I caught up with Blues’ D-man Carlo Colaiacovo just before the team flew out to Nashville. Snapping their losing skid this weekend against Ottawa and New Jersey, his role on the powerplay, and how the team can maintain this momentum were among the topics Carlo and I talked about. As always, you can check out the transcript of our interview on Hank’s Sports Blog.
Keys to snapping the slump
After getting off to their best start in franchise history, the Blues were ravaged with injuries and essentially went into a tail-spin, losing its next 5 games. That 5-game skid included an 8-1 thrashing from Columbus and an odd 7-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings. That loss to the Red Wings was the fifth and final loss of that skid for the Blues, but Detroit’s final 4 goals of that game came in a short 3-minute burst midway through the third period.
The Blues returned home following that loss in Detroit to take on the Ottawa Senators and New Jersey Devils. It turns out that some home cooking was all the Note needed to bounce back. Yes, Ottawa and New Jersey were struggling heading into the weekend’s games. However, given how poorly the Blues had been playing, no one really knew what to expect heading in.
Carlo told me that it helped playing in Scottrade Center again, but that it was important for the team to get back to the style of play it utilized earlier in the season.
“Obviously, this year we have been a really good team at home and basically getting back to the style of play that made us really successful for the first handful of games this season,” Carlo said. “We made it clear to ourselves that we can’t be making excuses and we still have a good enough team and good enough players to win hockey games.”
When I interviewed Andy Strickland a couple of weeks ago, he told me that he didn’t realize how much the Blues’ powerplay relied on Carlo.
“I didn’t realize Carlo Colaiacovo was this important to the powerplay and he really is,” Andy said. “I knew he was important and in some ways he’s their quarterback and he’s the best in distributing the puck on the power play from a defensive standpoint. He’s really good at it. He’s also good at getting the puck into the zone and being able to make that first pass to really get things moving”
Andy was right. At the time of the interview, Carlo had been out for the last 7 games due to a concussion he sustained after taking a big hit from Nashville’s Jordan Tootoo. Without the 27-year-old defenseman in there, the Blues were an astonishing 1-27 on the powerplay. However, since Carlo’s return on November 16, the Blues have scored at least one goal with the man-advantage in each of those games.
Despite seeing their goals against total nearly triple during their 5-game losing streak, the Blues still rank amongst the NHL’s top 10 in goals against. Obviously a lot of credit has to be given to the goaltenders, Jaroslav Halak and Ty Conklin. However, the Blues’ defense has been spectacular in not allowing shots to get through and controlling opposing offenses once they enter the zone.
“You know, we were one of the best teams road teams in the league last year and I think we gotta get back to that and if we can get back to that then we’re going to be right at the top where we were. Right now we just gotta focus on continuing to do the little things and make sure we don’t get stuck in a funk like that again.”
“We’re not going to win too many hockey games when we try to run and gun with teams, I think. Our record shows a lot of the wins we have, we’ve been winning a lot of close games and low scoring games, so I think we have to continue that trend.”
“I think the one thing you see about Jaro is he’s got such a calm demeanor in the net he tries, doesn’t try, but he basically does make everything a little bit easier than it looks, which is a huge sign of confidence for himself as well the guys playing in front of him.”
The Blues faced off against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier this season and will play Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals to open up the month of December. I asked Carlo about what it’s like to play against two of the leagues superstars in “Sid the Kid” and “Alexander the Great”.
Filed Under: St. Louis Blues
About the Author: Sophomore journalism and business student at Mizzou from Saint Louis. Sports staff writer for The Maneater (MU's student newspaper) and Intern for InsideSTL's One to Three Show on 590 The Fan KFNS. Die-hard Blues fan. Twitter: Brian_Haenchen Check out my blog! http://hanksportsblog.wordpress.com