10 Quick Hits
1) The Blues enter the 48-game season with a few advantages over other clubs as the January 19th date quickly approaches.
- Goaltending duo. When the NHL releases the 48-game schedule, it will certainly consist of back-to-back games, and likely three-or-four games a week in some cases. That is a lot of hockey in a short span…especially in the Western Conference where the travel is so arduous. Imagine a west coast trip playing four games in a seven-day span…The Blues have the luxury of two rock solid goaltenders in Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott. Obviously this is assuming both build off their strong 2011 campaigns.
- Continuity factor. These guys know each other very well. Most of them grew through the Blues’ organization, and the only “new” player is Vladimir Tarasenko. The chemistry is already established so training camp won’t be spent meeting and greeting.
- Youthful vigor. We can debate veteran presence and leadership on the ice, but when a team is playing back-to-back or four times a week, I’ll take the energy and bounce-back.
2) The Blues re-signed forward Chris Stewart to a 1-year, $3 million deal this off-season. Stewart had a disappointing 2011 campaign scoring just 15 goals after flourishing in 23 games with the team the season before. Stewart can be a difference maker considering his size and scoring ability. Coach Ken Hitchcock is extremely impressed with what he sees so far:
4) Along with Martz, two wild card coaching candidates are Jim Haslett and Hue Jackson. Haslett had a .500 record or better in four of his six seasons with New Orleans, and his final year in 2005 the team went 3-13 battling the horrific Hurricane Katrina aftermath. Jackson, fired after an 8-8 season in 2010 with Oakland, helped the Raiders offense finish 6th in the NFL in scoring and 10th in total offense. Jackson went undefeated in the AFC West.
5) Do NOT forget about the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference if Derrick Rose returns (as expected) from his torn ACL he suffered in last year’s playoffs.
6) Saint Louis (11-3) opens Atlantic 10 Conference play Thursday when UMass (10-3) visits Chaifetz Arena. The Billikens have won eight in a row and lead the A-10 in scoring defense, yielding 55.0 ppg. Saint Louis leads the all-time series 7-4.
7) The Rams should immediately sign running back Chris Rainey, who was waived today hours after police arrested him for slapping his girlfriend. Rainey, a 5th round draft pick in 2012, had some off-field issues at the University of Florida prompting Urban Meyer to suspend him before reinstating him later that year. Sound Familiar? (Janoris Jenkins)
8) “42,” the Jackie Robinson biopic coming out in April, has a new trailer:
9) These Jeff Green dunks are remarkable. Great story, but they still lost the Kendrick Perkins trade.
10) The Hall of Fame goose egg has bombarded talk shows and cable TV. I’m still collecting my thoughts, but in the meantime, read Bernie Miklasz’s article regarding the voters. I think he makes a great point about simply not caring anymore. It’s a shame, but realistic. I also realize these players have 15-years of eligibility, and we all might need to calm down.
Thanks for reading. Keep Grindin.