Good morning Blues fans! The Note finished off the season in style last night even if it was not as comfortable as any of us would have liked.
The St. Louis Blues are a regular George W. Bush to end the season. We might not like the methods, but they keep declaring mission accomplished. Now we just need that comparison to end there and not have any premature declarations of victory.
To end the season, the Blues won three in a row, four of five and 17 of their last 20. That’s not a bad run to be on to end a year.
On top of that, the Blues finish the season with 99 points. While they could not get to 100 points for the fourth consecutive season, it is no less impressive they finished as high as they did given how poorly they played in the winter.
It is easy to forget – or maybe we just want to forget – how bad the Blues were until February. St. Louis looked like they were a sure bet to miss the playoffs and several fans wanted them to.
Granted, the sentiment for missing the playoffs was to rid the franchise of both Ken Hitchcock and Doug Armstrong, but still. One of those things happened and the second seems highly unlikely unless the team went winless in the postseason.
You can take the turnaround one of two ways. You can marvel at how well the team has played and been perhaps the hottest team down the stretch. One can also lament the missed chances to be right up there with Minnesota or Chicago as one of the top teams in the Western Conference.
Both are correct in the end – sorry to be on the fence. The Blues had a hell of a spring to get where they are and you can’t just say they would be better if they had not tanked in the winter.
It’s hard not to ask why they could not play like this earlier though. Mike Yeo has been a breath of fresh air, but as an outsider it still does not click that Hitchcock was that much of a strain on the locker room.
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In the end, though, the Blues got the job done. It was not always pretty, but their win over the Avalanche encapsulated the year.
The Blues had a good start, a terrible middle and a great ending. To add a little icing to the cake, St. Louis got a goal from Vladimir Sobotka in his first game back.
We can debate the merits of his extension until we are blue in the face, but he is back and signed for three years. Whether he is used as expansion draft or trade bait remains to be seenn.
He will be part of the Blues’ machine going into the postseason and will need to be as important a part as almost every other player. The Blues will only go as far as Jake Allen and Vladimir Tarasenko take them, but they need every part to chip in in their own way, including Sobotka.
The question going forward is which Blues team will we get. If we get the ones that played in December and January, this will be a very short postseason. If they play like they have to end the year, the Blues have enough to be a contender.
Here are your St. Louis Blues Morning Links to get your day started off right.
We don’t even know the schedule yet, but it is not too early to start prognosticating. Scott Burnside gets the ball rolling with an early look at the Blues’ playoff matchup with the Wild. (ESPN)
Mike Yeo was quite pleased overall in his final regular season postgame comments. He was particularly pleased with the play of both his Vladimir’s. He did say the team will need to step up as one of those guys is going to get extra attention soon. (Blues)
The Chicago Wolves might not be at the end of their regular season yet, but they continued to mirror their NHL counterpart. They picked up more points last night with more future Blues contributing. (Wolves)
Lindy Ruff may go down as one of the best coaches to always come out on the short end of the stick. He was let go in Buffalo after doing a lot with very little. Now he is in search of work again as he will not be retained in Big D. (ESPN)
Joe Louis Arena does not hold many fond memories for Blues fans other than St. Louis winning their final game there. However, with the Wings winning their own final game there, we may be losing the last of the “old barns”. (NHL)
Have a great day Blues fans!