posted on May 03, 2012 14:52
Alex Pietrangelo will play tonight for the St. Louis Blues according to Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times. For those looking for an indication or at least a reason to believe that the Blues have not lost their fight in their second round series against the LA Kings, the way they play with their top defenseman back in the lineup will be enlightening.
Pietrangelo is as important to the Blues as a quarterback would be to the Rams (if they had a proven one). Down 2-0 and seemingly near the brink of elimination in Los Angeles, if their top defensman can come back and be effective, the Blues could regain the composure that led to a dominating (at times) performance in the first round against the San Jose Sharks, this series could turn around quickly. Don’t forget, the Blues did win their two road games in that first round series after an average road record in the regular season.
In other Blues’ news, reports out of Russia have Blues’ top prospect Vladimir Tarasenko listed as an alternate on Russia’s World Championship team. Tarasenko, the 16th overall pick in 2010, had intended to announce his decision on whether he would stay in the KHL or join the Blues next season in North America after the Worlds. It’s tough to speculate how Tarasenko will view being an alternate. Will he feel slighted by his country after a strong season and even stronger postseason with SKA St. Petersburgh in the KHL, or will he take this as a sign that he is not yet NHL ready. Nervous Blues fans will look no further than Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington’s own Russian prospect who just signed a two-year extension with his KHL team after some indications that he would come to North America next season. According to Dmitry Chesnokov, the uncertainty of whether NHL players would be allowed to play in 2014’s Olympic Games in Sochi played a big role in Kuznetsov’s decision. Will it play the same for other young Russian prospects who could stand to wait two years before joining the NHL, namely Tarasenko?
The Blues take on the Kings tonight at 9 on NBC Sports.