Most Blues fans saw Andy McDonald as an integral part of the the Blues offensive heading into the 2011-2012 season. These high expectations lead the Blues’ faithful to be very disappointed in Andy Mac’s regular season. Fans were not upset with Andy’s performance, but rather his inability to get onto the ice. McDonald suffered a concussion early in the season and was consequently forced out of action after the team’s third regular season game.
Andy Mac’s concussion was certainly a setback for the Blues offensively, but his rehab and recovery were massively important for his health and the organization going forward. McDonald is entering the final year of his four-year, eighteen million dollar contract that he signed in 2009. Given his history of concussions, McDonald’s four month recovery period was essential to preserving his career heading into a contract season.
Although he only played in twenty-five regular season games and nine playoff games, Andy’s season was most definitely not a failure. One of the most common traits in players returning from concussions is a hesitancy to chase down loose pucks and crash the net in the offensive zone. To his credit , Andy McDonald returned in mid-February true to his old form. Blues fans witnessed the same speedy, pesky, and fearless Andy Mac.
At the time of his return, the Blues top two lines had fallen into a bit of a scoring drought, as the top six forwards featured many big, two-way players, sometimes resembling a checking line. The insertion of McDonald into the second line, and eventually the first line, served as a spark plug for the Blues’ sputtering offense. His speed opened up the ice and allowed the offense to operate for extended shifts in the opposition’s defensive zone. His addition to the power-play was a major reason why the Blues found success on the man-advantage late in the season. Andy Mac’s speed and forechecking contributed to power-play success and enabled Alex Pietrangelo to emerge as a two-way juggernaut and the quarterback of the advantage. In his limited ice time, Andy was still able to put up relatively impressive numbers, totaling ten goals and twelve assists in the regular season.
Blues fans will undoubtedly remember Andy McDonald’s 2011-2012 season for his performance in the Blues’ first playoff series in three years. Andy tallied four goals and four assists in a five game, first round series against the San Jose Sharks. Game three of the series was, perhaps, McDonald’s best game of the entire 2011-2012 campaign. With the series tied at 1-1, the veteran winger contributed to everyone of the Blues’ four goals in a crucial game three, netting one goal and assisting on three others.
Season Grade: Incomplete
Here’s Andy Mac’s outstanding Game 3 performance: