Thoughts Following Four Preseason Games
Already the Blues have completed four preseason contests (In which they are 2-1-1), and with the season just around the corner (11 days away) here are some thoughts and things to know heading into the year. A plus beside the bullet point is a positive note from the preseason while a minus obviously is a negative note.
- (-)Are our prospects/youngsters cursed with injuries? We all know what happened to Erik Johnson last year, and already this year Lars Eller came down with mono limiting his participation in training camp and now Aaron Palushaj receives a nasty cut on his foot. Appears it could have been much worse, but chalk this one up under the fluke injury category right alongside EJ's golf cart mishap.
- (+)Derek Armstrong is making one hell of a case to make the team. Aside from his willingness to drop the gloves, he has put up a solid two goals and two assists in three games played to lead the team in preseason scoring thus far.
- (+)Paul Kariya has two goals in two games played - what all us fans were hoping to see when he made his return.
- (+)In two games, Ty Conklin has looked outstanding in net, posting a 1.78 GAA and an incredible save percentage of .947. Granted it is preseason and the numbers are from just two games, but that sort of reliability in your #2 guy sure is a nice thing to have.
- (+)Erik Johnson lit the lamp the other night and so far has shown no signs of any lingering effects of his injury (knock on wood).
- (-)D.J. King has yet more injury issues. While this time it is his thumb and not his shoulder, one has to wonder what logic there is in having a fighter/enforcer that is plagued with injuries.
- (+)Cam Janssen is also making a strong push to make the team. Not only is Janssen laying out opponents and fighting anyone who makes a run at one of our guys (34 PIMs in three games according to NHL.com), Janssen has clearly improved his hockey skills such as skating and passing. Through four games, he looks to be a solid bet to make the team, especially with King and his injury woes.
- (+)Darryl Sydor looks like he can still hold his own on the ice, making the decision of who will make the roster that much more complicated. His veteran experience/leadership is a big plus on a team mostly filled with youngsters. Having too many d-men is a problem I do not mind having.
The Blues reduced their roster to 40 men on Sunday. While there were no surprises, there are some names worth pointing out. Lars Eller, who is still recovering from mono, was assigned to Peoria along with Bryce Lampman and Brett Sonne. Goaltender Jake Allen, who had a pretty shaky training camp and preseason, was assigned to his junior team.
So there you have it, a few thoughts to ponder following the team's first four exhibition contests. Two wins, a loss in regulation and a loss in OT. Can't wait to see how the rest of the preseason pans out, as well as who will win a spot on the NHL roster. With the regular season just 10 days away (The Blues kick the year off in 11 days) things are going to be figured out at a frantic pace, and you can be sure it will all be covered right here.