Warren Peters Suspended One Game For Cross Check On David Backes; Shanny's Explanation Is Weak

Written by Laura Astorian on .

I fully understand the fact that Warren Peters was frustrated towards the end of Saturday night's Minnesota Wild/St. Louis Blues game. The Wild were getting walloped 4-0, they only managed thirteen shots on net, and they just weren't playing very good hockey. It happens. And yes, the Blues're a pretty hard hitting team, and sure, if you're on the ice buzzing around, it might not look like Jared Spurgeon blew a tire; it could have looked like Backes rode him into the boards.

But regardless of what you saw as a player on the ice, there's never any excuse for a stupid retaliatory penalty that could cost your team. There's also never an excuse for a retaliatory penalty that could hurt another player, you know, on purpose. That's pretty much what Peters does here by cross-checking Backes in the head. It's next to impossible to interpret this to be an accident:

Oh, Good. Questionable Hockey Bobble Heads That're Mass Marketed

Written by Laura Astorian on .

Sure, this is just what I wanted to see at a toy show:


Wow, really? I have to wait until fall for these? Damn. Two questions: 1) by top stars, do they mean those only on select teams (TOR, PIT, WSH, CHI, BOS, PHI, and probably DET) and 2) do the players themselves have the ability to sign off of them? I can see Sidney Crosby signing off on his -- it's all concentrate-y and hard core -- but Ovie looks more like the Geico caveman than ever, Kane looks like Corey Perry, and Phil Kessel is just a little too lifelike for my taste (and why are his gloves red?). Nothing can ever top the stuffed Tim Thomas, Henrik Zetterberg, and Evgeny Malkin, though. Those might be the only licensed toys that I can approve.

If, for some weird reason, these things are allowed to feature a Blues player (like the PillowPets featured Louie), who would it be? My money is on Oshie, because there's just something about him that lends itself well to giant bobble headed things nodding.

Wait.

Mike Keenan Wants Another Chance

Written by Laura Astorian on .

For the life of me, I can't understand why teams aren't lining up around the block for Keenan. He's just what Steve Mason needs, am I right?

Apparently Mike Keenan articles are an annual feature here at Thrashing the Blues. Last year I stumbled across some depressing stuff from Sports Illustrated's archives. This year at least the Keenan news isn't depressing. Frankly, I found it quite entertaining. In an interview with NHL.com's Dan Rosen, Keenan looks towards resurgant old farts Ken Hitchcock and Jaques Lemaire as examples of why old school is better.

"There's something to be said about young coaches, but there's also something to be said for experience," Keenan said. "You look at the veteran coaches who had the greatest impact in the last two years. Who were they? Hitchcock in St. Louis, and last year it was (Jacques) Lemaire in (New) Jersey. These are two guys, both in their 60s, that had the most impact on the teams and they came in as replacement coaches.

"I would venture a guess that the
New Jersey Devils would have made the playoffs if Jacques was there all season. That's not a negative comment on John (MacLean); he was just very inexperienced. And I have no idea why they got rid of Hitchcock in Columbus."

Fair points all. Where Keenan doesn't make a fair point about is why he is cut from the same cloth as the aforementioned coaches. Sure, he has some words of praise from Jeremy Roenick, who says that Keenan's a different coach than he was five years ago.

"He's an extremely smart guy, an extremely smart coach, and he's a motivator. But I think he's become a player-friendly motivator. I'm with him a lot and he's like a father-figure to me, and I know his passion to try to get back into the game."

Roenick gathers that from being analysts with Keenan on NBC. Which is exactly the same as being a player in his current system... which Keenan doesn't have.

Brian Leech was coached by Keenan when the New York Rangers won the 1994 Stanley Cup.

"They understand a lot about the team and the dynamics. Any smart coach learns from experience, from positive things as well as the negatives. He's got both in his career."

Well, considering the players he's driven away from teams and goaltenders he's chewed up and spat out, one has to wonder where this positive new experience Keenan's been having has been coming from. He's never gotten a chance to show that he's adapted to the new NHL, but Keenan might just be one of those players who is incapable of adaptation. If his players wouldn't do it for him, how can he do it for his players?

Thrashers Season Ticket Holders Were Spoiled

Written by Laura Astorian on .

Believe this or not, this Select-a-Seat event photo was taken the day of the Tailwake when it was basically all but known the Thrashers were moving. Classy move, Atlanta Spirit.

