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Game #41 Chicago Blackhawks @ St. Louis Blues / Bringing back the home whites edition

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04-14-2013, 04:31 PM
  #376
EastonBlues22
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Originally Posted by Celtic Note View Post
I feel like asking this team to do that would be trouble. For some reason they don't seem to understand or follow through on taking the right shots. When Hitch emphasizes shots, it seems like the players interpret that to mean shot at all costs. That is when we see all the shots from terrible angles and off shin pads.

I do agree that we need more quality shots. If the lane is open, take the shot. Preferably take the shot from the center of the ice, rather than from the extreme periphery.
I wouldn't necessarily call a shot from the extreme periphery a good scoring position, so I think we're basically seeing/saying the same thing.

The goal should always be to work the puck toward the middle of the ice and then shoot it from there. I think many of the Blues forwards are too passive about the first part of that, with the default play being perimeter cycling until the point opens up (or sometimes forcing passes there when it isn't open). They need to put the work in to get the puck to the middle of the ice themselves. The few forwards who don't have that problem tend to pass the puck too much once they're there (<cough> Perron <cough>).

I don't have a problem with throwing the puck to the net if there's no other way to get it there and there's guys in the vicinity. Sometimes the defense is good enough in the middle of the ice so that's legitimately all you can do. If that's the case, though, people need to be anticipating that play to get a break on potential screens/rebounds and follow that up with an outstanding work ethic around the net. Right now those two things aren't happening with any consistency.

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04-14-2013, 04:31 PM
  #377
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I don't fear that at all. If Hitch sits him, he certainly has compiled enough evidence to justify it. He's just a warm body out there at this point. Let Jaskin slide in his spot, see what happens. If Jaskin has more of an effect on the game, keep him in. If not, bring Vladi back. Removing Tarasenko from the lineup does not make it any worse because he's simply not generating anything recently. He's been playing a lot of hockey this year, I can imagine he's pretty worn out. Let him sit a couple and see if he comes back rejuvenated.
I don't agree with the idea that he's not generating anything recently (especially when you try to figure out what to compare that to...nobody has been generating). When he shoots, he puts the puck on net, which most of our top 9 is incapable of doing. I'd EASILY put Tarasenko ahead of AndyMac at this point. And I would argue he's been our most dangerous player off of sustained pressure...the problem has been getting the sustained pressure.

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04-14-2013, 04:32 PM
  #378
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Originally Posted by Chancellor Vitale View Post
Pens fan coming in Peace. Was hoping you guys would get the W today...

Been reading some of your comments about different players with interest. At the start of the season I would've been surprised if someone said you guys would have this much trouble scoring at points this season. Even without a true 1C your F depth is pretty sick.

Is there any thought that maybe there's a Hitchcock element to this? The style of play his teams have used has always been more conservative, and his limiting of rookie minutes is also a well-known phenomenon. I have to wonder if part of the problem is Hitch "teaching the young guys to play responsible," but to a fault... bringing them along too slowly. Looking at your lineup (which is fairly deep in terms of F talent), it's amazing to me Tarasenko is still on the 3rd line most of the time (right?). The ice time he gets is just... I don't get it. Even as an outside fan. Makes no sense to me / can't see a logical reason for it.

I would've thought by now they would've put a defensively responsible C with he and Schwartz and let them develop some chemistry and game together. The times I've seen Tarasenko his game has been pretty resonsible and unselfish. Not like he's the crazy Euro-kid out there trying to make a highlight reel... I dunno. I have a feeling your team will not take that next level jump until Hitchcock is gone. One of those things where you have one coach develop players and a sense of team identity... and he takes them to a point, and then the next guy rides the wave (but couldn't have done it without the work put in by Hitch).

Fair assessment?

All I know is you guys have a potentially (extremely) deep roster in the years ahead. Just need that true 1C, let Backes be 2C. Would be a shame to see the likes of Tarasenko, Schwartz, Jaskin throttled back all the time because of Hitch.
I don't think Hitch is holding the young guys back.

