Here we go…

January 31, 2011

If you missed the All Star Game then check out the Guardian Project that was unveiled during intermission – have to say I rather like “The Blue”.

Well, the second half of the season starts tomorrow and the Blues really need to come out strong. Some good news to start with – it looks like Barret Jackman will be back tomorrow. Bad news – the status of Erik Johnson is unknown after he took a deflected puck to the face in practice today. As the saying goes, if the Blues didn’t have bad luck they wouldn’t have any luck at all. As far as Andy McDonald goes, Chris Kerber has just tweeted that McDonald is NOT expected back tomorrow but that the weekend looks more likely.

In other news, the Blues have recalled Philip McRae and Nikita Nikitin from Peoria – and have sent down Stefan Della Rovere.

Now, if the Blues are to make the playoffs there are a number of players who need to raise their games – and one of the most important is Jaroslav Halak. Halak has not had a good January – and yes, I know the defense has been hit, the forwards haven’t been backchecking enough and that our special teams and turnovers have almost crippled the team. But – this is the very time that Halak needs to come up strong. And I have no doubt that he will. Word is that he’s been working with Blues goalie coach, Corey Hirsch, on his positioning. They’ve been watching video and using Scott Mellanby as a screen whilst pucks are fired at Halak. Halak is working on staying farther out in his crease – a lot of his problems recently have been from drifting back into his crease and getting caught there. Staying at the top of the crease and being aggressive is what he needs to do. Of course, it might help if there was a defenseman, apart from Barret Jackman, who will get physical with opposition players who set up camp in Halak’s crease.

I have faith that Jaroslav Halak will rediscover his game – it’s not been easy for him. Having to adjust not just to a different team (with not as strong a defense as Montreal) but also adjusting to a different Conference. The West is much tougher than the East. It has to be remembered that Halak is also adjusting to something else: being a number 1 goalie. This is his first season as number 1 – it’ll take time. Personally, I think the All Star break is just what Halak needs. He can regroup – take a step back and start again.

Brace yourselves – because I think Halak will come up very strong in the second half of the season. He’s our franchise goaltender and whilst this season may be looked upon as a transition period, I’m very excited about how this guy is going to develop in the next few years.

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Updates…

January 21, 2011

Had to start it all off with that amazing save from Jaroslav Halak last night which preserved a vital point for the Blues. Unfortunately, the Blues lost in OT to the Red Wings following a too many men on the ice for the Wings that the officials completely missed/ignored.

There was some good news for the Blues though, in the shape of updates regarding Andy McDonald and David Perron.

Andy McDonald:

McDonald has passed the mandatory baseline test and is skating again. He will be skating a little more each day to see how things respond – but both the Blues and McDonald will obviously continue to be cautious. McDonald has missed 21 games so far and had this to say to reporters:

“There was some progression today. I was on the ice a little bit longer, with a little bit more intensity. I think that’s the way it’s going to be for a while. I’m going to try to progress each day, add a little bit and see how it responds.”

David Perron:

Perron has also passed the baseline test but does continue to have SOME symptoms. Indications are that light exercise could be beneficial and Perron himself says he’s feeling well enough to try it. Obviously Perron isn’t as far along the recovery road as McDonald but it’s good news nonetheless that things ARE progressing. Perron had this to say:

“It’s been tough, but I think now that it’s getting a little better, it feels pretty good. But early on it was really tough to stay away from the rink.”

“You don’t get to come to the rink. It might sound weird, but that’s the toughest thing. It’s not the headaches and stuff like that; it’s not being able to be here every day and skate with your teammates.”

The full interviews with both Andy McDonald and David Perron are on the Blues Website.


Oshie and Wellwood…

January 18, 2011

TJ Oshiephoto © 2010 Dinur Blum | more info(via: Wylio)

 

 
He’s back. The Blues announced today that TJ Oshie has been activated from IR and is expected to play tonight against the Los Angeles Kings. Those of you with tickets to the game? Lucky people.

Also, Kyle Wellwood has been claimed off waivers by the San Jose Sharks. Another short lived signing by the Blues. Guess it’s time they gave up on signing players from the KHL. Other teams let the Blues do the work and simply grab the player from waivers.