Dec 30, 2011, 10:32 AM EDT
Ever since Kris Russell arrived in St. Louis after a trade with Columbus, he’s been Ken Hitchcock’s warhorse on the blue line. He’s played a ton of minutes per game, he’s been productive offensively and more than sound defensively. To sum it up, he’s been exactly what the Blues wanted in a defenseman.
Now they’re going to divvy up his minutes creatively for the next three weeks (at least) as Russell is out with a groin injury. Yeah, that always hurts to read, but now the Blues have to hope Ian Cole can step in in Russell’s absence and make it work.
Russell was playing great in the Blues lineup along with Kevin Shattenkirk to provide great two-way play but without him they’ll need to get that spark elsewhere. Getting a bit more out of Carlo Colaiacovo would go a long way towards stemming the tide there.
As for Cole, it’s a big opportunity for him to join the likes of Shattenkirk, Russell, and Alex Pietrangelo as young studs on defense. Getting great play out of their younger defenseman is a big reason why they’ve turned it around under Hitchcock.
- In praise of John Tavares 5
- It’s New York Islanders Day at PHT 18
- McDavid on teams possibly tanking for him: ‘It’s pretty crazy’ 13
- Fanspeak: Lemieux (stunner!) voted greatest Penguin in franchise history 38
- Under Pressure: Mike Johnston 17
- It’s Pittsburgh Penguins Day at PHT 33
- Captain no more: Sharks strip Thornton of ‘C’ 47
- Tank defense: NHL changes up Draft Lottery format 54
- Fanspeak: Clarke voted greatest Flyer in franchise history 36
- Different tune: Moore hasn’t settled with Bertuzzi, says brother (Updated) 31