On the Tarasenko front, his playing time has been limited with good reason IMO (although I did question his PP time early in the season). Tarasenko has shown some need for endurance training in the off season. He gets pretty sluggish at the end of most shifts. I believe the frequent stops and starts are a bit more than he is accustom. Then you have to consider that Stewart and Oshie are ahead of him on the RW depth chart.

As for Schwartz, he had a very slow start to the season. He seemed to get out muscled on every shift at the beginning. Over the course of the season that changed. As a result, he is seeing more time. In the beginning he also was not doing well on his defensive coverage. That has changed as well.


With Jaskin, we do not know what to expect. But, we do know that Hitch has some high praise for the kid.

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04-14-2013, 04:32 PM
  #379
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Originally Posted by taylord22 View Post
AndyMac's decline/injury (compared to where he was early on) is also a big aspect of Tarasenko's dwindling numbers. Since coming back from his injury, he's played with a partially injured AndyMac and David Perron who is pretty far from a playmaker.
Keep continuing it's everyone else's, but Tarasenko's fault for his drop in numbers. His high production stopped when we went on that horrific stretch and it never really came back.

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04-14-2013, 04:33 PM
  #380
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Originally Posted by Chancellor Vitale View Post
I realize he's not THE problem (ultimately the players have to perform), but wondering if maybe he's too unyielding / conservative in how he approaches things... with rookies especially. FWIW I'm not suggesting he's a bad coach (he's a good coach on the whole), just wondering if you guys think some of the "pattern" of constantly getting into low scoring situations might be attributable to his style of coaching / handling of certain players.
Personally, I think the coaching is sound. The execution, and perhaps fundamental understanding of the coaching principles by some players, is still a work in progress.

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04-14-2013, 04:37 PM
  #381
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Originally Posted by EastonBlues22 View Post
I wouldn't necessarily call a shot from the extreme periphery a good scoring position, so I think we're basically seeing/saying the same thing.

The goal should always be to work the puck toward the middle of the ice and then shoot it from there. I think many of the Blues forwards are too passive about the first part of that, with the default play being perimeter cycling until the point opens up (or sometimes forcing passes there when it isn't open). They need to put the work in to get the puck to the middle of the ice themselves. The few forwards who don't have that problem tend to pass the puck too much once they're there (<cough> Perron <cough>).

I don't have a problem with throwing the puck to the net if there's no other way to get it there and there's guys in the vicinity. Sometimes the defense is good enough in the middle of the ice so that's legitimately all you can do. If that's the case, though, people need to be anticipating that play to get a break on potential screens/rebounds and follow that up with an outstanding work ethic around the net. Right now those two things aren't happening with any consistency.
Thats one of the biggest problems with this team.

We need to get the puck to the front of the net with some level of consistency. Once it gets there we need to make quick, aggressive decisions. We always seem to have a guy in front of the net. That is not the problem. Although, his location can often be questioned. But, the real problem is how the puck gets to the front of the net, the decisions made there, and supporting cast positioning/reads.

Too often I feel like our supporting cast around the net are our defensemen, which worries me on multiple levels.

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04-14-2013, 04:43 PM
  #382
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Originally Posted by Celtic Note View Post
I don't think Hitch is holding the young guys back.

On the Tarasenko front, his playing time has been limited with good reason IMO (although I did question his PP time early in the season). Tarasenko has shown some need for endurance training in the off season. He gets pretty sluggish at the end of most shifts. I believe the frequent stops and starts are a bit more than he is accustom. Then you have to consider that Stewart and Oshie are ahead of him on the RW depth chart.

As for Schwartz, he had a very slow start to the season. He seemed to get out muscled on every shift at the beginning. Over the course of the season that changed. As a result, he is seeing more time. In the beginning he also was not doing well on his defensive coverage. That has changed as well.


