Are you, my beautiful, loyal, faithful audience growing tired of reading my articles blaming the St. Louis Blues management? If so, then definitely continue reading. I am going to place new blame on what is happening with the injury-riddled Bluenote. Ready? Here you go. It’s their vision. Yes, that’s right. Eyes. You know, those two balls (not those, you morons) that God (or Mike Keenan) gave us to see incredible sights with such as Girls Gone Wild Part 12. Allow me to explain, please.
Have you not noticed how many times the Blues shoot the biscuit wide? Way wide? I’m not talking about 40- foot shots either. Shots from the slot, shots from the dots, shots with nobody in front of them to screen their vision! Please tell me you have seen this ugly trend. This disturbing, repetitive behavior finally caused me to do some research. Or at least it forced me to tell my intern to do the work for me. What, you really think I’m going to waste my time looking up numbers to educate you future felons? Trust me, there are numerous advantages to having 19-year old interns. Female interns.
Back to the matter at hand. Actually not the hand, the eyes. Here are some interesting numbers. The Blues are 8th in the league at home with 225 missed shots. By 8th in the league, I mean they are the 8th worst team. For those of you who aren’t capable of mathematics, and I know that means most everybody reading this, that calculates to an average of 14 missed shots per home game this season. Yikes! They are 13th in the league with 405 total missed whacks. That comes to an average of nearly 13 missed shots for every game played. Eeesh! This my friends is not good accuracy. It may be worse than Rick Ankiel trying to find home plate.
Alex Steen “leads” the team with 55 misses. He has taken a total of 106 shots on goal. David Backes follows with 38 misses with 77 total shots on goal. Brad Boyes owns 34 misfires and 84 shots while Matt D’Agostini has 28 misses and 51 shots. This glaring statistic even impacted T.J. Oshie (remember him?). Before crushing his ankle, he had a total of 22 shots on goal and 14 misfires. Now this is certainly not the most glaring issue at hand. I must point out that Alex Ovechkin is first in the league with 67 misses and 155 shots. Then again, you would probably take that in a heartbeat since it is Ovechkin right?
The Blues misfired 23 shots in a recent home shootout loss to Carolina. In regulation. 23 times. Holy Dwight Schofield! This element to their game must be corrected. It’s just that simple. Now there is no doubt the Blues fans on message boards will read this and try to pick it apart. They will mention how Alexander Semin shoots wide far too often. They will state how talented teams such as the Flyers, Sharks and Red Wings all have misfired more than the Blues. If they are smart, and that’s a huge if, they will argue how struggling teams such as the Oilers, Devils and Islanders are teams that have misfired the least. But again, players like Ovechkin and Semin take a high volume of shots and effort an enormous amount of high quality scoring chances. They also score 40-plus goals a season. The high-skill teams that have misfired more than the Blues are clubs that also put the puck on net and finish successfully at a much higher rate. And the lower skill teams that I previously mentioned who shoot the puck wide at a greater rate are all teams just struggling to get shots off. Like I stated earlier, this is not the biggest problem the team is facing. But this is definitely an area the team can and should resolve sooner rather than later. Get the puck on net. Should they be looking for top shelf if it’s there? Of course, but shooting wide an average of 13 times per game for a team that is just trying to scrape out some wins is unexplainable and inexcusable.
On top of this weakness, there is another element to the Blues game that is sorely lacking. Faceoffs. The Blues are 27th in the league with a 47.8% success rate, ahead of only the Oilers, Rangers and Hurricanes. David Backes is winning just 46% of his draws. Patrik Berglund is worse at 45%. Jay McClement, the team’s best defensive centerman is still below the 50% mark with a 48% rate. Win a faceoff, you then own possession of the puck. Lose the draw, you then find yourself chasing the other team. What situation would you rather be in?
There you have it. I made good on my promise to lay off management when placing blame. Get the puck on net, win more faceoffs, or it will soon be time to write another column on the true issue at hand. I’ll give you a hint. It’s a 10 letter word that starts with an “M”.
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.