The Blues opened this curious season eight weeks ago, and already the schedule’s more than halfway done. Give it six more weeks and it’ll be a wrap, a relative blink after the angst of a protracted lockout.

Compact the games and heighten the drama. True, playing 48 games contradicts the value of an 82-game grind, but one can’t argue with the drama that this format projects.

One week – no, one game – the Blues appear as sleepwalkers on ice and the next they seem revitalized despite rampant injuries within their front lines. Projected strengths become weaknesses. Supposed bit players emerge as season-savers. Supposedly gilded in goal, the Blues now find themselves performing roster calisthenics at the position by carrying three men where the rest of the league needs two.

“It is,” as general manager Doug Armstrong describes, “a unique situation.”

Coach Ken Hitchcock refrained Tuesday night from publicly naming tonight’s starting goalie against the Phoenix Coyotes. For Hitchcock, this seemed out of character. For the situation, perhaps it’s to be expected.