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Game #37: St. Louis Blues vs. Nashville Predators

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Old
12-30-2011, 10:24 PM
  #151
EastonBlues22
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It's a crappy feeling loss (ALL shootout losses are, for that matter), but I'm not reading much into it beyond that. Blues have generally carried the play against Nashville this year and, with no shootouts in the playoffs, I'm not too afraid of meeting up with them there.

Beyond that, every team has styles that they struggle a bit more against. Dallas, Colorado, and Nashville all play a physical game with hyper-aggressive forechecks that lead to more wide-open games than the Blues would ideally like to play. The Blues aren't being "outplayed" by those teams (often they're carrying the play anyway), but taking the Blues out of their comfort zones does tend to level the playing field a bit in terms of results. The flip side is that the Blues do the exact same thing to other teams who "should beat us" due to the Blues structure, physicality, or whatever.

Ideally, a team wants to dictate how the game is played against every opponent. Obviously, that's not going to happen...and when it doesn't, they need to find a way to hang in there and be competitive anyway. Tonight (and pretty much every night but one since Hitchcock has taken over) the Blues played a competitive game that they easily could have ended up winning. That hasn't been the case in quite some time with this franchise, and it's a very optimistic sign. Anyway, it sucks to lose, but they managed to get a point in the process. No time to beat themselves up...all that matters right now is tomorrow night's game.


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12-30-2011, 10:25 PM
  #152
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“@jprutherford: The Blues were 0 for 5 in shootout attempts tonight, dropping them to 1 for 17 this season. #stlblues”

Really sums up the offensive capabilities of the entire team so far this season.

Is there even a way to teach "just score a ****ing goal"

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12-30-2011, 10:32 PM
  #153
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Shootouts are stupid. That's all I feel like saying.

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12-30-2011, 10:32 PM
  #154
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Originally Posted by PocketNines View Post
There was something about that loss tonight that made it the most frustrating loss of the season for me personally. There have been other frustrating losses and I'm not even talking about the shootout. When we get to the shootout it's a guaranteed L.

I think it's so frustrating because it's like the script is pre-written and you can see it unfold all night. I am so ready to move on from Patrik Berglund. Done. Over. That guy is never going to be anything more than a guy who shields defenders from the puck and faces the wall, but as soon as he tries to turn his body around it's like turning around a battleship and he either can't get in a shooting position before he loses the puck or he never even turns around at all. When every once in awhile he gets a shot he can't put it on net. Honestly, Evgeny Grachev spins and powers to the net better. I'll admit I'm ranting out of frustration but my god Berglund is so ridiculously far from being an impact player. For the love of god, Berglund, you're 6'4". Are you better than the guy defending you? If so, turn the **** around and drive to the net like David Backes. Just look your defender in the eye and be better than him one on one. Great, you can shield the puck and extend a cycle. Congratulations. You're totally ordinary. There is a reason the guy is on pace for points in the mid 30s – because he looks every bit like a mid 30s player this year. Nearly half a season gone by and our 2d line center has 16 points.

I cannot believe any of you gave me any grief for suggesting Berglund and Stewart for Ryan.

/rant
I don't get why he isn't improving either. Shouldn't practicing and playing with Backes be helping him to play more like him? What's the deal? Why isn't he getting it?

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12-30-2011, 10:55 PM
  #155
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No, I completely agree. Berglund I think is a big reason we didn't win tonight and the main reason Stewart hasn't been playing as well. Stewart and Bergie lost chemistry after the pre season, and his lack of stellar play has prevented Stewart from pounding it in. I mean, look how much more productive stewart is when he played with Backes and Steen. I think Berglund, Crombeen, and Coliacovo should be packed and shipped at the trade deadline for a rental player. (Jarome Iginla I wish)
Thats a hell of a lot to put on one player's shoulders. Especially when Stewart has not been able to convert on chances created by Berglund.


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I cannot believe any of you gave me any grief for suggesting Berglund and Stewart for Ryan.
I still wouldn't make that trade because we are with out a capable #2 center. A move like that cannot be made unless there is a replacement coming.

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12-30-2011, 10:58 PM
  #156
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Having ranted I will say it's the good kind of rant, the one where you know the team you're watching is actually pretty good and is far better than any edition since the lockout.

