It took a month longer than it usually does, but the Blues are rapidly approaching the event horizon of the platonic ideal of Bluesness.
After the wrong lessons were learned from Jay Gallon’s passenger appearance in the Blues’ 6-3 Game 4 win, Allen was a liability in net last night, though he wasn’t aided much by the skaters in front of him. The Sharks went 2 for 3 on the power play as St. Louis ran around like the Tasmanian Devil on some really raw glass he scored behind the Circle K in Webster Groves. And the Sharks power play is just simply too good to give any chances to in addition to the fact that the Top Line Joes have been stomping dicks all post season at evens anyway. When the Sharks’ top unit is has the puck in the zone, every skater will at some point in the shift occupy all of the five traditional stations of an overload power play, as they are essentially running a 5-man weave in the zone. Even the broken play that resulted in Pavelski’s game-tier in the slot came as a result of constant movement that allowed him to be crashing down between the rings where Thornton found him.
Of course, none of this is helped by the fact that Vlad Tarasenko has been erased by Marc-Eduoard Vlasic (who might be the most unheralded Olympic caliber defenseman in the league), and the Blues attack is too blunt to be giving the kind of skill the Sharks have extra looks with the extra man. Even with Tarasenko’s struggles, it was still unbelievably stupid of Ken Hitchcock to have him serve a too many men bench minor when that’s a penalty anyone on the bench can serve. Fuck knows the Blues have enough turds in the lineup at any given moment, and down a goal in a game 5 at home in the third period, there has to be some thought to getting a 40 goal scorer on the ice to press the issue and get the game equalized. Or at least their should be for a coach who didn’t have the game pass him by 12 years ago, and was made to look like an even bigger dipshit when the Sharks took a penalty to bring things to 4 on 4, and instead of finally utilizing the extra space, Tarasenko was in the box.
But hey, switching back to the put-upon Brian Elliott will surely change BACK the “momentum”.
Pengs vs Ning – Game 6 – 7:00PM
Speaking of dumbass goalie controversies, Mike Sullivan is going back to Matt Murray after what was likely Marc-Andre Fleury’s last appearance as a Penguin. Murray’s boasted an .889 so far in this series after being lights out in the first two rounds, as opposed to the .925 Vas has thrown out in the other crease. And with last change tonight at home, expect Victor Hedman to be out there as frequently as possible, especially with hardware in the building for the first time this post-season.
Michal Kempny Signed
So the Hawks finally consummated their deal with Czech defenseman Michal Kempny, at one year for a reported $925K, which is a no-risk deal for a 26 year old defenseman. Offensive numbers for middle-pairing defensemen are a crapshoot, and since there really aren’t possession metrics for the KHL and there’d be no way to make them meaningful in the context of the NHL if there were, all that can anyone can go off of is a qualitative scouting report. Kempny is of average size at 6’0″ 205 lbs, and is said to have plus mobility while being solid positionally in his own zone, and can use his feet to get out of trouble if need be. So basically he sounds exactly like White Oduya, but nearly 10 years younger at about a quarter of the price. If Kempny’s game can compliment Hjalmarsson’s in any approximation to the way Oduya’s did, that then frees up Bottomless Pete to get his sizeable ass covered by Duncan Keith while they get more favorable competition. These are lofty goals to put on someone who has never had to figure out angles on North American ice, but even these are more likely to happen than Passenger 57, Trevor Van Riemsdyk (“Always bet on bad”), ever being more than an 8th defenseman on a team that gives a shit about winning anything.