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Old
12-16-2013, 01:08 AM
  #1
Sundowner1646
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Blues/Kings

Has anything occurred this year, that hasn't happened the previous two years, to put the Notes in a better position to overtake a team like the Kings come April or with the new playoff format, come May?

I went to the game at the Staples Center earlier this month and it had the same energy of the postseason games of the past 2 years. The Blues simply looked intimidated, unconfident, and out of sorts on the Staples Center ice. I wonder how much of a psychological factor is at play when these two teams meet up. If I got beat up in the same alley 7 times in row, I'd probably expect bad things to happen whenever I strolled through that particular alley. How can the Blues overcome that?

Looking at the differences from the past teams, the only noticeable change I see is Schwartz and Tarasenko are becoming more seasoned and confident and those are positive changes but I don't see a significant enough improvement to convince me that we can hang with the Kings in a 7 game series. Elliott and Halak both have their moments at times, but can they outplay a healthy Jonathan Quick? Do the Blues have a superstar that can answer to a Jeff Carter or a Anze Kopitar?

I really hope the boys figure out how to get an injection of confidence against this team this year. Would hate to see another good regular season squandered once we get into a series with LA.

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12-16-2013, 01:56 AM
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Lester Averman said it best:

"They're bigger! They're stronger! They're faster! They've got more facial hair!"

In all seriousness though, I doubt that it's purely mental. Our coaching needs to make some serious adjustments to our gameplan against them, and we probably should consider making a few moves/tinkering with the roster to put together a team that can hang with them.

As of now, we have no answer for Jeff Carter, Jonathan Quick (or their goaltending in general), the sheer size of their d-corps (and by extension their entire team and their forecheck), their coaching staff...you name it, they've got us beat.

I've got zero confidence in Hitch or this team as it stands now to do what needs to be done to overcome this giant.


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12-16-2013, 02:22 AM
  #3
rumrokh
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Kings are going to have to beat the Sharks and/or Ducks and the Blues are going to have to beat the Hawks. The Blues and Kings won't meet until the third round, so there's a lot more to worry about just in the playoffs before this concern is worth much.

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12-16-2013, 02:24 AM
  #4
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Not very likely the Blues will face LAK again unless its in the WCF. If they can beat Chicago in a 7 game series, then I think the Blues will have a decent enough chance vs LAK.

Frankly, they outplayed (or at worst played evenly) vs the Kings in last season's series in my opinion. Its not such a stretch they can build on that. I'd want home ice, though.....and would like to see them win a couple games in the regular season to demonstrate they aren't psyched out.

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12-16-2013, 02:47 AM
  #5
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Let's not pretend the Kings scoring is lights out either, they're still a team that can struggle to produce offense for stretches. The Blues defense is much deeper and has more experience playing together and being coached properly, this time around. If our power play can stay legitimately effective going into the playoffs then we finally have a tool to put away the games we should have won and make a real series out of it. Are we ever going to look better on paper? No, we didn't have the money or prospects to throw around to pull in the big names. If Steen can stay on pace with Carter then what difference does it make what happened in the past. If Backes can shut down Kopitar while keeping his offensive pace then maybe they don't have a huge edge over us in centers and we just have to worry about Richards and Williams scoring depth out performing ours. (in the case of Stewart and Berglund that's a nightmare, but with Schwartz and Tarasenko really coming on strong it's a wash)

What's really gonna tilt things are those outliers like Penner going on fire when it counts, if we can pull something like that out of our ass with Morrow or Sobotka we can steal games from just about any team.

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12-16-2013, 03:30 AM
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rumrokh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteenMachine View Post
Let's not pretend the Kings scoring is lights out either, they're still a team that can struggle to produce offense for stretches. The Blues defense is much deeper and has more experience playing together and being coached properly, this time around. If our power play can stay legitimately effective going into the playoffs then we finally have a tool to put away the games we should have won and make a real series out of it. Are we ever going to look better on paper? No, we didn't have the money or prospects to throw around to pull in the big names. If Steen can stay on pace with Carter then what difference does it make what happened in the past. If Backes can shut down Kopitar while keeping his offensive pace then maybe they don't have a huge edge over us in centers and we just have to worry about Richards and Williams scoring depth out performing ours. (in the case of Stewart and Berglund that's a nightmare, but with Schwartz and Tarasenko really coming on strong it's a wash)

What's really gonna tilt things are those outliers like Penner going on fire when it counts, if we can pull something like that out of our ass with Morrow or Sobotka we can steal games from just about any team.
Your last point is entirely cogent regardless of the names because LA depth players like King, Nolan, and Toffoli seem to play well against the Blues; but I just want to point out that Penner plays for Anaheim now. Even if those other guys play well, they don't have a take-over-gear that Penner does.

