Sunday’s loss to Nashville was a demoralizing punch to the gut for every Blues fan. One of the kind of punches that not only knocks the wind out of you, but also knocks the meat and potatoes you ate three hours ago up to the back of your throat. The only other teams with 22 road wins are the San Jose Sharks and Washington Capitals. The only team with less than 15 home wins is the Blues at 12. How does this happen?
I was in Boston for St. Patricks last week visiting family. I have a niece (6) & nephew (3) whom live there & another niece visiting from St. Louis with my mother (6). My sister whom lives in South Boston has many friends with kids around the same age in the neighborhood and they were all playing together during my brother in laws brother’s party. All of the kids are in Irish step dance groups, one of which has won numerous awards. I noticed was that whenever my mom asked the kids to do their Irish step dance while she had the camera out, they tried it, fumbled around, made a couple attempts, and then quickly found reasons to leave the room. Whenever we weren’t paying attention, they would line up, and go into their routine that they knew and do amazing dances. Why do they work like this? When it mattered and they were asked to with the lights on them, they folded. When it wasn’t expected, they nailed it. As a working musician, I’ve played hundreds of clubs, theatres, and recording sessions. When I was younger, I felt a lot of pressure and was often tentative in my playing. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that the fans/producers are just as nervous for me as I am, which puts me in the drivers seat. This is exactly why whenever I play/record now, I’m in charge and I know how to put on a show and do the right things at the right time.
The St. Louis Blues of 09-10 are a very young team. They were likely to fold under pressure and they did, too many times. This is not uncharacteristic of young teams. Had the Blues not had a roaring finish last season, we would all be nodding our heads and congratulating the progress of the players as they move closer to being a powerhouse. However, if you’ve smelled success, anything less is unacceptable, which takes us to right now. Whenever I think the Blues are done, they’ll sweep a road trip through western Canada or the NYC area or beat San Jose or Chicago. Whenever I think they’ll put a solid stretch together and climb into playoff contention, they crap their pants against the BJ’s or Oilers.
This is exactly why the Blues have been very wise in their trades or better yet, non-trades. If the Blues played in Canada or on the east coast, this team would’ve been blown up. In a market like St. Louis where fans take pride in how nice they are (who would cheer for Scott Rolen after batting 132 his first 2 months? St. Louis fans), this has worked to JD and Armstrong’s advantage. We’re watching these kids grow up. Keep in mind that Anaheim offered Pronger for Oshie. That’s quite a compliment for a player that many fans have become irate with. Like every fan of the Blues, I want to see success and a playoff berth, even if it means getting stomped by the Sharks or Blackhawks. However, I can recall when the Pens, Hawks, and Caps were doormats and the prices their fans had to pay to get to where they are now.
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Written by Patrick McLellan