Daily Grind 2.6

Predators skate on “home” ice. Thoughts on the Rams’ new receiver, and a story about Carpenter. 

Whatever happened Tuesday night at the Scottrade Center was downright embarrassing. The Nashville Predators came into the Blues’ building and somehow put 6 pucks in the net. The Preds played good hockey, but by no means were they gliding around like Gretzky and Messier.

Coming off a demoralizing loss at Detroit, paired with three days off (again), the Blues were flatter than a Steak ‘n Shake patty. Before they could blink, Nashville built a 3-0 lead.

Goalie Brian Elliott did not have a great night, but the defensive effort was forgettable. The team completed zero crisp passes in the first 20 minutes. Pucks were bouncing over sticks, guys had no cohesion, and the physical effort was nonexistent.

The game plan to attack Pekka Rinne high, glove-side failed. They found a hole in the previous contests, but Nashville studies video too. Rinne sealed pucks all night with his glove hand. 

Oh, big deal it’s just one game. Sure is, but it was a doozy. The Blues rank 29th among 30 teams with a save percentage of .870. But this is a team problem — lackadaisical giveaways and lazy dumps are leading to goals.

Thursday I’d like to see this team throw their weight around, skate hard, and find some continuity.

Kudos to David Backes and Barrett Jackman for talking to the media after the game. When things go bad, team leaders stand up and take initiative. This is unheard of in other sports.

New WR

Detroit Lions v Minnesota VikingsThe Rams were the only team in the NFL who wanted Titus Young, so they were awarded the troubled wide receiver.

Young, a former 2nd round draft pick, had pathetically low moments in Detroit. Purposely lining up in the wrong position to make a point, punching a teammate, and venting via twitter to name a few.

If that doesn’t change: adios partner.

However, I’m guessing the culture in the Detroit locker room is similar to how they play on the field. Undisciplined. Jim Schwartz’s ship up North is pretty choppy. Perhaps it affected Young.

Jeff Fisher takes gambles…Pacman Jones, Albert Haynesworth, Janoris Jenkins. But Fisher doesn’t “lose” these gambles, he simply moves on if they don’t work out.

Attaining a receiver like Young brings a ton of potential with very low risk. The 2013 Draft is thin at wideout, and the Rams have two important free agents in Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson.

Brian Quick, Chris Givens, Danny Amendola, and Titus Young? Sounds pretty good to me.

Quick hits on Chris Carpenter

NLCS - St Louis Cardinals v San Francisco Giants - Game TwoCarpenter’s tenacity and mound presence represented the likes of Bob Gibson. The constant lathering of F bombs he directed at opponents (and himself) were humorous at times.

Carpenter was the epitome of business-professional. Baseball is a game, but when Carpenter stepped across the white lines, it became a job. It was his job to give all he had to his teammates, his organization and its fan base. Carpenter might blaze through a two-hour complete game, or he would sweat out three jerseys on a triple digit heat index day at whatever cost.

Carpenter’s assortment of pitches kept hitter’s guessing. His two-seam fastball cut back in on right-hander’s knees. His heavy four-seam fastball would have hitters chasing. He would mix in those jaw-dropping changeups, sweeping sliders, and knee-bending curveballs. That’s what made Chris Carpenter an ace.

When the Cardinals had Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright a top the rotation, things just felt right. Starters 3-5 were important — but the table setters could carry a load unthinkable to most. Unfortunately, the duo traded injuries over the previous two seasons, and the 1-2 punch has been missing. All good things must come to an end.

Carpenter’s void suddenly takes the enormous pitching depth and makes one rethink Kyle Lohse. Lohse seems like a good idea, but it won’t happen until Spring Training solves mysteries such as Jaime Garcia’s health/effectiveness.

The rotation will now include two of the following: Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly, Trevor Rosenthal, and Shelby Miller. How it shakes out is TBD, but Mike Matheny now has two rotation spots for taking.

Matheny mentioned yesterday how guys must step up leadership-wise in Carp’s absence. Fair, but Matheny needs to step up his leadership aspect. A manager is the leader, and I think he bit his lip too often his rookie season. Inevitably, a coach in his second year with a team will speak up more, and I think we’ll notice that quite a bit.

NLCS - St Louis Cardinals v San Francisco Giants - Game TwoOne quick story about Carp …

Drenched from a pre game workout, he was walking into the clubhouse with Joe Kelly. Kelly had been demoted to the bullpen that day in favor of Jaime Garcia, who returned from a shoulder injury.

Carpenter took out his ear bud’s and yelled, “Hey, kid come over here”

Kelly, clearly disappointed with his demotion, got a pep talk from Carpenter.

“Keep you’re @#$%^&* head up. You’re going to be fine. Work harder now than you did before. You never know in this game when it’s your time, but you better be ready.”

It was those leadership moments that made Carpenter such a force on and off he field. He commanded respect, but he also dished it out.

Sure enough, Lance Lynn struggled down the stretch, and Kelly was reinserted into the rotation after several successful bullpen outings.

Kelly listened.

Thanks for reading.

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