In what is becoming one of our new features, we're reaching out to the SBN blogs of our opponents on Game Day to get a sense of the match-up from the other side. Today, I posed three questions to Laura Astorian--a.k.a "hildymac"--who is one of the managing editors over at St. Louis Game Time. Without further ado...
1. Of late, it feels like our franchises are a bit incestuous, between Hitch, John Davidson, and the Nikita Nikitin/Kris Russell trade. Obviously, Hitch has worked out quite well for St. Louis. On the flip side, how much will John Davidson be missed, and what will he bring to Columbus?
He'll be missed a lot. He's basically responsible (with Doug Armstrong, of course) for the current state of the team. Smart drafting will arrive for the CBJ, and Scott Howson won't be able to sabotage it. Actually, I wouldn't be shocked if his tenure isn't over with you. Davidson doesn't suffer fools gladly, and blunders like the Rick Nash debacle would never have been tolerated here.
Davidson will place quality over perceptions, and he'll make sure you never overpay for an underproducer. People think the Blues are cheap, but they're not -- thanks to him, they're just smart.
2. There are murmurs that the goaltending isn't as good for the Blues this season. Is that a concern, or is the team still good enough to overcome it?
I think that's a legit concern. Jaroslav Halak seems fine, but there's always a chance that Ells (Brian Elliott) will regress to the mean like nearly every Ottawa fan has been warning us about. That's fine, just as long as he doesn't regress too much. All his regression'll do is actually give the Blues a starter and a backup. The problem though is that it'll place a ton of responsibility on Halak and bump up the number of games played for him, increasing the chances of injury or exhaustion.
Come to think about it, considering the fact that we're the Blues and "injury" is our middle name, yeah, it kind of is a concern. Honestly I think the team's good enough to overcome it, but you need some sort of consistency, and they look like they're still working on that part.
3. Nikitin has become an important member of the Jackets' blue-line, playing in all three phases of the game. Time will tell if he's really a long-term answer, but so far so good. How has Russell worked out in St. Louis?
Pretty well. He's playing with Roman Polak, so they're making a good straight-up defensive pair. He won't get a chance for a ton of offense with Polak, who isn't offensive (at least not in that way). He also wound up being a +13 with the Blues, so I think Hitch's system agrees with him.
Our thanks to Laura for participating! Head over to the SLGT for their Game Day Coverage!