Good morning Blues fans! It is almost the end of the season and the Blues have plenty left to play for. One more point will guarantee them third in the division.
The St. Louis Blues take on the Carolina Hurricanes tonight. While it is your typical interconference matchup, there are some interesting storylines going on.
First and foremost, the Blues are only one point away from clinching third in the Central Division. On one side, all that does is guarantee you a date against one of the league’s best scoring teams. On the other hand, you avoid the Chicago Blackhawks.
Additionally to all that is the simple fact that so many did not think this was possible. When the Blues were gasping for air and practically drowning in January, most of us thought the playoffs were gone.
The season seemed left for dead. There was talk that it would be better to actually miss the playoffs, clean house and star anew.
Thank goodness that did not happen. I won’t pretend I was not one of those people wondering if missing was possible, but the people that were the most boisterous about starting over either have short memories or don’t remember how bad the mid-2000’s were.
I love this hockey team as much as you can love something intangible, but those were rough times. It was not even fun to go to a game. Going back to that is not something I want this team to do ever again, if at all possible.
So, while making the playoffs given the grim picture painted back then is pleasing, it is also a relief. Its a relief because this kind of play was always there.
You can kiss butt and suck up to David Backes and Troy Brouwer all you want and you would not be wrong. However, it just never made sense that two middle-six forwards should have made that big a difference.
St. Louis missed them, but it should not have transformed a team capable of going to the finals to one that would miss the postseason. Now we know it should not have and if the team performed like this the entire year, it would not have.
With the playoffs firmly in grasp, the Blues can focus on their opponent instead of just getting any old result. The Blues were in the middle of their rut when they lost to Carolina 4-2 the last time.
The two teams are quite different now. Carolina was still in the hunt for a playoff spot back then and the Blues were tanking. Now St. Louis has clinched the postseason and Carolina is out.
The Blues getting revenge and clinching a divisional playoff spot is not the only story for the night. An old friend (or other interesting descriptions on social media) will suit up once more.
Vladimir Sobotka has rejoined the Blues and will don the Note for the first time since 2014. Coincidentally, the last time Sobotka played the Hurricanes, the score was also 4-2, though that was in a winning effort.
How much Sobotka will help the Blues is up for debate. A vocal section of the fanbase is against his return whether due to production or a sense of being tired of hearing his name brought up so much.
National pundits seem to think he will be an important addition. The truth will likely be in the middle, but it will be interesting to see 71 out on the ice.
Here are your St. Louis Blues Morning Links to get your day started off right.
Apparently it is not a done deal that Sobotka will play against Carolina. It seems odd to join the team there and not play, but don’t take anything for granted in this saga. Jeremy Rutherford has a good timeline of how the deal came about though. (STLToday)
Sobotka and Doug Armstrong were not all kissy, kissy over the whole matter, but each one said they were glad to have the situation over with and move forward. The interesting thing is how quickly the deal got done compared to how long everything lasted leading to this point. (Post-Dispatch)
The Chicago Wolves had a couple Blues guys accomplish something that has not been done in awhile. In fact, Jake Allen was the last member of the Wolves to get the accolades these guys earned. (Wolves)
Many have speculated that the Blues relationship with the Wolves would come to an end after this season. That speculation got a little more real as the Wolves signed the Las Vegas Golden Knight’s first free agent to a tryout contract. (Wolves)
From one relationship ending to one that might never, the Sedin twins came out and took any bargaining chip they had off the table. Apparently the brothers are both content to play their remaining time in Vancouver, whether that is short or not. (NHL)
Have a great day Blues fans!