Author Archives: themickiholley

St. Louis Blues Once Again Make An Early Exit

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COMMENTARY | The St. Louis Blues have been heavy favorites for the past two seasons to go all the way and win the Stanley Cup. Both years, the Blues have made a hasty exit from the playoffs, not winning a series. Fans and commentators were excited this post-season when the Blues faced off against the Minnesota Wild. Many thought the Blues would have a tough series but would prevail in the end. That is until small mistakes began to add up and the offense crumbled.

History did, in a sense, repeat itself once again.

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Blues Explode in Game 2, Fade In Game 3

COMMENTARY | | The St. Louis Blues made a strong comeback in Game 2 after an embarrassing loss to the Minnesota Wild in Game 1. The Blues have not been solid in the playoffs in years past, but are ever hopeful to win a playoff series.

Blues fans were in agony after two empty-net goals were scored by the Wild in Game 1, contributing to their team’s 4-2 loss. The Blues redeemed themselves to their fans in Game 2, winning 4-1. That redemption only lasted a short time before the Blues were bested in Game 3 by a score of 3-0.

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Blues Outplayed By The Wild In Game 1

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COMMENTARY | St. Louis fans were hyped up prior to the start of Game 1; there was a feeling of expectancy within the air at Scottrade Center. Players and coaches claimed to be ready to get out there and prove that they could play a strong hockey game during a playoff series. There was just one little problem – the Minnesota Wild were hungrier and played a better hockey game than the Blues.

Former Blues forward and fan favorite, Chris Stewart, came back to St. Louis as a Wild and he had something to prove. Although Stewart did not score any points, he made his presence known when on the ice with strategic checks and vocal encouragement for his team.

Rookie Goaltending

Rookie goaltenders, appearing in their first playoff game, dominated the game. While the Blues’ Jake Allen was handed the loss, 2 of the 4 goals allowed by the Blues happened when Allen was not even on the ice. Wild goaltender, Devan Dubnyk, was solid in goal and showed no signs of losing his composure when the Blues rallied in the third period.

Having solid, unshakable goaltenders during the playoffs is essential for any team to win hockey games and advance towards the finals. Both Allen and Dubnyk showed their respective teams that they can handle the pressure of playoff hockey, but can they both keep the momentum going and carry their team to a series win? This will be the series to watch and analyze their stamina as well as their confidence in themselves and their teammates.

Out Played

Fans cannot even blame bad calls from the referees as the reason their beloved Blues bombed in Game 1. True there were a few iffy calls, but find a game where that is not the case. The truth of the matter is that the Wild out strategized the Blues, played harder and dug deeper to pull off the win. Overall the Blues took a long time to find a groove of any kind and in playoff hockey that can spell disaster.

Blues players did not look prepared for Game 1 and they looked unsure of how to handle the determined Wild team. The Blues were able to defeat the Wild in their last game of the season and it may be that they felt too comfortable and confident in their ability to beat them again.

The most painful thing to watch during a playoff game is the empty-net goals that occur when a team, in desperation, pulls their goalie for the extra attacker. The Blues were burned not once, but twice during Game 1 when head coach, Ken Hitchcock, pulled Allen in the final minutes of the game. He was hoping for a last-minute miracle from his offense, but what he got instead was a push from the Wild. To lose a playoff game by one goal is difficult for any team, but to lose because of two empty-net goals is almost too much to swallow.

Game 2 Changes

The Blues need to step it up in Game 2 and come out strong from the first puck drop. The Wild had something to prove in Game 1 and came out with a vengeance. The Blues now have something to prove in Game 2. It will be interesting to see if Hitchcock mixes up his lines to try and get more offense going or if he will stick with what has worked in the regular season.

The Wild’s head coach, Mike Yeo, has found a winning combination and is showing that the Wild can be a contender. Now, it is the Blues’ turn to step it up and prove to St. Louis and the NHL that they will not once again fizzle in the first round of the playoffs.

Follow Micki on Twitter, and while you’re at it follow Ice Nation UK for all the best hockey talk!

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Is History Repeating Itself: St. Louis Blues Begin to Stumble in Homestretch

Since the inception of the St. Louis Blues fans have cheered their team on throughout the regular season and into the playoffs only to feel bitter disappointment. Generations of fans have had the expectation that this will be the year the Stanley Cup finally makes its celebratory pass through the streets of St. Louis.

St. Louis Blues’ fans are without a doubt some of the best and most loyal in the NHL and their support of the organization and individual players is unwavering. The big question on every fan’s mind is can the Blues pull it off and bring home the Cup or is history going to repeat itself?

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Did Martin Brodeur Use The Blues To Stick It To The Devils?

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It is official. Martin Brodeur has requested, and been granted, a leave of absence from the St. Louis Blues to think over his career and decide his future. He has headed home for a week of contemplation. When St. Louis goalie Brian Elliott went down with a serious knee injury the Blues scrambled to fill a void. Back-up goalie Jake Allen was not up to the task of carrying the team on a daily basis and there was no experienced goalie within the system that they were confident in.

Enter Martin Brodeur. The 42 year old former New Jersey Devils netminder was seeking retribution and redemption. He had something to prove. Brodeur, even at age 42, was not a washed-up has been. He still had a lot of life left in him and he was out to prove it to the Devils organization and their fans.

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Shattenkirk And Tarasenko Are 2015 NHL All-Stars

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The St. Louis Blues have two great players headed to the festivities of the 2015 NHL All-Star game. Kevin Shattenkirk, the 25 year old defenseman, and Vladimir Tarasenko, the 23 year old forward, are making their first all-star appearance. The two are good friends; they came to St. Louis the same year and were roommates on the road.

There were several Blues’ players who were very deserving of being called All-Star. David Backes, TJ Oshie and Alex Pietrangelo are the other three players that come to mind when thinking about worthy players. So why did these players get snubbed?

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An Early Season Look at the St Louis Blues

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The St. Louis Blues have been off to an interesting start. You would think injuries to key players would set the team back, however, lesser known players have been able to step up and make things happen. Head coach Ken Hitchcock has been working his magic and quickly adjusting lines to put players together who complement each other.

This is definitely not last season’s team. This is a team that has to scratch and claw their way through every win and make every play count. It is not always pretty, but it is somewhat effective. From key injuries to bacterial infections to uncertain coaching and inexperienced goalies, the Blues players have gotten off to a rocky start. This has been creating a precarious balance within the team that has been producing wins.

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