 

Ok, I know most of you read the title of this post and either did a spit-take or choked on whatever you were eating. "Spoiled?" I can hear you say. "Why in the HELL would you say that? Eleven years of terrible to slightly above average hockey, superstars like Hossa and Kovalchuk walking for practically nothing in return, and DON WADDELL? How in the hell were we spoiled? We were told to 'just deal with' bad situations. You have to be joking. Or drunk."

While I have had a couple glasses of wine, I'm sober, and I'm serious. I'm currently poking around for last minute tickets to the Blues-Predators game for tomorrow night (helpful hint for those of you who need them -- click the tickets link at the top of my website), and the prices are shocking. $65 for upper, upper bowl? What were those in Atlanta, like $15? Few rows down are in the $80 range on some sites. Atlanta? $35 -- and keep in mind that those rates aren't even season ticket holder prices. Those are the regular ones.

My tickets in section 108 were $1000 for the entire season. They were lower bowl, attack once side, about 13 rows or so off of the ice. I couldn't've asked for more reasonable tickets for an ECHL team, let alone an NHL one. The Thrashers tried "premium game" pricing last year for teams like Chicago or Detroit, or for weekend games. I was pleasantly surprised when I thumbed through the tickets and saw those games at $35.00 value for a STH. The weekday ones for non-premium games? $17. SEVENTEEN DOLLARS.

I sat in virtually the exact same place in Nashville in December, and I paid $68. I would have paid about $110, but I had a coupon for 40% off the site that I used, so yay. For tomorrow, the most reasonable ticket I could find lower-bowl was $100, and tickets aren't exactly widely available. Sure, it's a Saturday night against a division rival that the Preds are fighting with for primo playoff position, but it's impossible to just grab a cheap ticket. It's impossible to do that during the week. It's hard to do that during preseason. This is the price you have to pay for going to go see a successful franchise that's supported by a large swath of the local population.

Yeah, I know the cheap tickets here in Atlanta were basically a last-ditch effort to get people in the building by a group of owners who couldn't give a flying flip, but gosh darnit, wasn't it nice?

My Most Fervent Andy McDonald Wish

Written by LeNoceur on .

andymac

Andy McDonald skated in a regular "yellow" jersey at practice yesterday, instead of a red no-contact jersey. Why does this fill me with dread?

Let me say from the start: Andy McDonald has been a very good hockey player. As a Blue, he's produced at nearly a point-per-game pace (189 points in 235 games, or 0.8 ppg--compare to the Blues current "best" offensive player, David Backes, at 0.6 ppg), and is probably their best offensive player in terms of consistency. He also brings to the ice one of the things that plagues the Blues, and will hold them back from being a legit playoff contender: power play production.

God, I wish he would retire.

Andy McDonald is 34 years old. He has two young kids. He has four (known) concussions in his medical history. Since becoming a full-time NHLer in 2002-03, he has played a full slate of games (75+) four times. Four. In ten seasons (counting 2011-12). You hate to hang the "injury-prone" label on anyone, but it is medical science that, once you've had a single concussion you are "concussion-prone." To repeat: McDonald has had four of those.

I am 38. I also have two young kids. The other night, I banged my head on some ductwork in the basement. This was a cause for some mild cursing and a few minutes of moderate pain. If I were Andy McDonald, I would have been terrified that I'd bruised my brain again.

Andy McDonald doesn't owe the Blues, Blues fans, the NHL, or the game of hockey a damn thing at this point. He does owe his kids a dad. A dad who will be able to remember their future spouses' and his future grandkids' names. Does Nik Kronwall's elbow give a damn about that? Dion Phaneuf's shoulder? Any molecule of Todd Bertuzzi's body? I'm afraid to even look at the schedule and see if the Blues have any games left against the Sabres and Patrick Kaleta.

I know he's not reading this, and I know that even if he were he wouldn't but...

God, I wish Andy McDonald would retire.

LeNoceur used to write hockey nonsense at Melt Your Face-Off. He retired from that gig wealthier than you can possibly imagine, and promptly blew it all on Dr. Pepper futures. As always, he is grateful to hildymac for the opportunity to post occasional Blues-related thoughts here.

Andy McDonald And Alex Steen Vs. The Rest Of The Forwards; or, A Pleasant Conundrum

Written by Laura Astorian on .

It's always swell when half of your team's leadership is concussed.