It's true, they have carried the play most of the season against Nashville. They have carried the play in ALL FIVE of their shootout losses, I think that is why those are particularly galling. There's never been one of those where you go, eh, well, we were fortunate to get the point. And in a very tight playoff race against a stiffly competitive West you can't squander points. There is a good chance we're looking at the first three loss stretch of the season tomorrow night.

I do like the fact that we have a GM who isn't afraid to act when he sees team flaws. There's no way he can't be looking at the same thing with Berglund and I think if he targets a center in trade Berglund is almost automatically gone for that piece (along with other stuff).

Stewart, who I've dogged as much as other critics, seemed to pick it up in the 2d and 3d tonight. He played a pretty strong north-south game and skated hard. Still don't like relying on him in the playoffs but if scoring is going to come it's going to come from him way before it comes from Berglund.

Perron had a mostly excellent night. Backes made an impact. Shattenkirk and Pietrangelo are just so important to this team's quality. They are gems. Sobotka has a way of being a pleasant surprise every time. He always seems too little to think he can be that effective and then he just has these shifts where you're so pumped he's on your team. He'd be maddening to play against. That one shift he had before they showed him huffing and puffing on the bench was a classic fan favorite type of shift. Little guy, huge heart.

On the PP, I thought the motto was just shoot and when in doubt shoot some more. That didn't really happen tonight and the results showed. They had so many chances in the final few minutes of the first and throughout the 2d period where they had chaos, Rinne without his stick, defensive scrambling. They just have to capitalize. I will say this. That is precisely the kind of situation that Tarasenko will exploit fully. Those scrambles, the puck is loose, and he finds a way to get there and get a shot off from near the net. The Blues have the cyclers and danglers in Perron and Oshie to create the chaos; Tarasenko is going to clean so much of that mess up. This team needs him badly.

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12-30-2011, 10:59 PM
  #157
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Originally Posted by Celtic Note View Post
Thats a hell of a lot to put on one player's shoulders. Especially when Stewart has not been able to convert on chances created by Berglund.
.


I watched Berglund all night tonight, and he was a nobody out there. Stewart needs a playmaking center with him, and Berglund has admitted himself that he sees himself more as a powerforward. We have plenty of those. I say we trade him.

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12-30-2011, 11:06 PM
  #158
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I still wouldn't make that trade because we are with out a capable #2 center. A move like that cannot be made unless there is a replacement coming.
How would being without a capable #2 center be different from now? Not being facetious. 16 points in half a season is pathetic for a second line center.

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12-30-2011, 11:09 PM
  #159
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How would being without a capable #2 center be different from now? Not being facetious. 16 points in half a season is pathetic for a second line center.
I agree. It's unacceptable of Berglund. He needs to use his body like Malkin does on a night to night basis or how Grachev used his tonight and drive the net where Stewart can pound in the rebounds. Berglund needs to go. Ship him and a draft pick to Calgary for Iginla.

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12-30-2011, 11:15 PM
  #160
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3 Non-stars for the game:

3. Cole
2. Stewart
1. Berglund

Cole - rusty and a rookie, gets a pass
Stewart - setup Berglund with a couple great passes, but he couldn't convert. Other than that, he was lazy as always. The guy barely tries to battle for the puck. It happened over and over tonight. Mano y mano, and at 230 lbs, he barely puts up an effort.
Berglund - several open shots, one wide open net, and he missed the net on 3 great scoring chances. His shootout attempt was pedestrian.

I'd love for the Blues to trade Stewart, if he's not going to put in the required effort to compete at a high level. As for Berglund, he puts in the effort, and plays solid defense, but he's the most frustrating finisher on the team.

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12-30-2011, 11:21 PM
  #161
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Some reasons for optimism because tonight sucked:

About 44% of the way through the season...

Blues are currently tied for third in the league in regulation/OT wins with 21. Vancouver has 23, but has played 2 more games than the Blues. Detroit and Philly both have 22 in the same number of games played as the Blues. Boston has 21 in 1 less games than the Blues, and the Rangers have 21 in 1 less game than the Blues.

Blues are a top 5 team in GA, SA/G, and ES play.

In 24 games under Hitchcock the Blues:
Are 15-4-5
Have scored 2.63 GF/G
Have allowed 1.75 GA/G
Have a +21 goal differential
Have a goal differential rate approximately the same as the second-tier teams in the league in that regard (Vancouver, Detroit, Rangers), with Boston being the sole occupant of the top tier as they're in a class by themselves.
Have had their worst ten game stretch clock in at 6-2-2 (has happened twice).

