The Sports Daily > Frozen Notes
10 thoughts from the Blues-Penguins opener

Hockey is back!

The St. Louis Blues finally returned to action after a very long summer, visiting the Pittsburgh Penguins on the same night the defending champs hoisted their banner to the rafters of the PPG Paints Arena.

If you follow @FrozenNotes on Twitter, you probably heard many of my thoughts from the opener, but here are 10 more from the wild OT victory.

This is the ceremony that never ends …

How long was that ceremony celebrating the Penguins’ Stanley Cup win last year? The answer is too long. Way, way too long. The Blues stayed in their dressing room for the bulk of it, but eventually skated out while the banner was going up much to the annoyance of Penguins fans who felt they were interrupting.

Well, don’t make the ceremony last 20 minutes if you don’t want the opposing team to get tired of waiting around!

The game finally started close to 7:30pm CST despite a scheduled start time of 7pm.

Brayden Schenn

We all knew Schenn was a great addition for the Blues, mainly because he was replacing a dude who could barely do anything despite skating with one of the best players in the NHL.

In his Blues debut, Schenn made an immediate impact, scoring a goal while creating several other offensive chances. He looked more threatening in one game against the defending champs than Jori Lehtera looked all of last year.

Things looked pretty promising. Until this happened.

Honestly, what was he thinking?

That’s one of the most obvious “closing hand on the puck” penalties you’ll ever see, and it resulted in a 5-on-3 and a goal for the Penguins. That diminished what should have been an outstanding debut.

That bizarre mistake aside, Schenn had a good game and should be fun to watch this year.

Speaking of Lehtera …

I can’t resist highlighting he was a healthy scratch for the Philadelphia Flyers in their opener.

Too funny.

What’s a penalty?

NHL officiating has always been puzzling. I guess it’s nice that some things never change.

The officials put their whistles away for an extended stretch in the opener, then suddenly decided to call the game tight. The Blues did benefit from one of those calls (a tap on the hands which was called a slash), but the overall confusion isn’t good for any player or fan.

Call things consistently. It really shouldn’t be this difficult. If you’re going to call the game tight, do it in a manner so players can adjust to what is and what isn’t a penalty.

The rookies

How did rookies Tage Thompson and Vince Dunn do in their debut? Neither of them grabbed the puck and chucked it down the ice, so things must have gone pretty well.

More seriously, it’s tough to assess either player in such a limited sample. Neither player had a shot. Thompson was on the ice for 11:26 while Dunn was out for 15:28. Dunn factored into more plays as a defenseman, but I’m still refraining on reading too far into anything.  It will clearly take some time for both players to get up to speed.

Leading by example

What a night for Alex Pietrangelo. Even with NBCSN butchering his name at every possible opportunity, Pietrangelo was dominant. He played his usual strong defense, and he also chipped in two goals of his own, including the winner in overtime. He also had eight of the team’s 34 shots.

Make it on pace for 164.

Can’t ask for much better from the captain.

In the circle

Teams appear to still be a bit hesitant in the circle now that officials are following the book and calling penalties on the second faceoff violation.

That being said, the Blues clearly need to work on their draws. They only won 41% of the faceoffs against the Penguins. That can be written off due to it being the first game of the year against a good team on the road, but it is an area the team can immediately work on.

What’s with the hashtag?

The Blues have a new hashtag for the season that will pop up the team’s logo when you use it on Twitter.

It’s … long.

Why is it so long? Instead of sticking with something tried and true such as #stlblues or something which is instantly recognizable, they went with their slogan for the 2017-18 season with STL thrown on the end. Seems like a shortsighted attempt to build a one-year slogan when there was an opportunity to build the larger brand.

When every character counts, no one has the time or space to type that thing out.

Strong start for Stastny

Back in July, I wrote that Paul Stastny needs to prove he’s worth a new contract. He may not ever prove he’s worth his current cap hit of $7 million, but he can prove he’s worth signing to an extension.

So far, so good. Stastny scored one huge goal to give the Blues what should have been a relatively safe 4-2 lead. He also assisted on Pietrangelo’s first goal.

Come on big contract year performance!

Welcome back, hockey

It’s easy to count down the days to hockey all summer long. Then, the calendar flips to October and all of a sudden the Blues are playing a game that actually matters. It’s shocking in all of the right ways.

Welcome back, hockey. We’ve all missed you.

2 thoughts on “10 thoughts from the Blues-Penguins opener

  1. Thank goodness, real hockey is back. I’ve been waiting months for this. The video from the Traverse City tournament didn’t really help (though it was fun, and about time the Blues got around to providing *some* way to get at it). Nor did the laughably light preseason video schedule.

    I have a confession to make – watching these games on the NBCS or FSMW sites on the computer makes it really easy to ignore things like interminable pre-game ceremonies. That said, it is asinine that the league doesn’t have *some* kind of rule in place to get these things done in a timely manner. Theoretically, it’s not substantially longer than the normal intermission between the end of warmups and the start of the game… but I’ve never seen it work out that way in reality.

    Schenn is quickly converting me to fandom – not that it’s a difficult task, having already removed Jori Lehtera from the team – and even the two PIMs for the moment the brain started leaking out of his ears didn’t hurt quite so much with him on my Game Time league team.

    I was expecting questionable things at best out of the third line (Thompson/Sundqvist/Paajarvi), but having mostly not noticed them this game, maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world until Steen can get back and restore a little more normalcy to the lineup. Similarly Dunn, who didn’t get worked over horribly on a night when Trouba showed exactly how that’s done.

    The fourth line was also fairly quiet, which is certainly nothing to complain about. I wonder, though, how that will hold up in the long term compared to the last couple of years with Reaves making waves there. It’s one of those things I have my eye on, particularly compared to last season, when the fourth line was downright good at times.

    Two goals from Petro, one from Parayko, and Schenn and Stastny for the forwards? If you’d told me that before the game, I’d have taken it in a heartbeat. … … … Shattenkirk who? Well, we’ll see about that in the long term, but this was certainly a good start to the post-Shatty era.

    Meanwhile, that new hashtag? I expect to never use it. I’m conditioned to type #stlblues, and on the rare occasion that I feel the need to tweet from the arena, there’s no way I’m tapping in that many letters on the on-screen keyboard. All that to say nothing of it being relatively uninspiring. As a St. Louis sports teams general tag (length aside)? Maybe. It has zero feeling of Blues-specificity, however, outside of the bluenote emoji tacked on to the end of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is one thing I forgot to highlight – goals from the defense. What a nice surprise that was. Equally as surprising was seeing Pietrangelo put two glorious chances on net rather than sailing them high and wide.

      Maybe this really is a new season.


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