St. Louis Blues forward, Andy McDonald is back on the shelf with his second concussion in as many years and the Blues have had to put him back on injured reserve before the season in more than five games old.
A hit from Dallas Stars forward Vernon Fiddler shelved McDonald for the last two games and looks to be out of the line up for a while.
After McDonald suffered his concussion last season, he went to see a specialist in Vancouver and returned not long after that. It has to be in the mind of McDonald and the Blues staff that it may be in McDonald’s best interest to see the specialist again if things do not improve for him in the next week or so.
We as Blues fans know how concussions can be and how unpredictable they can be. McDonald suffered his concussion last season well after David Perron suffered his concussion as Perron still hasn’t touched the ice in a game while McDonald has returned and has been knocked out again with another concussion.
The Blues are hoping McDonald’s symptoms subside soon so he can return the line up. He’s proven in his time in St. Louis, when healthy, he’s nearly a point per game player and that is something that the Blues are going to need if they want to succeed this season.
The Blues have been in a funk, dropping three of the first five games this season and have been struggling to control the other teams special teams in those losses.
One that that needs to be done to help settle things down is to simplify their game. They are running all over the ice on the penalty kill when they need to play the angles, take away passing lanes and don’t over commit and give a free lane to the opposition.
On the powerplay, the Blues need to stop trying to make the fancy play and trying to force passes when the lanes aren’t available. It’s about simplicity. Make the passes around the offensive zone and wait until the lanes open up. Make the hard, smart passes through the offensive zone.
I also believe that line changes need to be made. I’m the biggest Nikita Nikitin fan around, but I think it’s time to maybe sit him a game or two and give Taylor Chorney a look in the line up. It’s not that Nikitin has been playing bad, but the guys luck is just shot at the moment.
I also think that Evgeny Grachev needs to be given ice time with some better talent. While Jamie Langenbrunner is getting top line minutes, Grachev is lining up with Scott Nichol and Chris Porter. You have to give the kid ice time other wise he’s not going to produce like they want him too.
When Grachev was getting ice time in pre-season, you could see his offensive talent, but once they dropped him to the fourth line, you could see how his effectiveness dropped. However, Langenbrunner is used to that position and can still produce in a lower line roll. You have to work with the type of talent you have, and from how I’ve seen the team play, Payne and company aren’t using their players to maximum effectiveness.
Meanwhile, Jaroslav Halak played a much stronger game against the Ducks however wasn’t given the offensive or defensive support needed to get the victory. I’m expecting him to build off of his last game and have a solid start tonight.
As the Blues drop the puck against the Los Angeles Kings tonight, they have to be more effective in their game, other wise they are going to continue to drop games.