I know that NBCSN wanted to position this game as some important late-season clash, with a lot on the line. We know there wasn’t. And really, tonight was an excellent example of how the Blues have no idea what it is they want to be, and how they want to go being about whatever it is they think they are. The Hawks simply kicked them to shits in the first period. and if it wasn’t for Jay Gallon and Trevor van Riemsdyk, the Hawks could have been up a touchdown. Like we’ve seen a lot of over the past couple years, they spent the second period playing with their food, and gave up a tying goal. And then when they wanted to be serious again, they smothered the Blues and eventually got their deserved winner. This was as elementary as it gets, and just about a pure demonstration of what the Hawks and Blues “rivalry” has been for nine years now when the Hawks have given even the slightest fuck and had a roster even close to matching.
I really look forward to the comedy the Blues will provide over the next week. They’re going to trade Shattenkirk, who is their best d-man because they’ll claim they can’t afford him. But they’ll happily fork over nearly $9 million to Lehtera and Berglund, and the next time anyone can actually identify anything they do will be the first. They are plain noodles. They are saltines. They are just there. And then their fans will bemoan how their team can’t spend the same as other teams, while ShattenKevin gets to play in games that really matter with whoever he chooses to sign with. Not that their fans will really care, because they have to get back to yelling at Dexter Fowler for the crime of not getting three hits per night while being black.
Anyway, let’s clean this up a bit before I go on more St. Louis rants:
The Two Obs
-Let’s get some Hawks notes in. Nick Schmaltz was the best player on the ice. The speed at which he’s playing at, contrasted with how he started the season, is really hard to believe. The Hawks haven’t had a young player like this who after just a short stint in Rockford, who has shifted gears so quickly and vastly. He has the best vision among the forwards on this side of Dimebag and Scumbag. The weight on the pass to Toews for the opener couldn’t have been more perfect.
Let’s not go overboard for a 10- or 15-game stretch. But when a player at 21 can be this good for this stretch, it gives one a lot of hope.
-On the opposite side of the spectrum… Trevor van Riemsdyk.
-Colton Burpo sucks so hard, he makes that creature from the Yellow Submarine that sucked up all the scenery weep with jealousy. And if you don’t get that reference, your parents done raised you wrong.
-We still think Mike Yeo is a good coach, but even he seems to realize that he’s got mismatched toys here. The Blues seem caught in trying to placate their creative forwards who were clearly chafing under Hitch and realizing they just don’t have the horses to get up and go. Having only one d-man who can rush it up himself is something of a problem, with Burpo spending most of his night choking on his own vomit. But maybe I’m wrong, and maybe trying to close on Toews along the boards was the higher priority than a completely free Kane streaking down the slot.
-Of course, that was topped by Jabe O’Meester on the winner out of position, facing the wrong way, and completely helpless to do anything about Dimebag’s pass to Anisimov.
-They have gotten a nice rebound from Allen, who looked as good as he ever has tonight.
-It is an oddity that Marcus Kruger played less than 10 minutes tonight, and for the important defensive draws it was Working Class Kero getting the call. We know that whatever Kruger’s injury was has kept him from taking draws, and maybe they’re just preserving him. Or they’re getting a look at life when Kruger goes to Vegas.
-Hartman with an 82% CF% tonight. That’ll play.
I said I look forward to the Hawks putting staples in the skull of St. Louis in the first round, but the more I think about it the more it seems unlikely. I don’t even know what it is the Blues do well other than have Tarasenko go off, and four points behind the Preds with less than 20 to go is hard to make up. Whatever happens, we’ll all be relieved from having to hear about their bullshit anymore, as they’ll be on the backside of their window at best when this is over. Aged hockey analysts will continue to drool over the size and snarl they no longer have now that Hitch is gone. Their fans will continue to stamp their feet and claim they’re among the NHL’s glitterati. And they’re not. Everyone’s gonna know soon enough.