Whether you’re watching in person, bundled up in a 40 degree Fahrenheit Slovakia or searching frantically for any kind of legal (or not-so-legal…) online feed or stream, keeping up with the St. Louis Blues at the IIHF World Championships has proven fun, interesting and downright jaw dropping. Performances by some of our players have been both inspiring, mind boggling and aggravating depending on who you’re rooting for. As evidenced in my last post concerning the Blues at IIHF WC’s, the boys in Blue have put on a dazzling show and more often than not have been crucial factors in victories (and even, at times, puzzling and crushing defeats [see: Norway's win over Sweden from 4/30]).
The St. Louis Blues website has been keeping track of each player at Worlds and updates it after every game. It’s easy to glean how well, in a general sense, the ten Blues players and prospects have been doing but those keeping track in-depth can give you a better idea.
Alex Pietrangelo played the role of Canadian Hero during yesterday’s Team Canada versus Switzerland game. Chris Stewart, ever the trust goal-scoring sidekick, scored Canada’s third goal, which put them above Switzerland for a few fleeting moments. Switzerland tied the game at three a piece in the closing minutes of the third period, sending the game in to overtime. While overtime isn’t much a surprise to those of us watching NHL playoff games, OT in international play can be a bit harrowing in it’s own way. On an assist from New Jersey Devil and Team Canada teammate, Travis Zajac (who also assisted in Stewart’s goal), Pietrangelo finished the game putting Canada on top. Team Canada won 4-3 and is set to meet Team USA on Friday, sure to satiate any hockey lovers non-NHL-playoffs needs. Alex Pietrangelo now has two goals and one assist to his name during World Championships and has a dominating +6 rating. Chris Stewart hasn’t been tempered either, and has two goals with an equally impressive +5. [More after the jump...]
Patrik Berglund continues his reign of supremacy with Sweden and had another multiple goal game against Team USA. Tied at 1-1 in the beginning of the second period, Sweden’s boys came out fighting and scored three goals and blanking Team USA to head in to the third period at 4-1 in the Swedes’ favor. Berglund led his team in scoring, once in both the first and second periods. Sweden’s victory allowed them to jump over both Norway and USA, claiming the group and gave them three additional points to carry over to the qualification round.
Things aren’t all unicorns and glitter, though, as the hometown boy, Jaroslav Halak, hasn’t had the momentous start that was expected of him. The World Championships were seen as a stage that Halak could take, make his own and as a possible way for him to turn his less than stellar play around. In three games, Halak has a 1-2 record with a (not-so-shocking to Blues fanatics/stat lovers) 3.04 GAA and .880 save percentage. While it’s not a dire situation and isn’t necessarily an allusion to how he’ll play with the Blues in 2011-12, it’s still disappointing to see a player flounder both at home and abroad-at-home.
In completely different, and slightly still relevant, IIHF is offering a Q&A with former St. Louis Blue Pavol Demitra. You are asked to submit questions in english to [email protected] and potentially have him answer your question on the IIHF site. Email or visit the IIHF website for more details!