Back on December 21st the Blues scored four powerplay goals in a 7-2 drubbing of the Oilers at Rexall Place. They won their next game before losing six straight, firing Andy Murray in the process and replacing him with Davis Payne, an Oiler draft pick in 1989.
Under Payne, the second youngest coach in the NHL at 39, the Blues are 6-5-2 and are five points back of 8th place Calgary. The Blues have the 7th best road record in the league, 14-8-4, but it’s they stink at home, 9-14-4, and that’s why they are in 13th place in the west.
Brad Boyes leads the Blues with 34 points, and only Nashville Patrik Hornqvist (33) and Boston, Patrice Bergeron (33), have a leading scorer with fewer points. The Blues have eight guys with ten or more goals with Andy McDonald leading the way with 16. They don’t score a bunch and they don’t give up a lot of goals.
O’Sullivan and Stortini out
The Oilers only had 12 skaters and the goalies on the ice this morning. Penner, Horcoff, Moreau, Pisani, Souray, Visnvosky, Jacques and Pouliot didn’t skate. The last two aren’t veterans and must be resting some minor bumps and bruises. Patrick O’Sullivan and Zack Stortini were on the ice for an extra 25 minutes skating and doing drills, and neither will play tonight.
O’Sullivan was asked what the message was from the coaches?
“I need to be better, more consistent. I expect more out of myself. It’s embarrassing for me, but that’s the point of it I think. It’s not fun skating like that. I haven’t done this since my first year. I’m gonna take the message and be better the next game I get to play.”
Of course he isn’t happy not playing, no player would be and I’d expect to see more jump in his game when he gets back in the lineup.
Quinn mentioned O’Sullivan sat out because he wasn’t meeting the coaches’ expectations, while Stortini was just caught up in the numbers game. Depending on how the team plays tonight, I’d expect both to play in Calgary on Saturday. Quinn made it very clear that there were many other candidates who could easily have been given the pass to the pressbox.
Two lines are set for sure:
Penner — Gagner — Nilsson
Moreau — Horcoff — Pisani
It sounds like Potulny is playing with Mike Comrie and Gilbert Brule, so that leaves Andrew Cogliano to skate with Jacques and Pouliot.
I’d like to see Brule play with Gagner and Penner once he gets up to speed. Brule and Penner have worked well together and now is the time to start looking at some line combinations that could work for next season.
I don’t see any of those three being moved, so why not use the final games to let them find some chemistry and continuity. If you look ahead those three along with Ales Hemsky, Jordan Eberle and the potential top-pick could be their top-six next season, so why not find out if those three can click as a line.
Devan Dubnyk was on the ice 20 minutes before practice working with Freddy Chabot. Actually Chabot had a camera and was taking pictures of him from different angles, sliding across the crease and challenging the shooter. Dubnyk will not play tonight, as Jeff Deslauriers will get another crack. He gave up a weak goal early against Chicago, but played decent after that.
Quinn said the decision was made yesterday at practice. He felt Deslauriers practiced better and looked more crisp so Deslauriers will get a shot to win his first game of 2010.