With Jaskin, we do not know what to expect. But, we do know that Hitch has some high praise for the kid.
Quote:
Originally Posted by EastonBlues22 View Post
Personally, I think the coaching is sound. The execution, and perhaps fundamental understanding of the coaching principles by some players, is still a work in progress.
Great posts. Thanks guys! Hopefully the Blues will turn up the offensive intensity going into the playoffs. Would like to see your team do well / maybe upset a favorite early on. Screw those big market teams.

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04-14-2013, 04:48 PM
  #383
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Originally Posted by bleedblue1223 View Post
Keep continuing it's everyone else's, but Tarasenko's fault for his drop in numbers. His high production stopped when we went on that horrific stretch and it never really came back.
The point I was trying to make was that this entire team is offensively neutered...focusing on the most promising offensive rookie we've had in recent memory is an aimless argument in context to problems that have been plaguing us all season. Where is Backes' production? Where is Perron? Berglund? Stewart, lately? What happened to AndyMac's decision making? Do we really not believe that their offensive ineptitude doesn't trickle down?

Or to put it more simply...his production dip is not a coincidence within the context of the team's offensive dip.

Outside of counterattack offense, Tarasenko has had the most zone-time chances the past half-dozen games. How many times have we heard the fact that the Sobotka line has had the most chances, lately? Quite a bit

I agree with you to an extent, but I feel there's some objectivity to what I'm saying, as well.

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04-14-2013, 04:50 PM
  #384
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Originally Posted by taylord22 View Post
The point I was trying to make was that this entire team is offensively neutered...focusing on the most promising offensive rookie we've had in recent memory is an aimless argument in context to problems that have been plaguing us all season. Where is Backes' production? Where is Perron? Berglund? Stewart, lately? What happened to AndyMac's decision making? Do we really not believe that their offensive ineptitude doesn't trickle down?

Or to put it more simply...his production dip is not a coincidence within the context of the team's offensive dip.

Outside of counterattack offense, Tarasenko has had the most zone-time chances the past half-dozen games. How many times have we heard the fact that the Sobotka line has had the most chances, lately? Quite a bit

I agree with you to an extent, but I feel there's some objectivity to what I'm saying, as well.
I've been on them as well.

And concerning Hitchcock's comments, he has done the same exact thing with other players this season. He is just singling one player out and leaving other players alone. He's right that if Tarasenko just shot the puck, Chicago wouldn't have had that scoring chance that they scored on.

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04-14-2013, 04:57 PM
  #385
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Originally Posted by bleedblue1223 View Post
I've been on them as well.

And concerning Hitchcock's comments, he has done the same exact thing with other players this season. He is just singling one player out and leaving other players alone. He's right that if Tarasenko just shot the puck, Chicago wouldn't have had that scoring chance that they scored on.
I know you have. And you're right (as is Hitch).

I just find it impossible to talk about the production woes of a rookie when your veterans are coughing up pucks up and down the ice/not producing. That's really the only point I was trying to make.

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04-14-2013, 05:00 PM
  #386
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We've invested a lot of time into watching all of these players grow from raw rookies to seasoned NHLers. It's understandable that some are hesitant to admit that we have a very mediocre crop of offensive talent. We don't have the luxury of putting a rookie like Tarasenko with Toews and Hossa to insulate him during his formative years.

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04-14-2013, 05:21 PM
  #387
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I'm ready to see anyone who doesn't have the potential to hit 70 points gone for someone who has and/or can.

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04-14-2013, 05:22 PM
  #388
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We've invested a lot of time into watching all of these players grow from raw rookies to seasoned NHLers. It's understandable that some are hesitant to admit that we have a very mediocre crop of offensive talent. We don't have the luxury of putting a rookie like Tarasenko with Toews and Hossa to insulate him during his formative years.
It seems like you are saying one thing, yet providing thoughts for another argument.

We have many above average players, so I disagree that we have mediocre talent. Our team is one of the deepest in the entire league.