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12-16-2013, 03:39 AM
  #7
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Unfortunately we will have to beat the Hawks, who are the Kings' kryptonite. It'd be nice if we could have the Hawks take them out first and then we take out Chicago, but I digress.

Frankly I don't even know what the solution is. I do think a lot of it is mental though. We honestly did look good against them in the playoffs and I thought we were better. It's extremely disheartening to lose the way we did - mostly by missing open nets and failing to convert on huge scoring chances. Luck seems to be on LA's side when the two teams meet (see Penner's buzzer beater).

So I thought that series was still overall a positive due to our overall play, but then the last game against LA we went back to square one and looked completely lost again.

I think we have the personnel to beat them, it's just a matter of if they are up for the challenge. All of our guys HAVE to go to the dirty areas, pay the price, and give it right back to them. Unfortunately it seems a lot of times against LA we aren't willing to do that. We have guys up front that we know WILL go to the net though, they just have to do it consistently. Hit them right back. I think getting another mean, nasty d-man would certainly help against the Kings, but I don't expect them to happen since we have a talented blueline.

I think this team just has to get confidence and man up in these games. We aren't used to teams playing a "man's game" better than us and LA does. If we can get just one win in LA I think that could open things up for more success. Until then, I can't imagine this team looks forward to ever playing there.

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12-16-2013, 06:19 AM
  #8
JustOneB4IDie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by illninofan View Post
Lester Averman said it best:

"They're bigger! They're stronger! They're faster! They've got more facial hair!"

In all seriousness though, I doubt that it's purely mental. Our coaching needs to make some serious adjustments to our gameplan against them, and we probably should consider making a few moves/tinkering with the roster to put together a team that can hang with them.

As of now, we have no answer for Jeff Carter, Jonathan Quick (or their goaltending in general), the sheer size of their d-corps (and by extension their entire team and their forecheck), their coaching staff...you name it, they've got us beat.

I've got zero confidence in Hitch or this team as it stands now to do what needs to be done to overcome this giant.
Spot on.

Blues need to pull off a Jeff Carter like trade that the Kings did a couple of years ago, that would be nice.

Kings are the Blues Kryptonite for sure but like others have said we wouldn't see the Kings until the conference finals anyways and the Sharks and Ducks are no slouches either.

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12-16-2013, 06:53 AM
  #9
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I will say, the silver lining is we only need a little internal shuffling and maybe three, probably four outside acquisitions (tops) to be able to stand a real chance at beating them. Right now, the best we can hope for is what we had last season...playing even with them and hopefully beating them.

Anyway, a short list of what I think we need to beat them specifically:

-A better version of the CPR line To be honest, I think we already posses this, but I wouldn't limit it to just a 4th line either. The third line should still be able to score (because if I've learned anything from past playoff failures, it's that having two scoring lines isn't the way to go) but shouldn't be counted on for it. In general, our entire bottom six should be big, physical or some combination of both.

-One or two crease clearing d-men. I understand this team's philosophy when it comes to defense. We pretty much live or die by being mobile and having a strong transitional game dependent on the other team making mistakes. However, as proven time and time again when we play teams like the Kings and Sharks, what if the other team doesn't make mistakes? What if the other teams manage to push us back? It's times like this I still wish we had Chris Pronger.

Goaltending. Massive debate amongst our fanbase about this subject in general. Some believe that we absolutely need to get a Ryan Miller. Others believe that a healthy Halak would make a difference this year. Personally, I'm on the fence, and I'll explain why later.

Legit top-line/second line talent I think the Steen-Backes-Oshie line is one of the best in the league and I'd feel confident going into battle with them against the King-Kopitar-Carter line (especially this season), but if they stop scoring, who's there to pick up the slack? We've spoken before about the need for a "Jeff Carter" type sniper...and I'm going to go out on a limb and say that we've already got that guy, and his name is Vladimir Tarasenko...at least potentially. This is where a top-tier, play-making centerman between Schwartz and Tarasenko would be a welcome addition and, probably this alone would put us over the top.

Overall, if I were to choose ONE from the above mentioned things we need, it would be the latter.

I'd pray to the heavens above that a healthy Halak would in fact give us the goaltending we'd need (he wouldn't need to steal a series if we're scoring more and I will say, that if we had more scoring last season, we probably win that series), that we execute our gameplan on the backend (defense), and that we'd already have the right combination of size and grit for the third and fourth lines.


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Old
12-16-2013, 07:22 AM
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by illninofan View Post
Lester Averman said it best:

"They're bigger! They're stronger! They're faster! They've got more facial hair!"

In all seriousness though, I doubt that it's purely mental. Our coaching needs to make some serious adjustments to our gameplan against them, and we probably should consider making a few moves/tinkering with the roster to put together a team that can hang with them.

As of now, we have no answer for Jeff Carter, Jonathan Quick (or their goaltending in general), the sheer size of their d-corps (and by extension their entire team and their forecheck), their coaching staff...you name it, they've got us beat.

