Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday Studmuffins: Detroit Red Wings Pavel Datsyuk

I get down to St. Louis about once a year for a Blues game. Today was my first contest so far this season, my first ever in which hated division rival Detroit Red Wings were the opponent. I've actually never seen Detroit play live, and as much as it pains every fiber in my soul to say so, it was an impressive feat to watch them skate, pass, set up in the zone, and ultimately dominate the St. Pat's weekend vibe happening inside the Scottrade Center -- even in the cheap seats -- and around the city.

The Blues are still in last place in the Central Division, but things are so skewed in the conference right now, that they were a mere two points away from squeezing into the eight spot before today's puck was dropped. Though most of the first period was scoreless, the Blues lit the lamp first late in the frame, an incredible behind-the-net pass from Andy McDonald to T.J. Oshie, allowing them to take the first intermission with the lead. It was only four minutes and change into the second, however, when Pavel Datsyuk netted the equalizer, the first of three Detroit goals in a span of 46 seconds. In fact, goals one and two were only 10 seconds apart, not even sufficient time for the PA announcer to share the details.

The Blues would get another tally several minutes later, but that effort would quickly be undone by another Datsyuk goal, their final score before a Henrik Zetterberg empty-netter in the third. The goals for Datsyuk were 30 and 31 on the season, which, including his 66 assists gives him a team-leading 97 points halfway through March. The Blues, though their roster has changed significantly, appear to be the same team they were last year and the season before, one with a ton of defensive breakdowns and the inability to gain the offensive zone. If they make the post-season, it will be quite the feat, one I doubt that the club I watched today is capapble of pulling off, especially in any circumstance when they face clubs with proven production machines

like today's HoG Saturday Studmuffin.