In their last 10 games the Blues:
Are 6-2-2
Have scored 2.90 GF/G
Have allowed 2.00 GA/G
Have a +9 goal differential

Not too shabby...


Last edited by EastonBlues22: 12-31-2011 at 12:15 AM. Reason: What I wrote simply wasn't true.
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12-30-2011, 11:48 PM
  #162
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I am really excited to see what moves will be made in the near future...

1) Owner? The deadline is coming... has anyone heard any deals or did I miss it all together?

2) Berglund and Stewart mess... something has to move or change. Still need a quality centerman.

3) Lots of FA's coming out after this season.... really curious as to what will happen.

4) Schwartz and Tarasenko move to NHL?

A lot of things are int he air with the blues organization. Still several holes in the game and we lack the snipers who can put that puck in net. We can fight for it... we can dig it out... we can do a lot of neat stuff and decent enough goalies.. a tight defensive game... but we still cannot get points on the board. Tara and Schwartz? I would hate to rely so heavy on the poor rookie kids to pull us to the next level offensively.

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12-30-2011, 11:48 PM
  #163
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With regards to Berglund, it goes without saying that his offense numbers this year has obviously been below par. On the other hand, he's heavily involved in generating offensive chances and has generally played extremely well in all the other facets of the game. Two of the three years before this one he was essentially a 20 goal, 50 point player, which is totally acceptable offense from a second-line center...especially one that's playing as well as he is in other facets of the game. Backes was a 30 point forward in the NHL as well at age 23, and he wasn't nearly as polished in the other facets of his game. That doesn't mean he'll ever become anything like Backes, but he's certainly ahead of that development curve, and I think the types of numbers that Backes is putting up offensively now is definitely within the realm of what Berglund will be hitting in his late 20s.

It's a frustrating stretch, especially since the Blues look like they're rounding into a true contender this year and many fans feel like the time for patience is past, but these things are not uncommon at his age and he has most certainly proven that he has the ability to be the player we need him to be. If they can "accelerate" the competitive development of the team by flipping Berglund for a more advanced center, then I'm sure they'll consider that based on the additional assets that would need to be involved (both competitive, and financial). If not, then my personal opinion is that they should hold onto him and be patient.

At this point, I would move Stewart well before I would consider moving Berglund. His offense production is just as inconsistent and, even though he's flashed a higher offensive ceiling, his overall involvement in the generation of scoring opportunities is a fraction of Berglund's. He's much less involved defensively, physically, and structurally as well. Considering that the Blues have a possible replacement/upgrade waiting in the wings for Stewart in Tarasenko (along with two other strong RW options in Oshie and D'Agostini for their respective roles under team control), but really don't have anything in-house even remotely resembling Berglund, and it becomes a no-brainer IMO.

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12-30-2011, 11:58 PM
  #164
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^ Agree (Easton's post three up), and I think the frustration comes from seeing this team perform at such a high level sometimes you get spoiled. I do think there have been some 5 on 5 lapses as you observed earlier tonight. There have been some less intense shifts and too many odd man rushes against for a team that plays such low scoring games.

They really have to bear down and win these games at home in January. 9 of 11 at home. Teams not super tough either. There are a lot of road games, a lot of back to backs and less rest in the schedule after the break so they cannot fritter anything away in January.

What did you mean by tied with NYR with 6 regulation/OT losses – I tried to follow and maybe it's late but I couldn't see what you meant.

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12-31-2011, 12:12 AM
  #165
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What did you mean by tied with NYR with 6 regulation/OT losses – I tried to follow and maybe it's late but I couldn't see what you meant.
You couldn't follow me because I wasn't talking sensibly. I'll go back and edit the original post.

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12-31-2011, 12:18 AM
  #166
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How would being without a capable #2 center be different from now? Not being facetious. 16 points in half a season is pathetic for a second line center.
This is honestly one of the better posts I've read regarding the situation because it's so true.

Arnott has 20 points. He's been more impressive than Berglund. Sobotka can play center on the 3rd line I suppose.