I've got zero confidence in Hitch or this team as it stands now to do what needs to be done to overcome this giant.
I like what you say, but I don't think I entirely agree.

I am of the opinion that the biggest problem isn't a man-for-man matchup, but it is a strategic hole in our system. Hitch has shown repeatedly that he has no answer for LA. Despite what Hitch says in his postgame press conferences, it is not a problem of execution. The Blues execute Hitch's system as best they can against LA. Sutter and the Kings have found a way to shut the Blues down and Hitch simply can't respond. I think Hitch is a good, maybe even great coach, but given the way the same teams continue to give us fits, I have to wonder if Hitch is being honest with himself about where the problem really is.

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12-16-2013, 07:38 AM
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superblues View Post
I like what you say, but I don't think I entirely agree.

I am of the opinion that the biggest problem isn't a man-for-man matchup, but it is a strategic hole in our system. Hitch has shown repeatedly that he has no answer for LA. Despite what Hitch says in his postgame press conferences, it is not a problem of execution. The Blues execute Hitch's system as best they can against LA. Sutter and the Kings have found a way to shut the Blues down and Hitch simply can't respond. I think Hitch is a good, maybe even great coach, but given the way the same teams continue to give us fits, I have to wonder if Hitch is being honest with himself about where the problem really is.
I think we're debating two sides of the same coin.

Yes, there is definitely a coaching/strategy issue here. It's documented and fairly obvious to everyone involved except maybe the coach himself. However, and it doesn't matter what sport you're talking about, in order for a strategy to come to pass, you need the proper personnel to run it. So this is where I think it may also be a man-to-man/"we don't have the players we need to beat them" problem.

In both areas, as we stand now, we fall just short.

By the way, this is one of my favorite recent subjects as it pertains to Blues hockey.


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12-16-2013, 12:52 PM
  #12
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I like what you say, but I don't think I entirely agree.

I am of the opinion that the biggest problem isn't a man-for-man matchup, but it is a strategic hole in our system. Hitch has shown repeatedly that he has no answer for LA. Despite what Hitch says in his postgame press conferences, it is not a problem of execution. The Blues execute Hitch's system as best they can against LA. Sutter and the Kings have found a way to shut the Blues down and Hitch simply can't respond. I think Hitch is a good, maybe even great coach, but given the way the same teams continue to give us fits, I have to wonder if Hitch is being honest with himself about where the problem really is.
I don't agree with this. The Kings play a style that forces teams to earn their ice. When I watch us play the Kings, I feel that there are FAR too many players unwilling to pay the price to get into the areas that we need to be in to have success. Especially Berglund and Stewart. Way too often our team tries to go around the Kings, when we need to be fighting -though- the Kings.

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12-16-2013, 01:15 PM
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rumrokh
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Originally Posted by BadgersandBlues View Post
I don't agree with this. The Kings play a style that forces teams to earn their ice. When I watch us play the Kings, I feel that there are FAR too many players unwilling to pay the price to get into the areas that we need to be in to have success. Especially Berglund and Stewart. Way too often our team tries to go around the Kings, when we need to be fighting -though- the Kings.
Teams like the Sharks and Hawks handle the Kings by simply executing and not falling into that game of trying to one-up them physically. The Blues tend to react to the Kings instead of playing their own game well enough to make the Kings react to them. In last year's playoffs, everyone paid the price to get into the right areas, they just repeatedly failed to execute. Part of that is that they get intimidated a bit, but trying to out-muscle and/or intimidate them back is a shallow reaction that hasn't worked.

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12-16-2013, 02:46 PM
  #14
DeuceNine
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Ryan Miller and Claude Giroux = plan your parade festivities.

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12-16-2013, 03:35 PM
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Did I miss the memo, The Blues are in the 3rd round?

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12-16-2013, 05:21 PM
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BadgersandBlues View Post
I don't agree with this. The Kings play a style that forces teams to earn their ice. When I watch us play the Kings, I feel that there are FAR too many players unwilling to pay the price to get into the areas that we need to be in to have success. Especially Berglund and Stewart. Way too often our team tries to go around the Kings, when we need to be fighting -though- the Kings.
I will disagree with you on pointing out Berglund and Stewart with Oshie and Backes. Oshie was even demoted to a lower line. He didn't want any part of the hitting and it showed. He disappeared. He did score twice, but he also was on the ice for several more goals than they scored and turned over the puck. Backes let his emotions get the best of him, just as he does now when they are down. I still think Backes was hurt. Tank was a fish out of water. Stewart was snakebitten and Berglund really in his defense didn't play that bad. Schwartz, Perron, and Steen played well. As for the perimeter, rewatch the games not the highlights. Two first liners left us. I'm not giving up hope for them, but I hope they learned their lesson.

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