Shattenkirk, Porter and Conklin Head Home
Team USA was eliminated today from the World Championships following a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of the Czech Republic. As a result, three representatives (Kevin Shattenkirk, Chris Porter and Ty Conklin) from the St. Louis Blues have had their time in Slovakia come to an end and are now on their way back home. It's a disappointing finish for Team USA as they barely put up an effort in their final game in Slovakia, but we can take away at least one major positive - Kevin Shattenkirk's performance. Shattenkirk didn't put on the best of displays during the tournament but you really can't be too upset with his final line now that his tournament is over. Through the course of seven games, Shattenkirk finished with one goal, two assists and an even plus/minus rating. This rating was on the positive side of the line prior to the team's 4-0 defeat that ultimately ended their tournament run. The experience this young blueliner is accumulating already in his early career is truly impressive, and gives plenty of hope that the bar still is yet to be set for him. That leaves us with Chris Porter and Ty Conklin. Both of these men are looking for new contracts heading into the 2011-12 season. Both of these men are also coming off a pretty mediocre 2010-11 season. In all likelihood, the two hoped to play strong hockey in the World Championships in the hopes it might elevate any sort of contract offer they receive. Unfortunately, the end result wasn't too positive for Porter and Conklin. Porter ended up skating in seven games for Team USA, compiling one assist, a (-4) rating and two penalty minutes. As we saw numerous times throughout the season, Porter often drifted through plays and even games, failing to make himself known out on the ice. There were several instance in 2010-11 where I recall looking up the box score following a game just to see if Porter had even skated that night as I couldn't recall him being involved in any of the game's major plays. Conklin ... oh Conklin. Coming off a season that the normally reliable backup would like to pretend never happend, Conklin came out and was disappointing again, this time at the international level. Conks ended the tournament with a 1-3 record, 3.89 GAA and a .891 save percentage through four games. Goaltenders should really be given the benefit of the doubt in these circumstances as the deck really isn't stacked in their favor. They have to face loaded offenses while their defensive unit has not had the luxury of skating together as a group prior to the tournament. The result tends to lend itself to some higher scoring games and can be an explanation for Conklin's bloated GAA. Still, the fact remains that he really didn't stand too tall for his country but one would imagine overall expectations for him weren't that big to begin with. Now the trio heads home and begins to prepare for the season that lies ahead. Shattenkirk will look to prepare for his first full season as a member of the St. Louis Blues while Porter and Conklin await to see which team they will play for in 2011-12.