Daily Grind 3.4

Notes on another strange loss for the Blues, Rafael Furcal, and LeBron James.

St. Louis Blues v Dallas StarsThe St. Louis Blues took another dip in mediocrity Sunday losing in Dallas to begin a crucial 5-game road trip.

After David Perron scored the first goal, the Blues took a nap (again) to end the first period and entered the dressing room down 2-1. For some reason this team decides to take their foot off opponents throats and the game turns into a deficit.

Goaltender Brian Elliott started for the first time in 20 days and the result was less than stellar. It marked his fifth straight game allowing four or more goals, and his overall record fell to 3-6-1. Granted, the Blues had a combined 9 turnovers including two that directly led to goals.

Whatever mojo the Blues had for the first 15 minutes of the game never resurfaced, and two key plays changed the tempo. Up 1-0 in the 1st period, T.J. Oshie put a shot on goal when Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen denied Jaden Schwartz a clean shot on the rebound. Then, in the 3rd period, Adam Cracknell had a would be game-tying goal waved off for kicking the puck in the net — albeit unintentional. Dallas out checked St. Louis 45/38 in the 4-1 home victory.

3 Quick Notes

  1. With three minutes to go in the 3rd period, down 3-1, Coach Ken Hitchcock put Chris Porter, Vladimir Sobotka, and Cracknell on the ice following a timeout. Is that a message for the Blues’ top six forwards? Watching them play with no identity is incredibly frustrating.
  2. Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen owns the Blues. In 10 starts, Lehtonen is 8-2-0 with a 1.60 goals against average.
  3. David Perron committed another offensive zone penalty, which gives him 22 penalty minutes this season. He had 28 in 57 games played last year.

It’s fair to label the St. Louis Blues as inconsistent, and there’s really no reason to think it will change.

On another note, the Blues are considering bringing back Jason Arnott. He met with team officials today, who want to ensure his knee is 100%. Arnott had a slight falling out with Hitchcock after he was a healthy scratch down the stretch. The Blues could use Arnott, especially with their rash of injuries.

St Louis Cardinals v Pittsburgh PiratesHappy Flight … To The Doc

After sketchily denying any vulnerability at the shortstop position, the Cardinals are now apparently realizing what every person with a brain knew would eventually happen: Rafael Furcal getting shut down indefinitely.

The guy has a torn ligament in his throwing elbow, and taking the “rest” approach was easily the dumbest route possible. Taking such a blind approach now leaves them with a crater at a pivotal spot on the infield.

Did Furcal opt against surgery? Did the organization OK the rest treatment? Questions need answers, and more importantly, the Cardinals need a shortstop.

Did You See This?Carolina Hurricanes v Florida Panthers

When the Florida Panthers learned of goaltender Jose Theodore’s torn groin, they recalled Jacob Markstrom from their AHL affiliate in San Antonio. Unfortunately, Markstrom’s pads got stuck in a flight delay.

So the Panthers signed goalie coach Robb Tallas to a one-day contract to serve as backup until the gear arrived. Markstrom finally replaced Tallas with under 5 minutes in the 1st period, but if Tallas did play, it would have been his 100th career game in the NHL. Strange situation.

LBJ Takes Over MSG

LeBron James scored 12 points in the fourth quarter Sunday to seal a comeback win against the New York Knicks. James finished with 29 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists. Here’s a few golden moments:

Finally …

TroutMike Trout will have his pay-day, until then, his agent should pipe down. At $510,000, Trout is a bargain … but if he maintains the numbers he produced last season, he’ll be the highest paid player in the game.

Needless to say, Trout’s agent, Craig Landis, is not thrilled with the situation his client finds himself in.  In an email to the LA Times, Landis said,

“During the process, on behalf of Mike, I asked only that the Angels compensate Mike fairly for his historic 2012 season, given his service time.  In my opinion, this contract falls well short of a ‘fair’ contract, and I have voiced this to the Angels throughout the process.  The $510,000 salary was not the result of a negotiated compromise between Mike and the Angels.  Because Mike has less than three years of major league service and has not yet reached arbitration, the Angels have the right under the [collective bargaining agreement] to unilaterally impose a salary upon Mike, and they chose to do that today.  The renewal of Mike’s contract will put an end of this discussion.  As when he learned he would not be the team’s primary center fielder for the upcoming season, Mike will put the disappointment behind him and focus on helping the Angels reach their goal of winning the 2013 World Series.”

Thanks for reading. Keep Grindin’ and FOLLOW @DGrindSports on Twitter.

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