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The Blues’ Ability to Strike Offensively is a Welcome Change Under Hitchcock

I know I’ll regret writing this when the NHL postseason commences, but we’re to the point with the Blues where we almost expect them to hang four goals on opponents.

Anthony Stalter
101ESPN’s Anthony Stalter

That’s a weird feeling after watching this team under Ken Hitchcock the past four seasons.

This club is no longer forced to gain leads followed by holding on for dear life and running out the clock. They have offensive balance and quick-strike ability.

Vladimir Tarasenko, Robby Fabbri and Jaden Schwartz are natural goal-scorers while David Backes, Alexander Steen and Troy Brouwer can also beat defenses a number of ways.

The plodding station wagon that fans grew accustomed to under Hitch has been replaced by…(Google fast cars)…an Aston Martin One-77. Yeah.

Nobody is panicking about the Cards but…

I don’t know what’s worse; baseball fans overreacting to April wins and losses, or telling everyone to relax because it’s the first week of the season.

Any reasonable human being knows not to panic after one game of 162.

That said, while we’re all sitting around not panicking, I’m feeling a little anxious about Sunday’s 14 strikeouts in Pittsburgh.

I can’t help but wonder if last season’s offensive problems will rear their ugly head again this year.

Granted, Francisco Liriano was filthy and perhaps the Cards simply fell victim to a pitcher’s best stuff.

It’s also reasonable to assume the Cards won’t receive 2015’s production from their pitching staff. Will the offense wake up in this case?

The Cards could struggle in the NL Central if their power doesn’t off-set the strikeouts and their focus is again on elite run prevention.

That’s not to say they’ll sink to the bottom, but the Cubs and Pirates know exactly what their offensive identities are. It would be nice if the Cards established their offense early, April or not.

Fortunately it was just one game.

Here’s the thing about the Matt Duchene celebration…

Patrick Roy was none-too-happy with Duchene after scoring his 30th goal of the season Sunday. The center celebrated the goal as if it decided the Stanley Cup Finals instead of cutting the Aves’ deficit to 4-1.

While Roy was well within his right to call out the forward and question his team core’s leadership, he needs to ask himself why Duchene’s first reaction was to celebrate a personal accomplishment while getting a ass-kicking.

Is Duchene a selfish player? If yes and Colorado’s management believes Roy is still the right man for the job, then the front office should consider trading him this offseason.

That said, if Roy has cultivated a locker room where leaders play for the name on the back of the jersey instead of the front, then the Aves have bigger problems on their hands.

A Wide Array of Thoughts on Kaepernick/Broncos Holdup

I don’t know what to make of the Colin Kaepernick-to-Denver reports, but let’s start with the on-field aspect of the potential trade.

The QB would be a great fit in Denver. The defending champs will still have a stout defense and Gary Kubiak will ensure commitment to another run.

Kaepernick also has a better chance rehabbing his image winning in Denver than rebuilding in San Francisco.

Despite the thought he would be a perfect fit in Chip Kelly’s system, Kelly wants quarterbacks that are above all else accurate. Kaep has a laser for an arm, but accuracy isn’t is exactly a strong suit.

So why would Kaepernick refuse to take a pay-cut to get out of Santa Clara? After all, if he has a good year and leads the Broncos back to the playoffs he’s going to make much more than the $4.9 million that he reportedly doesn’t want to leave on the table in San Francisco.

Joe Flacco once bet on himself and that worked out quite well for the Baltimore signal-caller.

Then again, don’t take less than what you’re worth, right? At one point the Niners felt Kaepernick was worth the $13.9 million he’s set to receive this season.

Thus, why would he part with the $4.9 million that Denver is apparently asking him to cut from his scheduled salary?

Kaepernick is either incredibly confident in his ability or totally insecure about his future (which could be injury related).

Either way, it’ll be interesting to see if a deadline like the NFL draft compels the Broncos to make a deal for Kaepernick (with or without the pay-cut), given how Mark Sanchez currently tops their quarterback depth chart.

More: MLB Insider Says 2016 Cardinals Shouldn’t Count on Triple-A Help