Hey Gang, Chris here. Jen's busy so she tossed me the keys to Neale's Notes today, I'll try to bring it home safe and sound.
Our friend SK wrote in her game preview that she hopes the Ducks can just forget about the crap-tastic performance they put forth last night in Dallas. I have to disagree, somewhat. They played a couple of really great games last week (at San Jose and vs. Minnesota) but since then had gotten away with some less than solid performances. Hopefully they take that catastrophe of a first period against the Stars as a wake-up call to get back to the complete game they showed last week.
There was no morning skate in St. Louis today, but Eric Stephens of the OC Register passed along his educated guesses for the lineup the Ducks will put out against the Blues tonight.
Emerson Etem - Ryan Getzlaf- Corey Perry
Kyle Palmieri - Bobby Ryan - Teemu Selanne
Andrew Cogliano - Saku Koivu - Daniel Winnik
Matt Beleskey - Nick Bonino - Brad Staubitz/Rickard Rakell
Sheldon Souray - Francois Beauchemin
Luca Sbisa - Toni Lydman
Bryan Allen - Ben Lovejoy
And with the help of Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, here are the lines Stephens expects to see from the Blues':
Andy McDonald - David Backes - T.J. Oshie
David Perron - Patrik Berglund - Chris Stewart
Vladimir Sobotka - Alex Steen - Vladimir Tarasenko
Matt D'Agostini/Jaden Schwartz - Scott Nichol - Ryan Reaves
Ian Cole - Alex Pietrangelo
Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk
Wade Redden - Roman Polak
Andy McDonald is playing LW?!?!?
As for Jonas Hiller, last night the Ducks tweeted the following:
NOTE: HIller's lower body injury is not considered serious and he was removed primarily for precautionary reasons. #NHLDucks— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) February 9, 2013
Jonas Hiller (lower body) is day to day. Jeff Deslauriers recalled from AHL Norfolk. Jordan Hendry and Sami Vatanen sent down to Admirals.— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) February 9, 2013
With that update, here is Jen's interview with Laura Astorian of SB Nation's own Blues Blog, St. Louis Game Time:
Jen Neale: How's my Andy McDonald? How many good years do you think he's got left in him, given his injury history? I have his jersey and have not worn it since 'the trade' ruined my life (for a while). No joke, almost got in a car crash on the freeway when I heard about the trade on the radio.
Laura Astorian: Andy McDonald's doing just fine -- we're taking good care of him. I worry a lot too about his injury history, and often wish we could just wrap his head in bubble wrap to make sure nothing terrible happens to end his career too early. He's in his last year of his contract, and I think the Blues'd be nuts to not try to re-sign one of their most reliable scorers and the best puck carrier on the team.
JN: The Ducks are notoriously slow starters, save this year and the Cup year. Would you say the same about the Blues, considering how much they struggled at the beginning of last year (pre-coaching change) and how they're struggling a bit right now with three straight losses? In your opinion, what needs to be done to get the team back to its ass kicking style of the previous season?
LA: I think that it usually takes them time to find their bearings. A lot of folks thought that they were off to a rip roaring start this year, but some of the cracks were obvious from the second game. They need to work on playing together as a team, and then they'll be fine. I hope. I really, really hope.
JN: What happened in the playoffs last year? I made the definitive statement of 'don't worry, the Blues will beat the Kings'. Not cool, dude.
LA: Stupid Kings happened. To borrow a phrase from Mike Babcock, they were "touched by the wand of God." I think someone upstairs made the decision that it was Los Angeles' year for the Cup and there was nothing we could do to stop them. At least that's how I like to think of it.
Really what happened is that Barret Jackman broke Jaroslav Halak, Brian Elliott had an inner ear infection, and Kevin Shattenkirk was nervous. *sigh* Sad excuse, no?