"What if?" That's a question that usually has a negative connotation. What if the starting goalie goes down? What if the team's leading scorer gets knocked out of the season? What if the defense gets so decimated that half of the corps is made up of AHL guys? What if, what if what if. A hockey fan asks that question about a million times a season, especially a fan of a squad like the Blues who are constantly facing injuries. Last season enough people were hurt at the same time to derail an attempt to get into the playoffs. The defense and the bottom two lines were half of the Peoria Rivermen; kids who needed the experience but who weren't nearly as solid as the players that they replaced.

This season started off the exact same way. Pre-season saw B.J. Crombeen dislocate his shoulder. Kent Huskins went down with a broken ankle. Andy McDonald suffered yet another flukey concussion, then Alex Steen suffered one last month. Tiny bumps and bruises were here and there, threatening the team -- at least to the paranoid fan who expects the worst. A weird thing happened, however: players started to heal. David Perron came back after being out for a year, Crombeen's back to banging and smashing and fighting, and Kent Huskins is getting stronger on his ankle. The Blues haven't had to call up many forwards -- Chris Porter's the only one with the team now -- and all four lines are either legit scoring threats or they're out there creating chances and shutting down teams. The team without Steen and McDonald has been a successful powerhouse at home and are sitting second in the Central Division. Heck, they're sitting at third in the NHL.

TSN'S Dave Hodge Insinuates Tim Thomas Has Klan Sympathies, Proves Political Discourse's Dead

Written by Laura Astorian on .

I had no clue as to if I should post this here or at Puck Drunk Love, but I figured this was my blog - I feel awkward about posting political stuff anywhere else.

Tim Thomas skipped yesterday's meeting with President Barack Obama to honor the Bruins' 2011 Stanley Cup Championship. Teams go to the White House all of the time, and Thomas was the team's only American. He backed out due to his political beliefs; he's fairly conservative and is disgusted with the direction that the nation's moving in, and released a statement to that effect on his Facebook page:

"I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People.

"This is being done at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial level. This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers vision for the Federal government.

"Because I believe this, today I exercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House. This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country. This was about a choice I had to make as an INDIVIDUAL.

"This is the only public statement I will be making on this topic. TT"

Heck, ok. That's his opinion, and he's entitled to it. I agree that the government's bloated and run by idiots of both parties -- I think most everyone does. But most everyone would have put team above politics and gone to the ceremony. That's not the point, though - the point is that after Thomas' statement came out, people jumped on him for his political beliefs.

In America today, GOD FORBID someone disagrees with what you believe in. Instead of asking policy questions regarding Thomas' beliefs or having a discourse on why Thomas would believe that, people immediately started to insult him. Look at the comments section of any website: "Boycott Thomas!" "Thomas is a commie!" "Thomas is a stupid Republican!" All of those are chock full of intellect, but absolutely NOTHING tops the winner that TSN's Dave Hodge came up with last night:

 

Oh, wow, really? Yep. Dave Hodge insinuated that since Thomas is a Republican, and since he didn't go shake the hand of an African American president, that he's racist. Apparently Tim Thomas is a grand wizard in the KKK. Who knew?

Absolutely nowhere in Thomas' statement does he say anything inappropriate, nor (to my knowledge) has he ever said anything of that ilk. This whole "oh, you disagree with the president so you're a RACIST CROSS BURNING HOODWEARER!" bullshit has to stop. It kills intelligent debate of issues. It kills political discourse between individuals. It kills people's faith in politics in general.

Mud slinging is nothing new, though it's gotten considerably worse as of late. Insults are what you do when you lack the brain-power to think about a situation, an issue, or a person. I can only assume that Dave Hodge lacks the linguistic skills to properly communicate his point of view that Thomas should have put politics aside and gone with his team to the White House.

God willing TSN puts their foot down on this kind of slander, or else I'm going to have to assume they're just as incapable of intelligent discourse as their employee.

 

EDIT: Hodge tweeted this outstanding not-an-apology tweet yesterday regarding his original statement:

 

If that's your version of satire, you're certainly no Voltaire, Dave.

Snag Tickets For Tomorrow's Penguins/Blues Game

Written by Laura Astorian on .

The Blues close out their first half tomorrow night with a matchup with the Penguins.  Thanks to "Pick Your Price" from our partners @ TiqIQ you can get into Scottrade tomorrow night for below face.  For the cheapest deal, make an offer of $40ea on two "1-star" tickets and save over $10 of the full price of each ticket.  If you want to take in the game from some better seats, make an offer of around $70ea on two "3-star" tickets and you can save more than $15 off the total price.  As with any "Pick Your Price" offer, this deal comes free of service & shipping fees.  But act fast, this offer ends @ 8 PM ET.

