Depending on whom you ask, St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo is either a stride behind, a stride ahead or just-plain-equal to semi-famous Los Angeles Kings blueliner Drew Doughty. In fact, he might have enjoyed a demonstratively better 2011-12 season. Wherever you stand there, the Kings will get the upper hand in that battle in Game 2 because Pietrangelo won’t even be on the ice according to Dennis Bernstein.
In fact, Bernstein reports that it “may be longer than a one-game absence.”
The talented, under-the-radar defenseman didn’t leave Game 1 right away after taking a controversial boarding hit from Kings winger Dwight King but eventually missed the rest of the contest. St. Louis was upset that King didn’t receive a double-minor or even a major penalty for that hit, but either way, the Blues fell to the Kings (and King) in Game 1.
The Blues are a team that’s very familiar with fighting through key injuries – particularly “upper body ones” as we’ve seen with Andy McDonald and David Perron in particular – but Pietrangelo joins David Backes as the most “indispensable” players on a deep roster. Beating the too-good-to-be-an-eight-seed Kings was already a tough task, yet doing it without a borderline Norris-worthy defenseman will be that much tougher.
Ken Hitchcock’s Jack Adams credentials will be put to the test once again – starting tonight at 9 pm ET on CNBC.