Well the Olympics are over and it's finally time to go back to Jobing.com Arena to start the stretch run into the playoffs. Everyone except for Scottie Upshall and Kurt Sauer will be back for the Coyotes, though Anders Eriksson has been waived. Not likely to be any takers, so he'll be down in San Antonio. The Coyotes will take on the St. Louis Blues to get back in the groove of things. While The Blues aren't totally out of the picture in terms of the playoffs, they have a lot of teams to leapfrog to get there. I talked to St. Louis Gametime's Brad Lee to get the scoop on what's up with the team this time around and to see if there's another comeback in the cards for them this year...
Travis: So last season the Blues made an amazing come from behind charge to get into the playoffs. Any chance of a repeat this year?
Brad: Maybe. Right now they enter the last 20 games four points back, but they have to pass four teams. Last year the secret to their success was goaltender Chris Mason who has been fairly pedestrian this season until right before the break. He had arguably his two best games in a 4-0 shutout of Toronto and a 4-3 shootout win over Washington. He should be well rested when they take the ice Tuesday night.
Travis: So what's been the difference for him this season? DId he shave the beard off or something?
Brad: at the start of the year, yes. But it's in full effect now. He got a little Manny Legacitis. Career backup is the starter. Hits his early to mid-30s. Is in a contract year with a backup that's challenging him for playing time. Craps the bed for awhile. Legace couldn't pull it back together. Mason might.
Travis: Now that the Olympics are over are our Canadian players safe from David Backes?
Brad: Have you seen the photo of him with his silver medal? (He's the one on the right) That dude is pissed off. So, no.
Travis: Even if none of our guys were on the team?
Brad: He might show mercy.
Travis: With the Deadline tomorrow will Keith "Dunkin' Donuts" Tkachuk and Paul Karyia still be on the roster after this game?
Brad: They both have now trade clauses. Tkachuk has said he wants to retire a Blue. But if Boston comes calling for some reason, he might change his mind. I think the Blues would give Kariya a scenery change in a heartbeat if they got a decent offer. Unfortunately his $6 million cap hit for two goals scored in St. Louis all year (the rest have been on the road) may make him untradeable. I've argued that while everyone complains about the lack of a good puck moving defenseman who can play the point on the power play -- something every team in the league needs -- they could use a rugged stay at home defenseman just as much. They haven't had a big physical presence who can clear out the crease since Pronger left (Jackman is undersized and doesn't count).
Travis: So then who are likely players to be moved? I've heard talk of Colaiacovo being one of the ones to go...
Brad: Carlo is a restricted free agent. Rumour (Canadianized) has it that the Blues tried packaging him to Atlanta for that one often injured goalie with the girl's name. He's been healthy, a shock, in St. Louis. He's played well with the puck, much better than Eric Brewer. I don't think they'll trade him, but he could be a surprise.