I do however agree that we lack top end offensive talent. We have no Kane, Toews, or Hossa type catalysts. We have two guys with the raw talent to be those kinds of players, but lack the hockey sense, vision, and consistency to reach those levels (Perron & Stewart). We also have two players with the potential to get close to those levels (Schwartz and Tarasenko), but they are a ways off before we can even determine if they will get close to reaching that potential. Then we have guys who are a cut below those types of players in Backes, Oshie, Steen, and Berglund.

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04-14-2013, 05:50 PM
  #389
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I know you have. And you're right (as is Hitch).

I just find it impossible to talk about the production woes of a rookie when your veterans are coughing up pucks up and down the ice/not producing. That's really the only point I was trying to make.
Alright, maybe I just misunderstood your original point and my bad on that.

I think we can all agree that every single one of our top 9 players needs to elevate their game offensively. Not a single one of them are doing what it takes on a consistent basis.

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04-14-2013, 06:20 PM
  #390
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Alright, maybe I just misunderstood your original point and my bad on that.

I think we can all agree that every single one of our top 9 players needs to elevate their game offensively. Not a single one of them are doing what it takes on a consistent basis.
Absolutely.

We got our 2011-2012 D and goaltending back......the only problem was that it came with our 2011-2012 offense tagging along behind.

I think the main thing that stuck out to me was our total lack of determination to go to the net with the puck in the offensive zone. Especially after the first period. Everything was to the outside. No one was willing to pay the price to make a play in the offensive zone.

Hitch has said all along this season that we need to find, "The next gear." He isn't kidding. You look at the Chicago/LA's of this league, and they are playing at that level. We -might- have that ability, but we have yet to see it on a consistent basis. It is pretty depressing, because on paper our team looks really solid. When the game starts though, we just don't have the will to make it happen.

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04-14-2013, 06:33 PM
  #391
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Another question:

Why did we go away from the drop pass/pick play on our PP offensive zone entries? That play is -super- effective (b/c imo it's borderline illegal) and pretty much every team that utilizes it gets into the offensive zone without a problem. O-zone entries have been our bane over the last 10-12 games or so, when we completely went away from using that pick play.

Anyone know why we stopped using it?

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04-14-2013, 06:36 PM
  #392
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It was an exciting game, but like everyone is posting about, we are lacking when it comes to offense. I haven't read through the whole thread just saying how I feel about it after watching the game. Our defense is fine, I'm not worried about that, which is great considering we are a defensive team. But I do think we are one or possibly two pieces away to having a consistently productive offense. Maybe, maybe not.

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04-14-2013, 06:50 PM
  #393
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Originally Posted by BadgersandBlues View Post
Another question:

Why did we go away from the drop pass/pick play on our PP offensive zone entries? That play is -super- effective (b/c imo it's borderline illegal) and pretty much every team that utilizes it gets into the offensive zone without a problem. O-zone entries have been our bane over the last 10-12 games or so, when we completely went away from using that pick play.

Anyone know why we stopped using it?
It looks to me like defending PKs are focusing more on applying early pressure to the puck carrier and to taking away the middle of the ice through the neutral zone. The net result is that the breakout is routinely being forced to go outside.

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04-14-2013, 07:23 PM
  #394
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One thing is for sure. Armstrong, who recently said he was really able to get a good evaluation on guys this year, has some work to do on the forwards. I don't want to see this same setup next year.

The draft isn't going to be anywhere near as interesting for the prospects as it will be for the trades. And I expect Armstrong to make some.

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04-14-2013, 07:50 PM
  #395
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Don't get me wrong, I'm not ragging on Bouwmeester, but the first couple of games with us he had fire and you always knew when he was on the ice. He'd be taking the puck from our zone and charging their net by himself. The last few games it seems he's been almost invisible compared to what he was showing. I'm not saying that's why we've been losing, just an observation.

