Five points on the Blues, some MLB notes, and some urgent, breaking news.
- It’s interesting to hear Ken Hitchcock talk about 20-year old Jaden Schwartz. Where he fits on a deep offensive roster is still to be determined, but he showed flashes last season scoring 2 goals (1 PP) in seven games.
- Speaking of the PP, who will fill Jason Arnott’s (photo above) void? He scored 6 PP goals last season, and 17 goals overall. At 6’5, 220 pounds, Arnott had a big, physical presence on the ice. He stood out, and hopefully the next man can step up.
- Hitch thought the team was sluggish for the second part of Monday’s practice. He said they “lost energy” in the second half, in part because they began implementing special team’s work. Tomorrow’s scrimmage will test the players’ endurance.
- Is it plausible to expect the goaltending dominance to repeat in 2013? Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott combined for the fewest goals allowed in the NHL (165), capturing their first William Jennings Trophy. The duo combined for a League-high 15 shutouts, tying a modern NHL record set by the Chicago Blackhawks in 1969-70. Halak posted a 1.97 goals-against average with a .926 save percentage. Elliott led the NHL with a 1.56 goals-against average and .940 save percentage.
- Are the Blues too thin defensively? The easy answer is yes, because most, if not all, NHL teams are. A lot has to do with how Kevin Shattenkirk progresses in his 3rd year. Shattenkirk had long droughts of point-free games last season, and the Blues rely on him and Alex Pietrangelo on the power play. Between Barrett Jackman, Roman Polak, Kris Russell and Ian Cole, the Blues’ starting six are capable, but their depth is questionable. Taylor Chorney and Jeff Woywitka are the fallback options.
NL CENTRAL NEWS
The Pirates resigned RHP Jeff Karstens to a one-year, $2.5 million contract. Karstens owns a 4.44 career ERA, and a history of injuries. He’s 2-2 with a 3.66 ERA in nine games against St. Louis.
The Cincinnati Reds agreed to a minor league deal with Cesar Izturis. Izturis, a former Cardinal and Milwaukee Brewer, will compete for a utility role this spring.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Joe Strauss ripped the Cardinals for their passive offseason this week. The big headliners were Randy Choate and Ty Wigginton. While its fair to say they have been inactive, what exactly is appealing on the bleak free agent list? The Cardinals were expected to have a rather quiet offseason with so many pieces in place. They are, however, gambling with Rafael Furcal’s pesky elbow.
A reminder that the annual Winter Warm Up is January 19-21 at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis. If you’re really interested in hanging in line with Baseball’s Best Fans garnering signatures shoot me a message. Suggestion: stay away.
OTHER MLB NEWS
What happened to the once five-tool, center fielder of the future, Colby Rasmus? Actually, whose fault is it now? Tony La Russa is long gone, the “pressure” is off in Toronto, and he got 625 plate appearances last season.
Since the trade to Toronto, Rasmus is hitting just .213 with a .657 ops.
Rasmus avoided arbitration Monday signing a one-year, $4.675 million deal to stay with the Blue Jays. He did hit 23 home runs in 2012, and at age 26, a strong 2013 season could bring a lucrative multi-year deal.
But Colby is nowhere near the level he was touted, and might see his playing time shared with Rajai Davis this season.
Finally, the shocking news of 2013:
Lance Armstrong confessed to Oprah Winfrey during an interview Monday that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France.
Oprah will appear tomorrow on “CBS This Morning”.
I think he’s lying.