Laps with Lippo
We touch briefly on a few topics and give our unsolicited two cents.
Lap One: St. Louis Blues training camp started on Friday and this camp should be a field day for those that have countless questions about the club. I am very intrigued to see the mesh in training camp between the Hitchcock philosophy and the future Head Coach Mike Yeo’s. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the World Cup of Cash Grab but this tournament might have benefited the Blues the most because it gives the middle of the pack players some additional looks.
I was asked a few times who I’m watching the most in camp and at forward it’s going to be Ty Rattie and Dmitrij Jaskin. It sucks that this is most likely the popular answer starting camp but so be it. The Blues have a gaping hole on right wing and it’s time for either Jaskin or Rattie to live up to their billing. Yes, the Blues could go the video game route and try different players out of position but the time is now for both these players.
On Defense, it’s Joel Edmundson. The Blues are loaded on the right side with Pietrangelo, Shattenkirk and Parayko but have as many questions on the left side. Blues fans favorite punching bag Carl Gunnarsson is a perfect fit as a 3rd pairing left defenseman and can provide quality minutes on the second pair. I want a closer look at Edmundson because I don’t really think anyone knows his ceiling. Can he be that second pairing defenseman that plays 16 – 22 minutes a night? His development into a top four defenseman could be the most underrated story of the season if everything progresses.
Lap Two: Alexander Steen just re-upped with the Blues for four years at 5.75 million per year. The #NoShit response is that it’s a questionable deal at the end of the contract. Granted, it is a risk paying that money to a 37 year old but the Blues protected themselves by making it very buyout friendly in case of decline. Plus, knowing the shit show as the NHL. They could have a lockout by then and Steen might just say fuck it and hang them up when they start back up.
The big focus should be on the PRESENT. This is a great deal for the club the next two years. Everyone on the Blues last year said Alexander Steen is their best all-around player. He plays the point on the power play, 20 minute a game forward and will get some Selke Trophy love this year now that David Backes has left. Look at most the free agent signings. You’re not going to get an Alexander Steen on the market the next few years at 5.75 million dollars. Sorry to break it to the prospect freaks but the Blues do not have a forward version of Steen anywhere ready. Enjoy the present and worry about year 4 of the contract when it arises.
Lap Three: United States shits the bed during the World Cup of Hockey. I really hate this tournament but I think it was a blessing in disguise for USA hockey. There were questionable moves up and down the board pre-tournament but I think regardless it was shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. They were going to lose and most likely lose in this fashion. Coach Torts went with the roster he thought could be most successful and it backfired. Here’s the good news. This bed shitting in a pointless tournament should ensure that this mistake will NEVER happen again in international play.
This isn’t a bad time for USA hockey, it’s just a time where there’s a bridge in top end talent. There’s loads of skill in the system top and bottom but that skill is not ready yet for prime time hockey. Every professional team goes through re-tooling or transitional stages and for USA Hockey, this is a transition time.
Lap Four: The St. Louis Cardinals enter their last stretch and who the hell knows what is going to happen. Is this the most baffling team you’ve ever witnessed? You expect them to win and they lose. You rule them out and they go on a streak. Making predictions is pointless so all I can hope is that we see playoff baseball.
Does anyone else but me daydream how things could’ve been different if David Price signed here? The Cardinals monster offer for him was proof that they knew there were potential issues in the rotation. A Price – Martinez – Wainwright – Reyes rotation going down the stretch would’ve been fun to see. We will be touching more on hot stove league topics later but don’t be shocked to see the Cardinals chasing some big names that might be for “Sale” in November.
Lap Five: I am a degenerate and love me some waging on the football. Here are a few of my picks for the weekend.
- Florida St. -4
- Michigan St. -3.5
- Oakland Raiders -1
- Minnesota Vikings +7
- Teaser Special (3 Teams / 10 Points) Seahawks +.5 / Steelers +6 / Dolphins +1