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Top 5: Reasons the Blues are Contenders

Image via KSDK.com

The Blues, currently sitting at 4th Place in the West with 60 points, have had their best season to date in years. And folks, that’s not a fluke.

1. The coaching is there: Not discounting what Andy Murray and Davis Payne brought to the table, but Ken Hitchcock has truly been able to take the rains and get players to play. Halak has taken his spot back as the number one goaltender, while TJ Oshie has proven why he belongs on a top line – all with Hitchcock’s help. The early-season move was a bit unexpected, but could not have been placed at a more opportune time.

2. Home is where the heart is. The Blues have the best home record in the league at 19-3-3. That’s not a coincidence. Scottrade Center has become one of the more difficult rinks to play at, and with an ever expanding fan base (yes, even those bandwagoners), the team knows the 6th man will make a difference. That big blue bear helps, too.

3. The Central Division: Let’s not discount the fact that the Central division, with the exception of the Blue Jackets, is arguably the best division in the league. Seeing Detroit and Chicago six times a year is a challenge, as well as Vezina Trophy hopeful Pekka Rinne and the Predators. Unlike many college teams, no one can say the Blues have an “easy schedule” (14 back-to-back series this season).

4. We’re not afraid. You won’t meet another team that uses their size like St. Louis. From 6-3, 225lb. David Backes (who has it out for any man who’s ever stepped foot onto a Team Canada roster) to “5-10, 198lb” (talk about exaggeration…) Vladimir Sobotka, this is a team that knows how to play rough. The physical presence on the ice extends from forwards to defensemen, and (almost) always stays within the Shanaban rules.

5. It’s about damn time. The last playoff run the Blues had in 2001. The last cup appearance was in 1970 with Scotty Bowman as our head coach. This is a team that has been in a rebuilding phase for 5 years, and it’s time for the team to be built. This is a group of guys who want to win, and that determination will take them as far as they want to go. Hopefully, that will be at a parade on Market St.

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Marek vs. Wyshynski – Game Show Friday!

Well, LUCKY ME! I was today’s contestant on Game Show Friday on Marek vs. Wyshynski. If you’re clueless as to what that is, Wyshynski is Yahoo! Sports’ Puck Daddy. On their Friday radio show, they choose a contestant for Game Show Fridays – a variety of rule-related questions for the NHL. I was given 9 questions to answer. How would you have done?

Questions:
(1) The goaltender (number 30) gets a minor penalty. Number 12 on the team serves the penalty. Which number shows up on the score clock?

(2) Yes or no. Does a blocked shot count as a missed shot on the game sheet?

(3) When a penalty for both the home and visiting teams occur at the same time, which team is announced first by the public address announcer?

(4) Two players receive off-setting penalties. One of the players is injured and goes to the dressing room. This is still 5-on-5 play. The player in the dressing room gets fixed up and returns to the bench. The penalty expires, but play continues. He jumps on the ice and scores a goal. Does the goal count? (This is the hardest question.)

(5) Both Halak and Elliot get injured. By the rules, a team can play any eligible goaltender (not a random member of the team). He is supposed to get a two-minute warm up, but there is one exception to this rule. Is it on a penalty kill, penalty shot or overtime?

(6) A player is not listed on the game sheet. He scores two goals, and then scores a third, and the officials catch that he is missing on the game sheet. They take away the goal because he is an ineligible player. What happens to the other two goals? Do they count or not?

(7) If another puck other than the legal one appears on the ice. Does play automatically stop? Yes or No?

(8) A penalty shot is awarded to a team. But, the team switches goaltenders to face the shooter. After he faces the penalty shot, how long does he have to stay in net?

(9) Bonus: A player is awarded a penalty shot. But as he’s awarded the penalty shot, he takes a penalty on the play as well. Yes or no – does he get to take the shot?

Answers:

(1) Number 12 (I went for number 30)

(2) No (Again, wrong.)

(3) Away (Correct, with a bit of help)

(4) No, because he is an ineligible player because he hasn’t been released from the box. (Correct again.)

(5) Penalty Shot (I went with overtime)

(6) Yes (Correct)

(7) No (Correct, with help. The play is whistled dead when there is a change of possession)

(8) Until there is a stoppage in play. (Correct)

(9) Yes, because it happened after the initial penalty. (Correct)

Yep – that’s 6 out of 9 for me. Right out of the NHL Rule Book, which unfairly, I do own (however, I have not read it. It’s huge). Thanks Inside Hockey! How many did you get?

It was fun. You can listen to me here (I’m on around 43:05), and the entire podcast (which I would suggest). Thanks to the guys for including me!