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Vladimir Tarasenko Owns The KHL Skills Competition

Written by Laura Astorian on .

Admit it - their All-Star jerseys are nicer than the NHL's've been in years.

This past weekend was the KHL's all star game, and much like the NHL they have the perfunctory skills competition. The trick shot of course was worked in to this, because fans like seeing players do nifty things with sticks and pucks without embarrassing the goaltender during a game or shootout situation. Alexander Ovechkin used flags and hats and sunglasses and looking like a Russian tourist at Disney World as his trick.

Blues prospect Vladimir Tarasenko? Fishing line. That's it.

Tank's an excellent hockey player, but it's his personality as much as his skills that're getting Blues fans excited about his (hopeful) migration to the NHL within the next couple of seasons. He represented Team Fedorov this year. Whose team will he represent over here? The league has to get this personality on a national stage, stat.

NHL Hockey Is My Security Blanket

Written by Laura Astorian on .

Not a security blanket per se. It was as close as I could get.

 

I had a bit of an epiphany last night on my way home from somewhere. I was in a meh mood. Not a terrible mood, but I just didn't feel particularly hot. I flipped on the radio, hunted down KMOX, and listened to the Wild/Blues game a bit on my way home. It always has amazed me how I can get KMOX here in Atlanta clearer than nearly any Atlanta AM radio station. The second I flipped it on and heard Chris Kerber and Kelly Chase calling the game, the irritations of the day went poof. Horrible drivers? Moms in minivans who can't drive in grocery store parking lots? A collapsed cake that I had to re-assemble like a jigsaw puzzle? Gone. I calmed down and made it home with yelling at a minimal amount of drivers.

The highlight of the drive was when David Perron scored his goal, and the goal horn blasted through my speakers. I was off of the highway at that point, and at a stop-light. Generally speaking, I listen to music loudly, and I do tend to listen to hockey broadcasts that way. Perron scored, the horn blared, and I screamed "YEAH" at the top of my lungs. Scared the bejesus out of the guy next to me. But you know what? It put me in a great mood.

I finished watching the rest of the game when I got home. The Blues winning - not just because it was a shootout win - absolutely had me smiling ear to ear. And then I realized it - that was my security blanket. Hockey is my Prozac, my "happy pill," so to speak. If I am ever in a meh mood, a foul mood, or have troubles that I'd rather not pay any attention to, I flip on a game. It doesn't have to be the Blues - I'll watch any game that's on TV - but it just calms me down like a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel does with a puppy. I veg out, I may or may not have a few glasses of cider, but the nuances of a hockey game and broadcast snaps me out of whatever's going on.

This is why I tend to throw myself into writing so much (though you might not see it here due to the sporadic nature of whenever I write). If I focus on hockey, and then focus on how to express my thoughts and opinions, there's not enough time to dwell on anything else. If I'm having a terrible day at work, taking a minute or two to type up the gameday preview on SB Nation St. Louis clears my head. The other day, a post about the Florida Panthers over at Puck Drunk Love was my time-out. I set my fantasy line-ups every morning as a metaphorical mind-clearing cup of coffee, and I read Puck Daddy during lunch when the news websites I read make me irritated with the world.

The numbers, the stats, the characters who populate the game, the rivalries - it's all very leveling to me in a zen-like way. I am disappointed still that my hockey-season after work ritual is gone. I miss getting off work, going to the CNN Center, grabbing an issue of Creative Loafing or maybe bringing a book, and sitting in quiet drinking my jumbo Newcastle or Bass before the crowds started to show up. The people-watching and the stats checking before the game was great, but there's something tremendous that I miss about putting on the jersey a few times a week, wrapping my Thrashers scarf around my neck, and going to my own personal safe place. Yes, most people's "safe places" don't encourage drinking in excess like the Thrashers tended to do, but that's neither here nor there.

Without them nearby and the ritual broken, I find myself watching more and more on TV and reading more and more on-line. The couple of games I headed up to Nashville to go see reminded me of how great it was to be in an arena filled with hockey fans, and it made me miss what I used to have. I will say though that the drive to Nashville - the nice, quiet three and a half hour drive with me, my thoughts, and my music - could be a very easy substitute for the mind-clearing at the CNN Center. The hotel, the game, everything that goes with heading out of town... that was the best overnight trip I've taken in eons because it helped me center myself for the last week of work in 2011.

Everyone has their own security blanket, or thing that they turn to when times are tough or moods are dark. Hockey is mine. Please, someone let me know this is normal. Not that I care or anything, but confirmation's always nice.

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