Nobody could have possibly expected the Blues to be facing a crucial test this early in the season. A test that will potentially decide their fate. Now, time will tell if this team can overcome the adversity staring them straight in the Bluenote.
T.J. Oshie, most likely the Blues all-around best forward, is gone for at least three months, and possibly will miss the rest of this season. The 23-year old broke his left ankle during a scrum against Columbus Wednesday night when he fell awkwardly and pinned his ankle underneath his body. This happened in a game where the Blues lost 8-1 and looked like a team that was completely uninterested in playing a sport they get paid millions to compete. Maybe these forgettable nights will happen from time to time, but the injury will go down as a moment to remember.
So where do the Blues go from here? Will they fold as their energizer bunny is on the shelf and out of the mix? Or will they fight through this and rise to the occasion? In order to overcome the loss of Oshie, several elements must happen. Let’s be honest, this is a team that is very thin on offense. Players such as David Backes (2 goals in 14 games), Andy Mcdonald (2 goals in 14 games), Brad Boyes (1 goal in 14 games) and Patrik Berglund (4 goals in 14 games) must elevate their performance. If they are unable to do this, the Blues will be in trouble. Big trouble. Also, they need to get more offense from their blueline. Erik Johnson (1 goal in 14 games) and Alex Pietrangelo (0 goals in 14 games) must show why they were such high draft picks.
It will take more than just an offensive contribution to help offset the loss of Oshie. He brings energy, tenacity and passion to the lineup on a consistent basis. Who can replicate that role? Hello, David Backes, are you available? Good teams find ways to overcome and conquer. Colorado won a Stanley Cup without Peter Forsberg. No, I am not comparing these Blues to that Avalanche team. The point is, every player must decide if they want it bad enough. Are they willing to make a difference? Can they find an inner strength and take their game to another level? These are questions that are soon to be answered. The Blues lost their first game without Oshie in a shootout to Nashville. Oshie was a star in shootouts. They clearly missed him. Boyes, Mcdonald and Berglund were not able to solve Pekka Rinne in the shootout. The team had a chance in overtime as well on the power play, but failed to convert. Will this be a sign of things to come? Or will the boys in blue figure out a way to win games? Stay tuned.
About the Author
Written by Dave Frederick
Dave has spent more than 20 years covering the NHL for a variety of different media outlets. Most notably ESPN, Fox Sports and the National Hockey League.