No more dump and chase: Blues' new style is exciting
by Dave Kinworthy
The St. Louis Blues have come out of nowhere this season. The Blues are currently tied for first placein their division with the talented Detroit Red Wings and have a few games in hand.
The Blues might have appeared to have lost a step or two with Al MacInnis going down to injury and Geoff Courtnall retiring due to post-concussion syndrome. The only problem is that they have not.
The Blues have won five out of their last six games and have only lost twice in their last 10 games. This is pretty remarkable for a team without the proven offensive punch of a few years ago.
The Blues have surprised us all this season with their scrappy play and their great defensive execution. The Blues should be applauded for their hustle and great defensive strategy.
I can remember before the Pavol Demitra and Pierre Turgeon days when the Blues were just an average team with a few stars.
I could not stand Brian Sutter as the head coach of the Blues. Every time I watched a game, I kept saying to myself, "dump and chase, dump and chase." The offensive production from Brett Hull was all the Blues had.
I could not stand the Blues just dumping the puck in to the offensive zone and trying to create opportunities from that. Turnovers may play a key in games, but the majority of the time is spent in the neutral zone waiting for the other team to have a mental lapse.
The one good thing the Blues had in the early 1990s was the checking line of Bob Bassen, Rich Sutter, and either Ron Sutter or Dave Lowry. That line always made for a great action-packed shift for the fans. Whether it was Bassen's scrappiness or the Sutters coming off with another bloody nose, it was always interesting.
Now it's out with the old and in with the new style of play.
For now, the Blues look tough with the defense anchored by Al MacInnis and Chris Pronger. With them, the Blues have two of the best, if not the best defensemen in the entire National Hockey League.
Offensively, the Blues look to new faces in Demitra, Turgeon, Michael Handzus, Scott Pellerin and Craig Conroy to capitalize on defensive mistakes.
Roman Turek, although well over six-feet tall, is a good goaltender, but not comparable to Dominik Hasek. Whenever I heard the outrageous comparison between the two, I laughed and I still do.
Turek is too young and inexperienced to have the capabilities of Hasek for now. He has looked good at times, but the Blues need to take a serious look at Jamie McClennon as their potential starting goaltender. He has proven himself in the playoffs and is worthy of a starting spot.
All and all, the Blues have made hockey more enjoyable for the fans of St. Louis to watch. Attendance has picked up and a run at the Stanley Cup looms ahead.