Relevant information from yesterday's
St. Louis Blues look to spark offense by changing lines
By Jeremy Rutherford
The Blues have changed their forward combinations. Whether or not this is what they’ll look like against Phoenix Thursday, I don’t know . . . but here’s what they’ve been showing in practice the last two days:
Andy McDonald-David Backes-Brad Boyes
Brad Winchester-Keith Tkachuk-Paul Kariya
David Perron-Patrik Berglund-T.J. Oshie
Alex Steen-Jay McClement-B.J. Crombeen
By my count, it’s the fifth different variation of lines since opening night. I didn’t have a chance to talk with Blues coach Andy Murray about the line changes, but when I do, I’ll post his comments in a blog.
Overlooked in the Blues’ recent losses is the play of Keith Tkachuk, who leads the team with six points (3 goals, 3 assists).
“If you look at Keith’s history here the last few years, each year he’s gotten off to a good start and been very strong,” Murray told the media today. “He’s around the front of the net, he’s screening goaltenders, getting in the way and using that big body. He’s been a good example in terms of work for the rest of our players as well. The key thing, from Walt’s perspective, is we have an 82-game schedule in which we expect him to give us that.
“I think what we have to manage with Keith is make sure he gets rest days, and so on. He’s very demanding of himself and pushes himself real hard. We need to make sure that when there is an opportunity to do it we conserve energy so he’s got that the second half of the season.”
Murray may be looking for chemistry between Tkachuk and Paul Kariya. After scoring two goals on opening night, Kariya has two assists in the last three games.
“We’ve seen some real positive signs from Paul, where he’s been dominant on the ice and other times where we’ve seen a little bit of rust,” Murray said. “So we expect him to get better game by game.”
Defenseman Barret Jackman may try and skate for the first time Wednesday since spraining his ankle in last Thursday’s loss to Atlanta. Jackman won’t begin the road trip with the Blues, but depending on his progress, he could join the team in Anaheim or Pittsburgh.