Daily Grind 3.7

After a 24-hour cooling off period, it’s time to write some thoughts on the debacle that took place Tuesday night in Los Angeles.

Yep, the Blues still blew a three-goal lead.

If you’re looking for some desperate plea to trade a bunch of young hockey players … you won’t find it here. It simply does not make sense:

St Louis Blues v Los Angeles KingsSix points separate teams 4-thru-14 in the Western Conference. If anyone thinks trading a 25-year old with upside for an aging veteran might fix the problem — stop being delusional. Nobody in contention is going to bite on a bad deal.

It’s fair to question why the Blues decided to send down Jake Allen, who sparked the team following a dreadful 0-4-1 home stand by winning three straight on the road. Putting the entire problem on Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott would be like President Obama blaming the country’s debt problem on George W. Bush … oh, wait.

The tandem owns a 3.00 goals against average (24th in NHL) and a league worst .870 save percentage. It doesn’t take a genius to realize when the backbone of a hockey team offers absolutely zero stability. Goaltending and winning go hand-in-hand. After all,

The Blues benefited from a goaltending duo last season that made waves in NHL record books. The numbers are insane. But that ride is over, and the Blues need better goaltending, period. Let’s start there.

Halak let three bad goals slip in. The worst was Slava Voynov’s 2nd period goal at 13:38 to cut the lead in half. Voynov instilled that human nature ‘oh no’ for St. Louis, and the ‘ay let’s fuckin’ go boys’ for the Kings.

Bad goaltending is terrible for the entire team. It forces guys to think more, which causes unforced turnovers with players trying to do too much. It zaps positive energy; such as Jake Muzzin tying the game 43 seconds after Alex Pietrangelo game the Blues a 1-0 lead on the road.

St. Louis Blues v Los Angeles KingsBY THE NUMBERS

The Blues only mustered 14 shots on goal; 1st-7 ..  2nd-3 ..  3rd-4. That alone tells us who controlled the game. LA had terrible goaltending too, but never allowed it to affect them upstairs.

Both teams combined 0/9 on the PP (STL 0/3)

FINAL THOUGHT

Why did the Blues blow their load with three 1st-period fights? Did they forget it was a 60-minute hockey game? Were they waiting to party in LA? Couldn’t wait for a round of golf in Phoenix?

Let’s hope Jake Allen can right the ship Thursday against the Coyotes (11-10-3), who lost 2-0 in Anaheim Wednesday night.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Philadelphia FlyersPronger Update

Chris Pronger gave his first extensive interview with Sportsnet since suffering a serious eye injury October 24th, 2011 when a stick caught his right eye. Later ruled a concussion, Pronger has not played since trying to return on November 19th, 2011.

In the interview, Pronger explains he’s lost most of his peripheral vision.

“What happened was, I had 30-year-old eyes, I got hit and the doctor told me I had 60-year-old eyes. I don’t have very good peripheral vision. That so-called sixth sense? I used to have a really good one. Now, I couldn’t feel anyone coming around a corner. My kids scare me all the time.

“That used to be what I was known for, knowing where everybody was, having a feel for who was around me. Now I don’t have that.”

Did You See This?

Jonathon Toews took advantage of the Colorado Avalanche’s PP strategy where they use five forwards. A deke here, a deke there, and a shorthanded goal later the Hawks were tied 2-2 before eventually winning (again), improving to 21-0-3.

BILLSBILLS FALL 77-66

After a comeback-forced overtime, the SLU Billikens took a tough loss Wednesday night at Xavier. The Musketeers held the Bills to just 30% shooting while keeping the Atlantic-10 title up for grabs with one game to play. SLU had no answer for Travis Taylor, who finished with 19 points, 19 rebounds and six blocks — becoming the first D-1 player to reach all those thresholds in a game this season.  He scored seven points in OT.

If there’s one concern heading into March, it’s the Billikens inability to break the long scoring droughts. Defense was not the problem Wednesday — scoring was.

Read this Dana O’neil piece on the Billikens ride this season. Inspiring, humorous, encouraging … everything Rick Majerus would echo.

Finally…

The Missouri Valley Conference kicks of Arch Madness tonight that the Scottrade Center. Come down and watch some exciting basketball including Creighton’s Doug McDermott. I’m told over 25 NBA scouts will attend the tournament this weekend.

KEEP GRINDIN’ AND FOLLOW @DGrindSports

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