Honestly, I'm sick of Berglund, and would move him for a goal-scoring winger now if we couldn't get a center in return. I'm tired of waiting for Berglund; he's never going to reach his potential. The guy is just not that good.

Also, for the people who would rather trade Stewart - he has actually proven himself more by scoring back-to-back 28-goal seasons (and would be more if not for injury). Berglund really hasn't proven himself. He's a 40-point player in reality. Ridiculous for a guy with his size and tools.

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12-31-2011, 12:21 AM
  #167
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What I don't get about the shootouts is why these guys skate in like a damn snail, as a goalie, it's much harder to stop a guy whos coming in quick compared to a guy that's just going 1 mph. It makes it a lot easier to go side to side and set up. You don't see them go slow as a turtle during regulation, why should they change it now especially since they can't put the damn puck in the net anyway, try something new!

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12-31-2011, 12:23 AM
  #168
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just watched the highlight-vid and we all know these videos don`t tell the whole story but I`m abit suprised no one here mentions Halak, seems that he had a great game

stopped 34 shots plus a few in the shootout, not bad

so lets say what we always say: at least one point
more important to go back on the winning street tonight

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12-31-2011, 12:35 AM
  #169
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This is honestly one of the better posts I've read regarding the situation because it's so true.

Arnott has 20 points. He's been more impressive than Berglund. Sobotka can play center on the 3rd line I suppose.

Honestly, I'm sick of Berglund, and would move him for a goal-scoring winger now if we couldn't get a center in return. I'm tired of waiting for Berglund; he's never going to reach his potential. The guy is just not that good.

Also, for the people who would rather trade Stewart - he has actually proven himself more by scoring back-to-back 28-goal seasons (and would be more if not for injury). Berglund really hasn't proven himself. He's a 40-point player in reality. Ridiculous for a guy with his size and tools.
Well Easton is right that the organizational pipeline is stocked with winger talent, making Stewart the more expendable. I've been saying repeatedly in trade threads involving the Blues (probably starting to sound like a broken record) that the two specific needs the Blues have are (1) a 22-24 min two-way LD and (2) a 60+ pt center. That's it; they have everything else even in depth. Those are big holes but if they fill them they have a contender. A serious contender.

I'm obviously venting on Berglund as others are tonight, but it's kind of built up over the season. I'd be very happy with Berglund as the #3 center going forward. If he ever gets his game together and becomes an offensive force consistently, great, then the Blues either have three strong centers (like the Penguins) or they make a decision about who to keep and who to move later on. I don't think they necessarily need a PPG #1 center with Backes as the #2, I think with the scoring balance they have someone who can put up 60 points like Backes is perfect, especially if Berglund's going to range between 35-55 points. I don't agree that 45-50 points is ok for a Cup-contending 2d line center.

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12-31-2011, 12:39 AM
  #170
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What I don't get about the shootouts is why these guys skate in like a damn snail, as a goalie, it's much harder to stop a guy whos coming in quick compared to a guy that's just going 1 mph. It makes it a lot easier to go side to side and set up. You don't see them go slow as a turtle during regulation, why should they change it now especially since they can't put the damn puck in the net anyway, try something new!
It is a major problem that they (especially Oshie and Perron) do this slow east-west approach ending in a dekefest. Watching other shootouts it's so obvious that speed makes the attempts far more successful. Speed and a skilled move but definitely speed. The two most skilled shooters from a skilled move standpoint are Oshie and Perron but they use no speed. The others might come in faster but there isn't much finish on this squad.

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12-31-2011, 12:39 AM
  #171
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Well Easton is right that the organizational pipeline is stocked with winger talent, making Stewart the more expendable. I've been saying repeatedly in trade threads involving the Blues (probably starting to sound like a broken record) that the two specific needs the Blues have are (1) a 22-24 min two-way LD and (2) a 60+ pt center. That's it; they have everything else even in depth. Those are big holes but if they fill them they have a contender. A serious contender.

I'm obviously venting on Berglund as others are tonight, but it's kind of built up over the season. I'd be very happy with Berglund as the #3 center going forward. If he ever gets his game together and becomes an offensive force consistently, great, then the Blues either have three strong centers (like the Penguins) or they make a decision about who to keep and who to move later on. I don't think they necessarily need a PPG #1 center with Backes as the #2, I think with the scoring balance they have someone who can put up 60 points like Backes is perfect, especially if Berglund's going to range between 35-55 points. I don't agree that 45-50 points is ok for a Cup-contending 2d line center.
Good point about being stock-piled on the wings (especially right handed shots). After a game like tonight I just covet any type of goal scorer we could get. And like you said, Berglund's been disappointing all year. And in a game like tonight where he missed two glorious scoring chances and then looked pretty bad in the shootout, it's frustrating. The guy isn't offering us anything at all; it's time for a change.

