kenny’s case? I think it’s going to be a slow day so he’ll have some time to kill. Now that’s the logical consensus…not because the Wings don’t need anything. They do. But more because all the smart kids say their too close to the cap. But…if Holland finds a way to add a player, I think it will be a gritty winger.
Denver fans are literally sobbing at the thought of Ian Laperriere joining the Wings, and for that reason I’d like to see it happen. We’ll see. My prediction? Nothing. No additions. Nada.

Chris Kontos: Don’t mess with success. The Red Wings will stand pat. But adding former King Laperriere would be a HUGE get for this team.

James O’Brien: Is it possible for the Red Wings to at least feel around for Manny Fernandez or some other goaltender? Sure, it doesn’t really make a bunch of sense to mess with a good thing but on the other hand you only get so many chances to win a Cup. Nicklas Lidstrom isn’t getting any younger.


Nashville Predators

The Forechecker

The first caveat heading into the deadline is, “no deals that make the 2009-10 edition of the team any worse.” This Predators team is hardly in the position to make a “go for it” type of acquisition, but there are two scenarios in which they could be considered Buyers. First, something similar to last season’s pickup of Jan Hlavac; a late-round pick in exchange for a veteran who, it is hoped, can be plugged into the existing lineup and provide help in a specific role. The role that sticks out like a sore thumb right now is a power play specialist.

The other Bonk. The cooler, balder Bonk.

Secondly, you could do a contract-swapping exchange similar to the Whitney/Kunitz deal between Pittsburgh and Anaheim, in which two teams trade underperformers in long-term contracts to juggle their assets and take a gamble on the player faring better in a new environment. I doubt we’d see that type of trade here, but Martin Erat and/or Dan Hamhuis might make attractive candidates there.
If, in the judgment of the team, they should sell assets instead, pending UFA’s like Greg de Vries and Radek Bonk (assuming a trading partner is comfortable with his injury status) might be attractive to contenders looking for that veteran presence on defense or a faceoff specialist. No matter the case, slow & steady is the course for Nashville, and 2009-10 looks enticing with the possible addition of Colin Wilson to the lineup.

Chris Kontos: Did you know that Radek Bonk was a 3rd overall draft pick? Eventually he and Rico Fata will make awesome linemates in Europe.

James O’Brien: Nashville might be the team that truly blows my mind. These guys keep hovering around the playoffs year after year, amid turmoil and losing personnel. Would this be the team for Marian Gaborik? Wouldn’t wish that on such an intelligent franchise.


Chicago Blackhawks
March 2

Clare from All Hawks Hockey

If I were the Blackhawks GM, I would be hesitant to make any sort of trade. Adding another center would be nice but not at the potential cost that would be required in return. The Blackhawks have some minor issues that could be addressed but I believe the Hawks can be successful with the team they have now.

Chris Kontos: I think the Blackhawks need to make a move. They have a great young team but are ready to compete now. They need another center, especially with Sharp out, and with the right move, they could be quite the dark horse team in the playoffs.

James O’Brien: Have to agree with Chris on this one. The Blackhawks are often referred to as “a team of the future” but there is a bit of pressure on the present tense Blackhawks. If they don’t plan on keeping Martin Havlat, why not trade him for a center? No? I’m an a-what? Easy!


St. Louis Blues

Brad Lee from St. Louis Game Time (March 2)

I would stand pat. The chemistry is good. The mix with young and old players is strong. They’re winning. It’s important to keep the long view of growing from within, but the fans are desperate for a chance at the playoffs. The energy around St. Louis and the enthusiasm for this team is really strong right now. So you can’t trade Keith Tkachuk. And I don’t want to give up any picks or prospects.

Chris Kontos: I can’t even put into words how strange it is to see an Andy Murray coached team actually on the rise in the last 2 months of a season. This is usually Murray’s time to tank. The Blues have a solid team that is on the up and up for future seasons. I think it’s more important to get the experience in battling for a playoff spot than sell off Tkachuk. But… if Boston or Washington comes knocking for Tkachuk with a huge payday… how can you say no?

