So, it looks like we're going to get to see Jim Vandermeer again tonight, right where I want him: on the fourth line, leaving Mark Giordano and Adam Pardy right where they are. I've been having a hard time with this whole quandary, actually. As much as Vandy wasn't exactly Scott Stevens to start the season, I generally like his angry presence and size in the lineup — just not as much as I like what Gio and Pardy have brought to the table since he's been out.
All that said, I also haven't convinced myself that a career defenceman is going to be aces as a right-winger just because he's a big body and likes to muck it up in the corners. That line does do more cycling and hitting than anything, and if I was Opposing Defenceman I wouldn't want to have to face a forechecking Nystrom-Roy-Vandermeer, but I think players grow instincts over time, and I'm also not really sure who's going to centre that line if, as Cruickshank suspects, this move bumps Boyd up to Bertuzzi's spot on the second line. (If that does happen, it's another fringe benefit of this whole injury gaggle, even if the benefit is only to prove bloggers like me right, that Boyd's been unreasonably hidden with the pluggers all season, and if only he could play with some OK linemates he'd be on pace for 88 goals.)
Also: This feels like the 10th time the Flames have played the Blues this year, because St. Louis is such a chore to watch. I know a lot of the feeling I'm about to describe has to do with their mountain of injuries, but I have to say it: What a boring-ass team. Frankly, even if Erik Johnson, Andy McDonald and Paul Kariya weren't broken, would they be that much better? Or better to watch? Everyone wanted to fall all over themselves to praise Andy Murray when he made the Blues respectable upon arrival a couple of years ago, but Ron Wilson is doing more with a crappier group than Murray is doing with Alex Steen, Carlo Colaiacovo and friends. Brad Boyes gets a bunch of goals but is a minus-23. Their second-leading scorer is still Keith Tkachuk. David Perron, Patrik Berglund and T.J. Oshie look to have futures, but don't look to be guys who'll lead a team for years to come.
Frankly, the only guy other than Oshie who I'll be looking for tonight is Janssen, who the Flames have had their eye on ever since he tried to take Brandon Prust's head off, and is definitely in competition now for League's Biggest Asshole (Who Doesn't Wear An Undershirt).
Prediction: Pete Loubardias has general words of praise for the games of: Cory Sarich, Daymond Langkow, Adam Pardy and Jim Vandermeer (Direct prediction for that one: "And Vandermeeeeer, has acquitte himself QUITE well for his first game back, I must say!" I kid 'cause I love, Loubardias has done a very nice job this year.)