Monday, March 15, 2010


Players say scoreboard watching part of the norm;
silver medalists Backes, Johnson to be honored

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- So what's the consensus in the Blues' locker room as far as being scoreboard watching is concerned?

Well, it depends on who you talk to.

Some can't help but check on the scores on a nightly basis, especially if the Blues have the night off. Some would rather not bother. They'd rather focus on what they have to do to improve the team's point total.

Regardless, the Blues are involved in the Western Conference's daily roulette wheel that could change with the spin of the ball. Leapfrogging seems to a daily occurrence.

"You come in and you see the scores of what other teams are doing," forward Brad Boyes said. "We're looking to get every two points that we can get. Other teams know there's going to be games played against each other, there's going to be overtime games, there's going to be three-point games. That's going to happen. It can change so quickly over two or three games."

Veteran forward Keith Tkachuk is another scoreboard watcher.

"Yeah, you scoreboard-watch," Tkachuk said. "I do all the time. But you've got to take care of your own business. ... We have to go on a serious run, there's no question about it."

And then there's T.J. Oshie, who says he doesn't pay any attention to what other teams do, just his own.

"I haven't looked at the standings ... I don't know who's playing who," Oshie said. "I don't know even how many points we're out. I just like to stay focused on what's at task. We can't do anything about it. I don't want to worry about the points or worrying about everyone else if it's going to affect my game.

"There's nothing we can do but control what games we play and how many points we get. I'm just looking at that next game ... two-point mentality."

The Blues are involved in that dogfight for what appears to be the final two spots in the west, along with Nashville, Detroit and Calgary. Minnesota, Dallas and Anaheim are right on the Blues' heels.

"We can only play one team at a time," Blues coach Davis Payne said. "We can't play Calgary, Detroit, Nashville and Colorado all in the same night. Other teams are going to take advantage of their opportunities. We have to make sure we do the same. It's as simple as that. If we start getting focused on other teams and other games and other situations or results, we're losing sight of what's important to us.

"We know there's a pace. We know that Nashville, Detroit and Calgary are setting a pace and it's a pace we've got to play above."

* Big Walt back in the fold -- Speaking of Tkachuk, the 37-year-old made his return back to the lineup in Sunday's 4-2 loss at Minnesota after breaking, then dislocating the pinky finger on his left hand.

"It's going to take some time to get your timing back," Tkachuk said Monday. "You've just got to keep your shifts short out there and keep battling every day and it'll come around."

Tkachuk's return gives the Blues a complete healthy lineup, and there is quite the logjam at the forward position.

Sunday's healthy scratches included Matt D'Agostini, Brad Winchester and Cam Janssen, who was eligible to return from a five-game suspension following a game on Feb. 13.

* Blues go green (and silver) tonight -- Prior to the game against the Avalanche, the Blues will honor David Backes and Erik Johnson for the silver medals they earned as members of the U.S. Men’s Olympic Hockey Team last month in Vancouver. The Avalanche's Paul Stastny, a St. Louisan and U.S. teammate of Backes and Johnson, will also be recognized during the pregame ceremony.

Fans will also paint the Scottrade Center green in the team’s second annual Monsanto Green Game.

All fans in attendance will receive a green Blues T-shirt, courtesy of Monsanto in recognition of the company’s continuing efforts to protect and responsibly use the natural resources of the planet on the eve of St. Patrick's Day.

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