National Hockey League | St. Louis Blues | St. Louis Cardinals

Pick Six: Blues Got Jobbed by the Refs, But Still Squandered Their Opportunities

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  1. If fans want to focus on the officials’ poor judgment…

…in the Blues’ 2-1 Game 4 loss to the Predators, be my guest. That was unquestionably the turning point in Tuesday’s game. Why the refs decided to punish one team harsher than the other in a simple scrum is beyond me. However, that’s not the main reason the Blues are down 3-1. They can’t score. Period. That’s not to say they didn’t generate scoring opportunities last night, because they did. Vladimir Tarasenko was aggressive nearly every time he got the puck on his stick. But whether it was the Blues in round one or the Predators now, the teams that are progressing this postseason receive superior goal-tending and find ways to score. In the second round, the Blues are accomplishing just one of those feats.

  1. The Blues also continue punt the limited opportunities…

…that are handed to them by the Predators. Take last night for example. The Blues received a power play of their own with 10:35 remaining in the game, then proceeded to take a “too many men on the ice” penalty. How many of those penalties did that make for the Blues this season? Eight-hundred? So be it, they got jobbed by the refs. Nothing they can do. Yet when they have an opportunity to erase the mistake, they commit one of their own that was completely avoidable. Compounding the issue, David Perron turns the puck over in his own end and James Neal is rewarded for his outstanding individual effort. American author H. Jackson Brown Jr. once wrote, ‘nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity.’ In this case, the expense for the Blues was a 2-0 hole in Game 4, and a 3-1 cavern in this series.

  1. One thing the Blues received against the Wild but has disappeared…

…in the Nashville series is contributions from role players. Joel Edmundson had two goals against the Wild. Vladimir Sobotka finished with three points. Jori Lehtera had two points in two games. Magnus Paajarvi finished with two points, including the game-winner in overtime in the series-clincher. Along with winning the series in five games, those contributions helped mask the fact that the entire second line for the Blues were no-shows versus Minnesota. But now that the club finds itself in a 3-1 hole against Nashville, the limited contributions by players like Perron and Patrik Berglund are magnified. To be clear, the Blues don’t find themselves trailing to the Predators solely because Perron and Berglund have been quiet, but it doesn’t help.

  1. The Cardinals (and all of us, for that matter) will continue to take the…

…good with the bad when it comes to Kolten Wong. Even though it’s only Wednesday, this week has been a prime example of Wong’s polarizing nature. One night (Monday) he’s aiding in the Cardinals’ demise and the next (Tuesday), he’s the catalyst in their victory. While some hold out hope that he has yet to tap into his potential, others have already decided that he does more harm than good to the Cardinals. He’s essentially a walking choose-your-own ending book. This is where I stand: We know what Kolten Wong is, because this is what he is as a player. He’s talented and maddening at the same time. He’s an enigma, yet consistently inconsistent all the same. My best guess is that he’ll remain this way his entire career, whether he stays in St. Louis or winds up moving to parts unknown.

  1. You knew Carlos Martinez would dominant last night and no…

…it had nothing to do with him ditching the hair extensions. At his best, Martinez has the confidence to throw any one of his four (sometimes five if he’s dabbling with the curve) pitches in any count. In the Cards’ 2-1 win over the Brewers on Tuesday, Martinez threw 16 of 28 first-pitch strikes, worked quickly (without rushing), and forced the Brewers into 12 ground balls (compared to six fly balls). I’m no pitching expert but he seemed like he wasn’t over-throwing, either. He trusted the movement on his pitches, and that movement was as nasty as we’ve seen from him. Granted, things unraveled a bit in the seventh inning but it was great to see Brett Cecil strike out Travis Shaw with a fastball on the outside corner to strand two-runners in a one-run game to preserve Martinez’s first win of the season.

  1. Former Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell nailed it when talking about the…

…Manny Machado situation. After Boston starter Chris Sale threw at Machado again yesterday, the Baltimore third baseman went off in a postgame session with the media. The entire incident started back on April 21 when Machado slid late into second base and spiked Dustin Pedroia. Machado immediately went to Pedroia’s aid, which indicated that the spiking was an accident. Pedroia missed a couple of games and in efforts to reconcile the situation, Eduardo Rodriguez tried three times to hit Machado on April 23. In that same game, reliever Matt Barnes threw a 97 mph fastball near Machado’s head and received a suspension. Following Boston’s fifth attempt to nail Machado on Tuesday night, Lowell noted, “You get one shot.” I completely agree. Rodriguez missed, game over. You don’t get five more attempts at Machado, I don’t care how slow his trip was around the bases following a home run on Monday. In what has been a rough week for Boston and the Red Sox, the situation is embarrassing.

More: Miklasz – Yeo, Blues: Stop Complaining About the Officiating and Score Some Damn Goals