Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

So-So Blues: Half-Empty?

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

So-So Blues: Half-Empty?

Article excerpt

Mike Keenan is off to Tucson, Ariz., that hockey hotbed, leaving Blues fans here on the Midwest tundra to mull their team's fate.

The czar of Blues Country is chatting with his fellow general managers in a town where ice, like his power play, is a mirage. He aims to improve the Blues and put referee Terry Gregson on report, possibly in that order.

Keenan had his trusty video eyes and clubhouse ears, Arne Pappin, make a tape of five plays that the Blues say Gregson misdiagnosed in a 7-3 loss to Philadelphia here Saturday.

It would have been easier to tape one pithy midgame comment from Ron Caron, the Blues' lonely consultant. Caron said: "I had high hopes for (Gregson) five years ago, but he went to sleep."

The Blues - one game past 50, one game from having 30 left in the regular season - are back where they started: at the .500 mark.

"Perplexing, isn't it?" asked Brett Hull.

The Blues are 21-21-9 for 51 points rank, tied for fifth among 13 Western Conference teams. As Keenan hobnobs in Tucson, he can't say this team is good enough on a given day to beat a given team.

The Blues finished 0-2 against Eastern Conference also-rans Boston, Buffalo and Washington and are 0-2 so far against Western leader Detroit.

But they are good enough to tie anyone, such as Philly and the New York Rangers on the road.

And they are bad enough to lose to anyone, ending San Jose's opening 11-game winless streak and Ottawa's 19- 17-game home winless streak.

For dry Blues fans, the Stanley Cup can look half-full or half-empty.

The half-full crowd can toast:

Grant Fuhr, who has helped the Blues give up just 2.76 goals a game, is a floppy goalie and a standup guy.

Unlike Patrick Roy, who forced a trade with a tirade after weathering a nine-goal beating, Fuhr said after being reinserted in the Philly debacle: "I started it. I might as well finish it."

The ex-skipper. Hull remains a goal-scoring machine on a team of mechanics. He also remains the one player who stands up to Iron Mike.

Tony Twist, the happy warrior, is more feared around the National Hockey League than a Fox TV official with a bright idea. …

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