The other day I was talking about the huge mistake that it was letting Don Maloney go instead of installing him as GM in Sather's spot. Well, with the Blues come John Davidson. I mean, what can you say about JD? For some he was the big goalie who came oh-so-close to the Cup in 79 but to many of us he was the warm voice that taught us the game of hockey, night in and night out on MSG. And now he is teaching St. Louis to care again about their team. Long gone are the days of Hull and Oates but the new generation that JD built is slowly coming together. He has to be hoping that the kids he has accumulated are ready for prime time as this year's team will be without old stars Paul Kariya and Keith Tkachuk.
Familiar Foes: The Blues have built a core of players and have stuck with them. Olympians David Backes and Erik Johnson are the two most prominent faces but the rest of the names will ring a bell: Brad Boyes, Pat Berglund, Alex Steen, TJ Oshie, Cam Janssen, Eric Brewer, Barret Jackman and Carlo Colaiacovo. The Blues will be praying last season's 42 point performance by Boyes was an aberration after two straight seasons of improvement. Oshie is one of the most exciting young players to watch in the NHL but his production has yet to match his energy level. Jackman and Brewer, the two pillars of the defense, will attempt to get through a full season without injury.
N00bz: They will be called upon to keep the crease clear for Jaro Halak, the biggest offseason acquisition by the Blues. And all it cost them was Lars Eller and Ian Schultz - two middling prospects. Halak has a safety net in Ty Conklin but he has a big beard to fill, coming in and taking Chris Mason's job. That St. Louis was able to take Montreal's playoff hero and not have to give up blue chip blueliner Alex Pietrangelo was a pleasant surprise and should be quite the boon if he can live up to half of the hype. TJ Hensick (Colorado) and Vlad Sobotka (Boston) were also added in the offseason but neither one will be called upon to star.
Last Year: Saturday, January 16th, 4-1 Blues win and Thursday, March 18th, a 4-3 Blues win.
This Year: Sunday, November 7th at MSG and Saturday, January 8th in St. Louis.
What They Mean To Blue: It is hard to say that they are a look at what we could have become with JD at the helm as the situation he stepped in to there was significantly different than the mess he walked away from here. But when you look at the four points the Rangers pissed away in two pathetic performances last season, you see two games where the Blues completely outworked the Blueshirts - something JD surely would not have allowed.