The St. Louis Blues could not pick their down teammates up on some nights during the NHL season. This spiraled into long slumps. The opposite is true right now in the World Championships.
Not every member of the St. Louis Blues is clicking on every cylinder on every night during the 2018 World Championships. That is the nature of hockey.
However, though purely coincidental, it seems the Blues are doing for their international teams, what they could not always do in the NHL. They are picking up for their teammates when they are down.
Now, as mentioned, this is purely coincidental. For example, Colton Parayko scored for Team Canada in their opener, but Tage Thompson got an assist and the win. It was a big night for the American, gaining some bragging rights for the upcoming year.
However, since then, Thompson has been mostly a non factor. He did not get on the score sheet in the Denmark game and barely played in Team USA’s 3-0 win over Germany. In fact, the Blues prospect only played four shifts for a total of 2:40 on the ice.
Conversely, his Canadian teammates have picked up their game considerably. We discussed their contributions to a big win over Korea.
Despite the Blues Canadian players failing to score a goal for the first time in three games, they still managed four points in a 7-1 win over Denmark. Brayden Schenn set up two goals for Canada and his linemate, Jayden Schwartz helped with another. Parayko picked up his third point of the tournament with his first assist.
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There have been several comments made in online forums asking why these guys could not do this during the season, especially in the case of Parayko. The answer is it is simply different.
It is much easier to go out and play with a free style and tempo when you’re playing with other All-Stars. It is also a completely different mindset playing in a tournament where you know there are a set number of games in a short span. You are not trying to pace yourself for a long season.
Yes, it is disappointing that our guys are playing in a somewhat meaningless international tournament, but at least they are doing well. I’ll take that over just thinking they are all out golfing.
Elsewhere, Ville Husso got his first playing time of the tournament. He backstopped Finland to an 8-1 win over Latvia. Husso stopped a breakaway and several chances in tight. Oddly enough, the only shot to beat him was a seeing-eye shot from distance.
After scoring the game winning goal against Slovakia, it was all quiet on the Dmitrij Jaskin front. He had little impact in a 3-2 loss to Sweden. The Czechs are currently in fifth place in their group with two points in two games.
Team USA leads their group after three games. Canada trails the Americans by one point and Finland is two points behind but have a game in hand as of writing this.
Another interesting thing will be what happens once group play is done. Not always, but often these IIHF tournaments re-open their rosters once the preliminary round is over.
This gives the teams a chance to add more players from teams eliminated from the playoffs or those that just needed a break before coming over. So, in theory, someone like Alex Pietrangelo could be added to Team Canada at a later date. As of right now, there are no rumblings about that happening.
For right now, this is a nice transition away from the NHL season. If nothing else, it gives us something to focus on instead of trade hopes that may never materialize or free agent talk that mostly likely won’t happen. The summer is long, so this is a nice respite while still seeing hockey.