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04-14-2013, 08:18 PM
  #396
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I'm not going to really evaluate Bouwmeester until he hits the playoffs. Armstrong made a fairly sizeable bet financially and organizationally (1st round picks ARE valuable to budget teams) that this was the big missing piece on D. It's only fair we give him the adjustment games with the team and then see how things gel (or not) in the playoffs.

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04-14-2013, 08:42 PM
  #397
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I've got no problem with JBo, I like having him on the team and think he's a good player, I was just wondering where that energy went.

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04-14-2013, 08:54 PM
  #398
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Here's what I'd do. I'd keep the 4th line intact and say you boys keep up what you're doing. On Tuesday, Jaskin goes in, McDonald sits. Oshie comes back, someone else sits (Perron, Stewart, Berglund, Schwartz, Tarasenko). But it's musical chairs. Those guys remaining in the lineup don't produce, McDonald comes right back in, someone new goes out. Just keep rotating, let Jaskin get a few games in a row, let Oshie work himself back in. I wouldn't remove Sobotka or Backes. Backes needs to be more productive offensively but he's still a physical force every game, and seems to have really upped that element the past few weeks. That's at least an important impact on the game he's having so I'd leave him in. Basically it's like who wants to win a spot in the lineup for the playoffs on this team? Ok, prove it and score (without being defensively irresponsible).

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04-14-2013, 09:11 PM
  #399
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Originally Posted by Celtic Note View Post
It seems like you are saying one thing, yet providing thoughts for another argument.

We have many above average players, so I disagree that we have mediocre talent. Our team is one of the deepest in the entire league.

I do however agree that we lack top end offensive talent. We have no Kane, Toews, or Hossa type catalysts. We have two guys with the raw talent to be those kinds of players, but lack the hockey sense, vision, and consistency to reach those levels (Perron & Stewart). We also have two players with the potential to get close to those levels (Schwartz and Tarasenko), but they are a ways off before we can even determine if they will get close to reaching that potential. Then we have guys who are a cut below those types of players in Backes, Oshie, Steen, and Berglund.
That comment was in response to the Hitchcock criticism. The Blues do not have a systemic issue when it comes to generating offense. They have a talent issue. Armstrong hired Hitchcock because by early 2011 he knew the makeup of the drafted forwards that pre-dated him was never going to be an elite offensive mix. The days of Larry Pleau insisting Berglund was going to be a point per game player had passed. So he rightfully felt a coach like Hitch was the guy who could get the best out of a group of low offensive ceiling but deep and solid enough two-way forwards. There is a reason the Blues are playing the way they are.

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04-14-2013, 09:32 PM
  #400
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Here's what I'd do. I'd keep the 4th line intact and say you boys keep up what you're doing. On Tuesday, Jaskin goes in, McDonald sits. Oshie comes back, someone else sits (Perron, Stewart, Berglund, Schwartz, Tarasenko). But it's musical chairs. Those guys remaining in the lineup don't produce, McDonald comes right back in, someone new goes out. Just keep rotating, let Jaskin get a few games in a row, let Oshie work himself back in. I wouldn't remove Sobotka or Backes. Backes needs to be more productive offensively but he's still a physical force every game, and seems to have really upped that element the past few weeks. That's at least an important impact on the game he's having so I'd leave him in. Basically it's like who wants to win a spot in the lineup for the playoffs on this team? Ok, prove it and score (without being defensively irresponsible).
Can't say I disagree with much here. Would definitely keep Porter, Cracknell, Sobotka, Backes, and the one name I would add is Steen. The first three names are performing the way they are supposed to and while the latter aren't up to their offensive standards, they are

Patrick Berglund is an interesting case. He's had the comfort of knowing there really isn't another top 6 center that can pass him up, but someone brought it up the other day about trying Oshie at center which isn't something we've really tried. Berglund is the forward I think could use a wake-up call the most.

Little tough to make the lines but maybe something like:

Schwartz-Backes-Stewart
Perron-Oshie-Tarasenko
McDonald-Steen-Jaskin
Porter-Sobotka-Cracknell

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