The Return of The Mac: Andy McDonald Returns with A Bang


Two more home games, two more wins for the Blues over the weekend. Ho-hum. 

Ah, but wait! Something potentially much, much more interesting than a simple pair of victories took place this weekend at the Scottrade Center. (Not to say two wins isn't interesting; I'll take back-to-back wins every day of the week.) Something that could have serious repercussions for the Blues in terms of what they do -- or don't do -- in the very near future. 

The game on Saturday was a good one, a hard-fought overtime win against the Colorado Avalanche. The goaltending was good but not great, David Perron went off for two more goals, and the Blues put together what amounted to a shooting gallery in the third period -- outshooting the Avs 18-4 -- without being able to knock a puck home. In fact, the Blues outshot Colorado 44-19 for the game, continuing a recent pattern of dominance over the Avalanche. 

Sunday's game, though, a 3-0 dismantling of the Sharks, had an extra element. Sure, it was a shutout, but that's not what was so special. (Though that is special.) Yes, David Perron scored. Again. But that's not what I'm talking about. I'm not even talking about the fact the Blues scored two power play goals for the second game in a row. (Though that is also really, really, really special.) 

I'm talking about the return of Andy McDonald and what it does for the Blues' offense. And what it does just might be something special. 

The San Jose Sharks are a really good hockey team. Joe Thornton certainly isn't what he used to be these days, but he's still a difference-maker, and the Sharks are a talented hockey team. And on Sunday the Blues made them look downright pedestrian. 

A big part of that was what McDonald brought to the table, as he immediately became the best pure skater on the ice for the Blues and used his speed to create problems for San Jose early on. He assisted on Alex Pietrangelo's wicked Al MacInnis slapshot in the first and used his speed to stretch the Shark defense out the whole game. To say it was nice to see McDonald back on the ice and doing what he can do would be a monstrous understatement. 

The speed, the grace, the puckhandling ability, the passing touch, it all looked to be there for McDonald, even with a shade of understandable rust still lingering. In fact, he looked very close to the playmaker we've come to expect #10 to be. 

Which raises the inevitable question, of course: is it enough? I wrote not too long ago about the Blues' need for offensive upgrades, and what form would be best for those upgrades to take. Do they need a shooter? A playmaker? Nothing at all? Yet another goalie, except this one strictly for offensive purposes?  

I said at the time they probably needed a playmaker, but the potential return of, oh, say, an injured Andy McDonald could certainly change that equation. And after watching McDonald on the ice last night, seeing the dimension he adds, I'm inclined to say it definitely does change the equation. Adding Andy McDonald is exactly what the Blues needed. 

Unfortunately, the continued dropping-like-flies of Blues players -- Jason Arnott and Matt D'Agostini being the latest casualties -- has pushed the equation right back where it was. The addition of McDonald could -- and should -- make all the difference in the world to this offense. Considering the sheer number of injured players the Blues are dealing with, though, McDonald alone probably still isn't enough. 

The status of McDonald and the other various injured players the Blues are currently dealing with will certainly affect the way they approach the upcoming deadline. Sadly, it seems the team is right back where it was: waiting for injuries to heal or making a deal. 

Still, it certainly was awfully good to see Andy McDonald back on the ice last night. Welcome back, Mac. 

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