Why must the media always look for somebody to blame? The answer is simple. It’s an essential ingredient as to how we live our daily lives. We blame our girlfriends, boyfriends, husband, wives, politicians, managers, financial advisors, doctors, teachers, the chick at the bar who gave you crabs…sorry to go there! But you get the message.
So let’s try and figure out who exactly is to blame for the mess that is currently the St. Louis Blues. After getting off to a franchise-best 9-1-2 start, the team has gone 0-4-1. You can just feel their season slipping away, and it’s only November. It is certainly no coincidence the losses began to pile up when the injuries hit. Down goes Roman Polak. Down goes Barret Jackman. Down goes David Perron. Down goes T. J. Oshie. The Blues don’t have much depth to begin with. Take those players out of the lineup, and it shouldn’t be any surprise what the impact will be.
So what can be done about this? It is painfully obvious the team can not compete with their current lineup in place. The offense has been weakened, the defense has been torn and as a result, the goaltending has been shaken. We can look back and complain as to how management did not add much to the lineup in the offseason. This is a legitimate claim. The organization decided to keep the money in their wallet and go with this current roster. Nobody could have anticipated these types of major injuries, but it is your job as a manager to understand anything is possible. Well, the “anything is possible” scenario is upon us and the Blues managers now must take responsibility for their decisions, or lack thereof, in the offseason.
But why look back? Nothing good can come of that right? It’s like looking back at that gorgeous blonde you could have had in college, but were too drunk to do the right thing. Or was that just me? Seriously, what’s done is done. The Blues management failed to act, they failed the team, the fans, they failed themselves. So let’s look forward.
Can Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong pull off a trade to help alleviate some pressure? Probably not. Think about it, who can he trade to help turn this around? On top of that, it’s too early to start moving players. The team has preached patience to the fans, now they must absorb their own lectures. Patience! Eventually, Jackman and Polak will return and the defense will stabilize. Maybe now Blues fans will realize how valuable Jackman truly is. At some point, Perron’s concussion-related symptoms will be gone and he will return. That should immediately help the offense. ”Should” being the key word there. In the meantime, is there anything that Head Coach Davis Payne can do? I would like to see one piece of strategy he is using change. Let’s break up the Nikita Nikitin, Tyson Strachan pairing on defense. You have two very inexperienced blueliners paired together. Will this correct everything? Nope, but maybe it can help the defense become a bit tighter and give Jaroslav Halak a fighting chance. Speaking of Halak, he has definitely looked like an average goalie the past several games. But it is tough to judge performances when the team is missing key personnel.
So the bottom line here is to remain patient. I hate to sound like a “suit”, but there really is no other option. The walking wounded will return. Let’s just hope when they do, the Blues will still be in the hunt and able to make a run for the postseason. Until then, a message to Erik Johnson and the rest of the boys, stay away from golf carts.
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.