Stewart, Reaves, Huskins Benched for Game 2
Chris Stewart, Ryan Reaves and Kent Huskins won’t be participating in Game 2 for the St. Louis Blues. Instead, Matt D’Agostini, B.J. Crombeen and Carlo Colaiacovo will be sliding into the lineup. These roster moves give every Blues fan a lot to think about and talk about heading into Game 2.
Chris Stewart – It’s been the same story all season long. At time Stewart is strong on the puck and drives with it to threatening positions on the ice. At other times he is a shadow, looking like a player who just isn’t mentally focused on the game unfolding in front of him. Such was the case in Game 1 where Stewart played fairly well in the offensive zone but still resorted to old habits where he lacked fire, drive and motivation.
Matt D’Agostini will slide in and take Stewart’s spot in Game 2, a clear indication that Ken Hitchcock wasn’t pleased with Stewart’s effort and wants to shake things up. D’Agostini hasn’t been very impressive in 2011-12, tallying just one goal in his final 19 regular season games. Hitchcock is betting that while D’Agostini has struggled offensively, his work ethic and desire to earn a role in Game 3 will be a better contribution for the Blues than whatever Stewart might have provided.
Kent Huskins – The Blues want to find more offense from their defense. In Game 1 Kevin Shattenkirk fired 11 shots for the Blues, a clear indication that there is space and room for offense from the St. Louis defenseman. Huskins isn’t known for his offensive contributions and as a result will sit in favor of the more offensively talented Colaiacovo. Can’t blame this reasoning here as the Sharks continually allowed the St. Louis defenseman opportunities on net.
Ryan Reaves – Reaves played extremely well in Game 1 before taking a skate to the head. While it has been reported that Reaves is at 100%, B.J. Crombeen gets the call for Game 2. Lou Korac reports that Hitchcock views Reaves and Crombeen as essentially the same style of player, and doesn’t see any advantage/disadvantage by benching one in favor of the other.
Here is where fans will likely disagree. Assuming Reaves is truly at 100%, which is almost impossible to say with any degree of certainty, he should be the one back in the lineup. Reaves has proven that aside from explosive hits that he can control the puck and cause mayhem for the opposition as they try to exit their own zone. Crombeen on the other hand has struggled in limited playing time, rarely making a serious impact on the night’s proceedings. It’s reasonable to think Crombeen may elevate his game in Game 2 as he has struggled to earn a spot in the lineup for the past several weeks.