The Chicago Blackhawks start their Stanley Cup Championship defense against America’s Sweethearts: the St. Louis Blues. The drive down I-55 is enough to hate this match-up, but the (lack of) respect shown by the Blues for opponents is unmatched in the NHL, and Chicago is aware of that.
Patrick Kane was injured in a 4-0 win over the Bloos (that’s spelled correctly) in March, but the contact that caused Kane to miss the remainder of the regular season was incidental. That was more of an outlier for a team chocked full of punks. Barrett Jackman, David Backes, Steve Ott, Maxim Lapierre, Ryan Reaves, Roman “Don’t Call Me” Polak, Vladimir Sobotka, and Brendan Morrow are all known for being dumb at the worst possible time.
The Blues-Blackhawks match-up features teams that have been bitten by the injury bug of late. Kane and Jonathan Toews are the biggest stars that have been omitted from the lineup recently, but are “absolutely playing” game one Thursday in St. Louis. The Blues could be without Backes, T.J. Oshies, and Vladimir Tarasenko for part of or the entire quarterfinals. Whoever plays “less hurt” probably stands the best chance of surviving and advancing to play the Colorado/Minnesota winner.
In case you thought the Ryan Miller-Steve Ott acquisition was a good one for the Blooz (correct spelling):
Ryan Miller’s career playoff save percentage: .913
Former Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak career playoff save percentage: .917
Miniscule difference? Sure, but ask Boston what one more save could have meant in game six of the Stanly Cup Finals last season.
Steve Ott has zero goals, three assists a fancy minus-twelve plus/minus against opponents weaker lines, thirty seven penalty minutes, and twenty eight shots in twenty three games for a team desperate for offense.
Fantastic trade, Doug Armstrong.
Looking forward to this series, and a Chicago Blackhawks series win. Even after all the kind words I shared about the Blues, it is tough to imagine that Chicago won’t find a way to get the Blues to out-Blues the Bluesiest of Blues teams to ever Blue.
Follow Jeff on Twitter @sckih_ffej for more sports hot takes. Jeff is also a production assistant at 120 Sports (@120Sports).Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks