Here we sit, in the middle of the All-Star break, and guys, so far our boys aren’t anywhere close to where I thought they’d be at this point in the season. The season has been plagued by injuries and guys not playing to their potential and some unfortunate losses to teams who really shouldn’t ever be lost to and goals we scored against ourselves and guys who have got to be getting pretty sick of the drive between St Louis and Peoria (Ian Cole and Nikita Nikitin, I’m looking at you).
Instead of looking back at specific games, asking ourselves what could have been “if such and such had happened,” let’s just take a glance at where we stand.
Unfortunately, we’re rocking out at the bottom of the Central with 51 points, tied with Columbus, and trailing division leader Detroit by 15 points. It makes me a little ill to have typed “division leader Detroit.” Effing Scum. Not only that, but those 51 points put us at second to last in the conference, which strangely enough is only 5 points out of playoff contention. Those five points though? That’s A LOT of ground to make up, and a lot of teams to pass. There are 9 games left on the schedule against division rivals, including two each against the Blackhawks and the Red Wings, with the first divisional game on President’s Day here in the Lou against the Hawks. We’ll see how that goes.
Earlier in the season, I was one of the many fans who couldn’t help myself, and frequently used the “but everyone’s hurt” excuse for why we weren’t playing well. But now? Now, people are starting to come back. TJ Oshie came back WAY ahead of schedule with his ankle injury, Andy Mac is back on the ice in practices with rumor that he’ll be back soon. Yeah, we’re still missing Cola and Perron, and Jackman’s presence on the ice is for sure missed, but four players does not a team make, unless of course you’re on a penalty kill, but that’s just semantics. Injuries are not our only problem, and not where the focus needs to be.
Should it be with Halak, with his hot-and-cold style of play and his reluctance to head to the top of the crease? Is it even Halak who is the issue? Is it perhaps the defensemen and their lack of, you know, defense? Should the focus should instead be with EJ and the unfortunate scoring-for-the-other-team incident the other day? Or maybe, as so many Blues fans all over Twitter have lamented, the focus should be in playing an intense, full 60-minute game. Not just one period, not even two, but ALL THREE, with intensity and aggressiveness.
Whatever it is they need to do, I hope they start. Fingers crossed that Coach Davis Payne can motivate our boys and we can spend the second half of this season smiling after games and not mumbling to one another, “Where’s the closest bar? Time to drown my sorrows again.”
LET’S GO BLUES!!!