Team USA may have crashed and burned in the World Cup of Hockey, but at least the St. Louis Blues have not. The players still representing the Note are having great tournaments.
Coming into the World Cup, St. Louis Blues fans were just hoping for no injuries. Anything other than that was extra chocolate icing on the cake.
Instead your plain, store-bought dessert, they’ve been treated to home-made cookies with real butter. The St. Louis Blues players have come out and proven they are guys to be counted on during this NHL season.
Team North America
What a pleasure these guys have been to watch. You do have to take into consideration how different this tournament is than an NHL season, but they’ve been lighting it up.
They did just that with a 4-3 OT win over Sweden to keep their hopes of reaching the semifinals alive.
Colton Parayko did not have a point in this game, but he made his mark. He led all North American defenders in ice time except for one.
As a player with only one NHL season under his belt, that is something of note. In a short span, Todd McLellan has been shown what Blues fans already knew – Parayko is already ready to take a huge next step.
The kid shows poise and leadership qualities beyond his years. The Blues should lock him up now, because it seems unfathomable that he does not live up to the hype.
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Poor Patrik Berglund. He’s been almost an afterthought, not gaining any playing time for his native country in this tournament.
That changed in the final round robin match. In less than nine minutes on the ice, Berg-dog as some call him, managed to have a huge impact on the game.
He scored a late, deflection goal to tie it at three goals apiece. While the Swedes would go on to lose, the goal was still important.
The point earned guaranteed them a spot in the knock-out rounds. It’s now up to Team Russia and Finald, both with Blues of their own, to decide whether the Russians or North America gets the last spot.
Berglund is what he is at this point of his career. One goal in the World Cup is not going to change that.
Still, any good performance at this point is good for the Blues. Call it a confidence builder if you will.
Perhaps he will carry that swagger into the NHL season.
I’m sorry. I know there are Canadian Blues fans. My own wife is Canadian.
I just can’t bring myself to cheer for the entire team. In spite of this, I’m very happy with the performances of Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester.
People can hate on Bouw all they want. Some of it is earned and some is just the usual fan hatred labled toward one man.
He’s had a good tournament though and has quieted many of the people wondering why he was included in the first place.
Bouwmeester got his first assist of the tournament when he assisted on Sydney Crosby’s goal to make it 1-0 in an eventual 4-1 win over Europe. He’s also not being used in junk minute situations.
Pietrangelo could not add to his point total against the grab-bag roster of Europeans. He did still register the second most ice time of any Canadian skater though.
Petro might not have a letter on his chest right now, but he’s playing like the Blues made the right decision to give him one when he switches to blue.
The round robin part of the World Cup wraps up on Thursday, September 22. Ex-Blues feature for Team USA as they take on Vladimir Sobotka and the Czechs.
There’s nothing to play for but pride for both sides. Hopefully the stars and bars can at least provide one night of entertainment.
With something to actually play for, it’s all on Russia’s shoulders. It does not seem likely that Jori Lehtera and Team Finland will stand in the way of Vladimir Tarasenko and his team getting into the semis, but stranger things have happened.
If we go the prediction route, I say more Blues will play well. I think the USA wins 3-2 and Tarasenko scores a goal in a tight 2-1 win over the Finns.