The Blues were the first team to make clinch a playoff spot. By now this is old news, however Blues fans have been riled up by the lack of media attention. As a matter of fact, the lack of media attention itself has drawn more media attention than the success of the team. All this is nonsense to the team as they continue to stay focused and look to head into the playoffs with a home ice advantage throughout. While I was on ESPN today reading an article about the “issue” of media attention, I went over to the game preview for Wednesday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks. To my shock the ESPN AccuScore Predictor had the game odds at 50-50, with the Blues labeled as the underdog. While the predictor uses 10,000 simulations with a whole mash of statistics, I found myself offended by this. The lack of media attention didn’t quite get to me but this did, even though the prediction is essentially meaningless. The Blues have been playing way too good of a hockey game for me to say 50-50 odds are even close to realistic. Then it hit me, it doesn’t matter. The Blues organization has built up a venerable confidence up to this point in the season, and Ken Hitchcock has the team as focused as a laser. I expect the team to handle it’s business for the rest of the regular season, acquire the President’s Trophy, hold first place in the Western Conference, and to capture the coveted home ice advantage into the playoffs. None of the players on the team expect anything less. With this attitude, the team will be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs. Neither any sort of prediction nor the media will serve as a distraction to the team, and it shouldn’t to the fans. The goal is the Stanley Cup.
The Blues have handled business in their last two match-ups with the Ducks, and should do the same Wednesday. The team has been been improving on the injury front, and it seems that the whole team could be healthy for the playoffs. While the only marquee match-ups remaining are against Nashville, Chicago, and Detroit, the other games, including this one against Anaheim, will serve as tests of focus. It will be interesting to see exactly what role Jaden Schwartz, who scored a goal on his first shot and played for about 14 minutes on Saturday against Tampa Bay, develops with the team. Hopefully he continues to progress and contribute, and the game with Anaheim should be a good opportunity to do so. It will also be interesting to see how the goalie situation pans out, as Jaroslav Halak will be minding the net against Anaheim. Should he finish off the season on a strong note and continue his fantastic play, he should nab the Starting Goalie spot.
As always, be sure to follow the game live with us on Twitter @BleedinBlueBlog!