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Blues haven’t been this healthy in two years

Mar 30, 2012, 7:39 PM EST

Andy McDonald AP

It might be a bit much to call the St. Louis Blues “100 percent” healthy. That’s very much a relative term at this point in a grueling 82-game regular season.

Still, relatively speaking, Jeremy Rutherford points out that this the first time the Blues will enjoy their full roster’s strength since March 3 … 2010. That’s a whopping 160-game span.

Of course, this is assuming that a bundle of Blues return on Saturday won’t have any setbacks. Andy McDonald, Roman Polak and Matt D’Agostini are the players expected to come back to the fold. (Polak has been sidelined especially long, but McDonald is likely the biggest impact player.)

Obviously, the Blues have managed just fine while piecing together that roster as they currently lead the league with 106 standings points. Still, T.J. Oshie marveled at an already-deep team’s staggering depth after watching everyone in action during practice.

“I was in the middle of one of the drills (at Friday’s practice) … we were doing 5 on 5 and it seemed like every line was battling with every line,” Oshie said. “It wasn’t one line dominating another. I looked over at (Carlo Colaiacovo) and I said, ‘We’ve got a really deep team when everybody is out here.'”

Want an idea of what the Blues might look like at “100 percent” strength? Here are Rutherford’s expected line combinations for Saturday:

Forwards

Alex Steen-David Backes-T.J. Oshie
Andy McDonald-Patrik Berglund-David Perron
Vladimir Sobotka-Jason Arnott-Jamie Langenbrunner
Matt D’Agostini-Scott Nichol-Chris Stewart

Extras: B.J. Crombeen, Ryan Reaves, Jaden Schwartz, Chris Porter

Defensemen

Carlo Colaiacovo-Alex Pietrangelo
Barret Jackman-Kevin Shattenkirk
Kris Russell-Roman Polak

Extras: Kent Huskins, Ian Cole

Goalie

Jaroslav Halak
Brian Elliott

Naturally, Ken Hitchcock faces his latest coaching challenge in mixing all these “new” ingredients properly, but that’s likely a good problem to have. It’s not a very familiar one for St. Louis, though.

  1. bluesfan72 - Mar 30, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    Getting healthy at just the right time. Let’s go Blues!

  2. donttoewsmebro19 - Mar 30, 2012 at 9:36 PM

    A very HEALTHY blues that still lost and got completely out played and dominated and not to mention out shot 20 to 45 by a Chicago Blackhawks teams with out there number one center and best forward in Jonathan Toews and there best defense men in Duncan Keith. not to mention Chicago Taking the season series at 4 to 2. Its nice to see all the fair weather blues fans surfacing at just the right time ;).

    • mickeyb21 - Mar 30, 2012 at 10:47 PM

      Did you not read the article? It said the Blues were still missing three players against the Hawks. The biggest was Andy McDonald who is almost a point per game player. So congrats Chicago on beating a Blues team, in the shootout no less, that’s been missing at least one top six forward for 160 games.

      • comeonnowguys - Mar 30, 2012 at 11:28 PM

        Yeah, it’s not like the Blackhawks were missing two of their best players. Oh wait, they were AND they outplayed the blues.

      • mickeyb21 - Mar 30, 2012 at 11:50 PM

        Wasn’t saying that the Hawks weren’t missing any of their players. Just stating that calling the Blues very healthy was untrue. Also, the hawks may have outplayed the Blues in this one game, but they still needed the shoot out to win. That skills completion will really be helpful come playoff time…oh wait

      • comeonnowguys - Mar 31, 2012 at 9:58 PM

        Snark all you want. Blackhawks’ still have the Blues number. You can throw seeds out the window.

  3. cintiphil - Mar 30, 2012 at 10:33 PM

    We only hve minor league hocky in Cinti, but I do watch the big leagues. it seems to me that the Blues have about 106 points. How may does the Blackhawck team have, about 88? I dont’ know what you are tryng to say, but the Bleus are a much better team than the Hawks. It could be too, that the Blues had no injuries during the season. Is that possible?