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12-31-2011, 12:53 AM
  #172
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The other thing they could do is move Stewart for the LD and Berglund + for an upgraded 2d line center and now you're set. As long as you can avoid moving Tarasenko, Schwartz for sure and hopefully Rattie and the 1st round pick as well there's a lot that could comprise that +. I would be more than happy moving Crombeen once he gets a few more games under his belt and his health is established. I'm honestly not sure he's one of the top 12 forwards with everyone healthy and his rugged game should make him somewhat attractive as a trade add-on.

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12-31-2011, 12:54 AM
  #173
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This is honestly one of the better posts I've read regarding the situation because it's so true.

Arnott has 20 points. He's been more impressive than Berglund. Sobotka can play center on the 3rd line I suppose.

Honestly, I'm sick of Berglund, and would move him for a goal-scoring winger now if we couldn't get a center in return. I'm tired of waiting for Berglund; he's never going to reach his potential. The guy is just not that good.

Also, for the people who would rather trade Stewart - he has actually proven himself more by scoring back-to-back 28-goal seasons (and would be more if not for injury). Berglund really hasn't proven himself. He's a 40-point player in reality. Ridiculous for a guy with his size and tools.
I agree. Although, if we can move Berglund down to the third line, then thats a really good place to put him. He'd be a sick 3rd line center. Now if only we can get a legit #2 or #1 center aside from Backes. We might need to use Berglund as trade bait which I would be more than happy to do.

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12-31-2011, 01:44 AM
  #174
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I do like the fact that we have a GM who isn't afraid to act when he sees team flaws. There's no way he can't be looking at the same thing with Berglund and I think if he targets a center in trade Berglund is almost automatically gone for that piece (along with other stuff).
I can for sure agree on that front.

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Perron had a mostly excellent night.
While his game was pretty good, he did loose a lot of battles on the boards in the first and second period that usually he comes away with, plus had he won those battles we would have generated more chances. Thats not to bag on Perron, because he is doing great considering his injury, but at the same time he has a ways to go (which is exciting because it will be even more of a boost when he fully arrives).

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Sobotka has a way of being a pleasant surprise every time. He always seems too little to think he can be that effective and then he just has these shifts where you're so pumped he's on your team. He'd be maddening to play against. That one shift he had before they showed him huffing and puffing on the bench was a classic fan favorite type of shift. Little guy, huge heart.
While I agree that he has some fantastic shifts, there seems to be too many times when I keep wondering why he seems so absent. Sobotka is a tough one for me. If he played with the consistency of Steen, Oshie or Backes then he would be an excellent middle six guy, but since he has those lulls I am left wanting more. I guess thats ok for a decent third liner, but I think he could be a great one with that consistency.

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12-31-2011, 01:58 AM
  #175
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While his game was pretty good, he did loose a lot of battles on the boards in the first and second period that usually he comes away with, plus had he won those battles we would have generated more chances. Thats not to bag on Perron, because he is doing great considering his injury, but at the same time he has a ways to go (which is exciting because it will be even more of a boost when he fully arrives).


While I agree that he has some fantastic shifts, there seems to be too many times when I keep wondering why he seems so absent. Sobotka is a tough one for me. If he played with the consistency of Steen, Oshie or Backes then he would be an excellent middle six guy, but since he has those lulls I am left wanting more. I guess thats ok for a decent third liner, but I think he could be a great one with that consistency.
On Perron I am definitely grading him against the curve of his recovery and against the curve of other Blues players generating offense.

With Sobotka there's never been a time where he was at the level of Steen, Oshie or Backes and it would be unfair IMO to compare him to them. I guess since I always think of him as a 3d/4th liner I'm unconsciously grading him against the curve of expectations for that role. When he puts together shifts where he's generating dangerous scoring chances and delivering hits nobody that little has any business delivering it makes me think of Bob Bassen, one of my all time favorite Blues.

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