Blues at the Half
St. Louis, Mo:
Well the St. Louis Blues had a great start to this season. But that is old news. The first quarter of the season saw them be in the top 4 of the 26 teams. However in the second quarter, they have fallen down to the #9 position in the league. What happened? Well they stopped scoring goals at a great pace. Now they are only scoring 3.43 goals per game. Down a whole goal per game since the quarter pole. Even after trading for Denis Savard. Savard a quick skating goal scorer has only 5 points since coming over 8 games ago. Mats Sundin has not been producing as well as he has in the past. Bernie Federko has slowed down and is not leading the league in scoring any longer.
Defensively they are playing exceptionally well. They have the second best goals against per game in the league (2.85). Only the league leading Quebec Nordiques are better at not allowing goals than the Blues. So it very well comes down to goal scoring. They must get better and they must get better soon. Only 40 games remain.
This is their last shot at the cup. They have 18 players going to free agency and most will not come back next season. So the Blues will re-enter the rebuild next season for sure. GM Olsen has bought free agents before and it has come with mixed outcomes. Will he keep this up? Probably not. He can only get so many free agents in one year, and to fill that many positions is impossible.
So come closer to the deadline he will have some decisions to make. Keep the team and go for the cup. Well if he does and wins, he is a genius. But the Blues have never made it past the second round. If he loses, he has nothing to show for the players leaving. If he gives up and trades his veterans that are leaving, he will at least get something for them. And something is always better than nothing. Unless he wins the cup. But with the way this team is going right now, I do not see them winning the cup for at least 10 to 15 years.
Jock Strapp reporting, TSN, St. Louis.
Jets Downgrade Continues
After a pretty good few years in the Peg, the harsh reality of the times have really shown on the Jets. After an “all in” philosophy ruled front and Center for the team, and the Jets managed to add another cup to their RHS cupboard, the team has floundered. During the last offseason the Jets were unable to really do anything. With restrictions and a thin crop of free agents, the Jets came into this season sorely lacking in many areas. With a depleted forward core and thin on defence the Jets had hoped to lure in some free agents to no avail.
“Father Time has found us,” one insider offered. “This team was built for the here and now.”
Sadly that ‘here and now’ is gone, fading into the memories and leaving a worn empty husk of a team in its wake. With absolutely no youth, and no picks whatsoever for a few years and nothing to offer up in trades, the current version of the Jets will be a proverbial authority on mediocrity for at least the next three-four years.
And with a roster full of players on expiring contracts the team won’t be anywhere near the same in another season. One thing is certain, with the hand they were dealt (by themselves), the Jets have painted themselves into a corner and will have to wait for the paint to dry before they can escape and try to rebuild a fractured clubhouse and empty pantry.
Problem is, this is a very slow drying paint.
Ziggy Palffy, The Slovakian Sniper
East Rutherford, New Jersey – The Slovakian sensation, Zigmund "Ziggy" Palffy, cracked the 20-goal plateau on Tuesday, and is drawing a lot of attention as the league's top freshman. With 20 goals and 36 points in 35 games, Palffy appears to be the odds on favorite to capture the Calder Trophy as the league's rookie of the year. Besides putting pucks in the net, Palffy also appears to be a defensively responsible forward, with a +20 plus-minus rating, tops among rookies and tops among all forwards in the RHS.
"To put it simply, Ziggy is sensational," said TSN's Director of Scouting, Craig Button. "Ziggy has a penchant for controlling the pace of play at both ends of the ice, and that is an incredibly rare feat for such a young player."
Palffy's speed is one of the traits that makes him stand out, as evidenced by his flowing mullet flapping in the wind as he paces down the wing to fire off a snap shot, or to retrieve pucks in his own zone.
"He's a coach's dream," said Devils' head coach, Darryl Sutter. "Ziggy is a very coachable player, and he's eager to be just as adapt defensively as he is offensively. I can't teach him to score, but I can train him to become a better all-around player, and he's demonstrated that thus far."
Approaching the midway point of the season, Palffy is excited at the proposition of making the league's All-Star game. "It would be a great honor to represent the Devils and my nation," said Palffy. "Growing up in Slovakia, I always got excited to watch the All-Star game, especially when Peter Stastny was playing."
Stastny, who is now retired, is one of the top scorers in league history, ranking ninth overall with 1,146 points in 1,027 games. Stastny also captured the Hart Trophy as league MVP and the Selke Trophy as the league's best defensive forward.
"I aspire to be as good as him," said a coy Palffy. Maybe some day, Slovakian kids will grow up to show as much admiration for Ziggy Palffy.