Laura from Wazzupwitchu?

If I were John Davidson, well, I’d be an old man who is extremely well off and in charge of one of the best up and coming teams in the league. Aside for the fact that I would be a paunchy late-middle ager, I have to say I would be fairly content. With his salary, heck, I could even tolerate being the late-middle ager.

Unfortunately, I am not the GM of the Blues – I’m a late 20s chick who happens to draw a salary as a teacher that is the equivalent to probably one of Brad Winchester’s game paychecks.

I agree with the GM’s assessment that the best thing we can do for the team is build from within with intelligent draft picks and prospects who have been cultivated through the farm system. The Blues have done an outstanding job of this – we currently have one of the top ranked farm systems in the league. By all accounts, we have had the most roster-damaging injuries all season out of any team, and we should have been far out of the playoff race a long time ago. Amazingly enough, here we are short some veteran leadership (Brewer, Kariya) and young guns (King, Johnson) who should be making up the core of our team… and we’re 3 points out. Players have stepped up from the Rivermen into our roster without missing a beat and we traded for two individuals (Steen and Colaiacovo) who are making a huge impact. One would say that with the roster we have now, our chemistry is set.

The most important thing when looking at this, and then looking at where we are in the standings, is the potential to throw off the team chemistry. Absolutely, positively, do I not trade Keith Tkachuk. Recent articles in the Post-Dispatch show more and more his willingness to lead these young guys into the playoffs. They also show a commitment to Walt from the other players, young and old alike, who view him as a mentor and the team leader. Davidson mentioned that the 3 games before the trade deadline were deal-makers or breakers. In those 3 games we’re 2-0-0 with the third to be played tonight. Regardless of a win against Detroit, I think that we are close enough to the playoffs (with teams beneath us who seem to be on the decline) that we stand pat with Tkachuk.

Another thing that I certainly would not do is something that rumor sites have the Blues thinking about – trading for Chris Pronger. Nothing against the guy, but this idea is wrong from several different angles. Why would the Ducks, a team who is slipping and who needs to tighten some things up, trade to another Western Conference team who is on the rise? Why in the world would they make the Blues any better than we are? If the Ducks dump Pronger it’ll be to an Eastern Conference squad.

Also mentioned in the “Pronger to the Blues” rumors is the inclusion of David Perron. He’s #3 on the team with points, and is a sharp playmaker, especially on the Kid Line. The only reason Perron’s name has been tossed about is because someone unfamiliar with the team noticed that Andy Murray called him out in the press a few times and moved him to the 4th line for a couple of games. He did that because Perron responds to this kind of treatment by ratcheting up his play a few notches, NOT because he dislikes him or wants him gone.

The other UFAs (Hinote, Winchester, Weaver, Legace) are all good for some picks and maybe a prospect thrown in with Manny. I’d try to move them – Legace isn’t showing his worth in Peoria right now, but there are teams with goalie issues moving into the playoffs who might take a risk (Buffalo). I would try to resign Brad Winchester, though. He’s fit in very well with the team this year, and is producing (10 goals and 4 assists in 44 games). He’s an extremely solid 3rd liner, and his salary isn’t huge ($600K with a cap hit of $465,000) – he’s an affordable and valuable re-sign.

One other thing I would do if I were the Blues GM – keep doing things right. I live in Atlanta and am a Thrashers fan as well (which explains the schizoid nature of my blog), and Don Waddell is probably one of the worst GMs I have ever seen. I would kill for a guy like Davidson to be down here. That being said, I am more than happy to keep JD in St. Louis where he can help with the successful re-build.

James O’Brien: There are certain inevitable things in the end of February/early March. People start to tense up about taxes. The weather’s still cold, dammit, and people are getting tired of it. And the NHL trade deadline comes and Keith Tkachuk‘s name comes up.

He’s been quite the draft pick machine for the Blues. Why stop now? Trade him for a bunch of picks and then wait for him to come back next year. Again.