  4. drez146 - Mar 31, 2012 at 2:54 AM

    I would love to c the hawks in a matchup in the playoffs with home ice, u can have all ur mad house on whatever street, the blues will dominate u at the Scott, oh and BTW ur still the 6th seed so hope u get out of the first round

  5. cableguymike - Mar 31, 2012 at 4:28 AM

    Whoa whoa whoa. The Hawks are the most well managed team in the league! Oh wait…

  6. zwilhelm16 - Mar 31, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    Blues are better than the hawks flat out they got outplayed the other night yes. They blues still fought back and took it to a shootout. There are no shootouts come playoff time

  7. donttoewsmebro19 - Mar 31, 2012 at 10:24 AM

    look at all these fair weather blues fans showing up now!!! I remember going to St Louis to watch the hawks play and the arena was completely empty. you could get good glass seats for cheap and no one was around you. For all you people that say the blues are better then the hawks. look at the season series the hawks won 4 out 6 which do the math and the blues won 2. So in a playoff match they technically would have won. You see the hawks have playoff experience. They know what its like to go into a game 6 in ot and win. They won a little thing called the Stanley cup, I know you st Louis fans have never seen it but its a big shiny thing. that’s might be a little easier for you to understand. you act like the hawks cant win in ot when i pretty much saw all 4 games were complete blow outs to your standards you even suffered one at home. So you lost 4 out of 6 to the hawks. Got 3 to 5 goals against which your teams usually doesn’t have that happen to them. Out shot each time except once and even having your history making penalty kill stopped. So i would have to say the hawks have the blues number. This is also for the Fair weather blues fan it doesn’t matter if your the first seed or the last seed in the playoffs just as long as you get in then anything can happen. It depends on what team is hungrier to win and playoff ready. A very depleted Chicago team last year (8th seed) Took the western conference leading (1st) Vancouver canucks to a game 7 in Ot. And could have almost won it had sharp sunk that pp shot. So really anything can happen. So dont act better then anyone cause you never know San jose sharks, La kings, Dallas stars or the phoenix coyotes can knock you out you never know. Thats what makes the payoffs so fun, guess what just be happy your in for the first time in since the 2008-2009 season so in joy it and see what happends you just never know.

    Fair weather fans at least get to know the teams history

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Louis_Blues

    • mickeyb21 - Mar 31, 2012 at 11:43 AM

      Hawks fan, you seem to only know the Hawks history for the past two years. What happened before that. Lets see, one of the longest Stanley Cup droughts in history. Did you know that since the Blues have been around the Hawks have only won one cup. Did you also know that “the Madhouse” had tickets that were nearly free along the glass just five years ago?

      Blues fans know their history with a record 25 playoff appearances. Yes the lockout destroyed the Blues. Now they are back and will be around for a long time. Not like Hawks who barely qualified last year and messed up all their RFAs and UFAs and destroyed their team in the process.

      Enjoy your six seed and good luck against the hottest team in the league. The Blues will enjoy home ice and our division title.

      • comeonnowguys - Mar 31, 2012 at 10:03 PM

        That’s all you can enjoy, seeing the lack of Cups in your team’s history.

  8. robbymac82 - Mar 31, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    Ummm…pretty sure two of those 4 Hawks victories came in a shootout, and last I checked thats not going to be of much assistance in April and May

  9. donttoewsmebro19 - Mar 31, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    dude i have been a hawk fan all my life i went through the dark days i could care less now i know the history but lets see were talking about the future right. see i know about hockey unlike you fans i and all the hawk fans been though the playoff series to know what it has to offer you haven’t. neither has your team your so confident you sound like Vancouver fans from last year and yeah we all know how that ended up for them. seriously you act like the hawks cant win in overtime all you guys saying there’s no shootouts in the playoffs i mean duh i know that. So what did you watch the last two game you were badly out played and out shot had your goalies not been as good as they were it would have been a blow out. The best defensive team huh i really just dont see it. Being out shot 40 to 20 kinda makes the hawks look like more of the defensive team doesn’t it.

    You really think the hawks hawks UFA’s and RFA’s are messed up lol really well take a look for your self http://capgeek.com/charts.php?Team=11
    i believe that there just fine they have the core locked up for many more years and enough cap space to fill with dept players so what the hell are you trying to say?

