St. Louis Blues: Fan Viewpoint And Player Viewpoint Must Differ

ST. LOUIS, MO - JANUARY 23: Vladimir Tarasenko
ST. LOUIS, MO - JANUARY 23: Vladimir Tarasenko /

In professional sports, the mindset of a player almost always has to be different. If they thought like all of us, they might not make it in the cut throat profession that eats people alive.

The St. Louis Blues and their fan base have one of the closer relationships in all of sports. The Blues have one of the strongest, most loyal alumni organizations because of that connection between guys that play here and the people in the community.

That said, the way that fans think and the way that players think is often quite different. That statement almost goes without saying. However, recently there has been a big divide.

With the Blues entering one of the worst slumps we’ve seen in recent years and the subsequent rise after two games, lots of people are asking questions. The players are not really among those.

Fans and media are wondering how there could be such a vast turnaround at the drop of a hat. The Blues went from awful to wonderful in the blink of an eye. Meanwhile, players are simply breathing a sigh of relief and having fun again.

Therein is the difference. Fans are more than free to question things. Players cannot.

As fans, we basically fall into two camps right now, with a few of us having a foot in each. Camp 1 is just glad the team is playing better, out of their funk and pushing for the playoffs once more.

Camp 2 is wondering where the heck this style of play has been. That one either has more people in it or, at least, the more vocal ones.

The Blues have scored 11 goals in their last two games. Those were not games against pushovers either, as both Anaheim and Los Angeles are battling for playoff berths and seeding too.

That is in stark contrast to the Blues offensive ability of late. In the Blues previous eight games, prior to this mini-streak, they scored a total of 10 goals. That’s 5.5 goals per game vs. 1.25 goals per game.

As fans, we can sit here and wonder and get mad about where this all went. The Blues played this exact way at the start of the year. The goals per game were not as astronomical as 5.5, but they were above three.

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Then, the bottom fell out as quick as the stock market in the early 20th century. What happened? Surely the threat of the trade deadline could not cause it alone. Is there something wrong in the locker room? Has Mike Yeo’s message fallen on deaf ears already?

How in the world can you play like a contender, look like a lottery team and then suddenly turn it back on at random? Why was this same effort not able to be summoned at least a game or two during the losing streak?

How can Jake Allen look calm and comfortable, regardless of better defending, when he was a shaky mess not long ago? How can defenders and bottom-six forwards suddenly look like top goal scorers when they could barely exit a zone just days prior?

Those are the questions running through fans’ minds at the moment. While players are fans of the game, they do not think like we do. They cannot.

The Blues literally cannot wonder why this was not in their arsenal the last few months. It’s not about superstitions or luck – it’s about mindset. As a player, they have to keep their focus on the immediate task at hand.

If they’re playing well, they have to focus on sustaining it. If they have a dip in play, they have to worry about changing that. Wondering what exactly is different now than two weeks ago really doesn’t help any of them.

St. Louis is a huge baseball town, so think of it in hitting terms. If a player is in a hitting slump and he’s wondering what went wrong in this game and then the game five days ago and eight days ago, his mind is going to be buzzing with issues. However, if he breaks out of it randomly, he needs to just go with what feels right with his swing in that moment. You do not want that hitter trying to compare what’s working now vs. what was not then. It leads to more confusion.

As fans, we have every right to wonder where this level of play has been. There are always valleys and slumps, but this just felt different. We have to come to terms with not ever having answers from those involved with the team though.

We have theories and we have our own ideas. That’s about as far as it will ever go.

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The players are only focused on the game at hand and the ones coming up. It sounds cliche, but that is how they have to think.

It’s great for sport talk radio discussions, but we don’t want Allen wondering what his problems were. He needs only focus on how to maintain his current level of play. We don’t want guys wondering where the goals went. If they are coming now, then keep up whatever you are doing.

As fans, it is easy to wonder and question. For players, they have to do all those things we hate hearing about in interviews and actually focus on the moment.