    The St louis blues on the other hand have a lot of decisions they have to make on there players going forward

    http://capgeek.com/charts.php?Team=27

    Just because your team is all a sudden on top seriously all you fair weather fans come out. Just think you guys could have drafted Jonathan Toews but you picked erik Johnson. and well we all know how that turned out for you.

    mickeyb21 why do you say such dumb things lets see for one you say.. Did you know that since the Blues have been around the Hawks have only won one cup. Yes i do and guess what is one more then the blues have won. So why say that 49 years it took whoo hoo guess what the bottom line is they still won it and st louis in all there year may have come close but couldnt just quite get it done with the like of Gretzky, hull, Brendan Shanahan , Al MacInnis,Grant Fuhr, the list goes on and on of all the great hockey players that were in your organization yet you have STILL never won a cup and you want to complain about 49 years haha. I have seen and kissed the Stanley cup been to the parade with 2 million other people. so sure 49 years was worth the wait even if i have only been on this earth for less then half of that.

    Again another dumb thing to say “Not like Hawks who barely qualified last year” Lets see where were the blues last year oh yeah they didn’t make the payoffs so i would like to BARELY make it then not make it at all.Watching playoff hockey is fun no matter for how long it last its always nice to have an extended hockey season and watch teams battle hard for something that matters. also hottest team in the league what are you talking about the 3rd seed wont be decided till the last day of the regular season it could be any of the 4 pacific division teams. So i can tell you don’t watch or know much about hockey at all just trying to defend you fair weatherness. I’m sure you jumped on board when the St Louis cardinals started winning last year as well. But if you live in St Louis you might as well its pretty much the ghetto with an arch lol.

    Here is another fun fact….

    If he plays, McDonald will try to help deliver the Blues’ first win at the United Center since Feb. 3, 2010. if you don’t believe me here is the link …………..http://blackhawks.nhl.com/club/preview.htm?id=2011021159

    The hawks last win vs the blues on there home ice 12/032011 5-2 B. Elliott in net so the hawks in the series have lit up elliott and halak each time 3 or more goals except once. I thought the blues were the 1 defensive team in the league hmmmmm

  10. mickeyb21 - Mar 31, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    donttoewsmebro19 you seem a little upset that the Blues are leading the Western Conference even though the Hawks have beat them a couple games recently. You bring up the fact that the Hawks have scored 5 goals against them before, yet leave out the games where they were shut out or scored only one goal.

    I do not appreciate being called a fair weather fan as much as you most likely would not appreciate it either. I have been a fan of the Blues since I was younger, watching Brett Hull, Al MacInnis, and Pavol Demitra. Sorry, I haven’t been as involved on commenting sections in the past, but that doesn’t mean I have not been watching and cheering on the Blues. Yes, the Blues have not won a cup yet, but this team is different. We may not win this year, but there are many years to come with a bunch of great players in St. Louis. Yes I was raised a Cardinals fan and lucky for St. Louis we had World Series championships to celebrate during the tough years and the great years.

    I understand the the Blues played poorly the last couple times in Chicago, but did you watch when they destroyed the Hawks in St. Louis just a couple weeks earlier? Teams have good and bad days, especially when they have played 14 games on the road out of 18. Now the Blues will actually have a healthy roster and see what this team is really made of. It might take a couple games, but they have those few games to figure it out before playoffs without having to worry about other teams.

    I know of very few over optimistic Blues fans. We know of our past and that the future is going to be very difficult, but we deserve the right to be excited. If the Hawks were in first, you would be excited and bragging and even more annoying than you are now.

    The statement about UFAs and RFAs refers to the summer of 2010 when your GM messed everything up. He had to overpay and trade a lot of players. Good for the Hawks for having their core together, but good luck getting a bunch of good parts to fill the rest of the pieces. Don’t worry about the Blues resigning their players. They are getting new owners and will be able to resign the important players. It worked very well last summer…can’t you tell by this season’s success so far?

    By hottest team at the end of the regular season is going to be the winners of the Pacific. They are going to be the one winning all their games at the right time. Maybe this year’s eighth seed will be another team getting into the playoffs by another team losing like last year, but the 3 seed will be winners coming on strong.

    Fun Facts for you: The Blues have yet to play this year with Perron, McDonald, and Steen all in the lineup. Those all all top six forwards. The Hawks have 0 shutouts this year. The Blues have 15 shutouts this year, one coming against the Hawks. The Blues have a GAA of 1.82. The Hawks have a GAA of 2.82. No matter how the last couple games ended (both in shootouts, which I think the Blues could have won in a longer overtime), I like the Blues odds.

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