St. Louis Blues Sudden Winning Ways Gives Haters Ammunition

GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 29: Vladimir Tarasenko
GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 29: Vladimir Tarasenko /

The St. Louis Blues sudden winning ways have been great for the team’s playoff chances and also for general morale. If there is a drawback it is the ammunition that haters have been given.

The St. Louis Blues have suddenly remembered how to win late in the 2017-18 season. They pretty much have to keep winning if they have any hopes of making the playoffs.

That said, there is almost always a drawback to any situation. In this particular scenario, the drawback is the ammunition that haters suddenly have.

The old saying goes haters gonna hate. More accurately, they probably spell haters with a z on the end, but that’s another matter.

So, the issue arises that there are actual people out there that think this team is better without certain players. In the spotlight right now are Vladimir Tarasenko and Jay Bouwmeester.

Firstly, the fact that fans don’t support their guys when they are injured is frustrating enough. Nobody is saying you have to be sunshine and rainbows. You have a right to your opinion, asinine as it may be, and have a right to voice it.

However, what does a person get out of life when they try to find fault in the smallest detail of someone else’s performance? Let us not lie to ourselves and pretend we all have not done it. It is the level that some do it that gets irritating.

In the case of Bouwmeester, the guy showed guts. He was never at 100% this season, but he felt he could help the team. On a squad that has often lacked intestinal fortitude this year, it is nice to know that someone was playing through the pain.

Bouwmeester could have easily shut things down in an effort to be fully healthy for next season or even a late season push this year. Instead, he put his body on the line for the team every night.

So, why the hate? Why is there this incredible disdain for someone willing to play through injury? Because he does not put up the stats you thought he might? Because he gets paid a large amount of money?

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Bouwmeester still plays in big minutes and makes the right decision more often than not. Yes, his analytical numbers are down, but knowing he had a hip injury explains a lot.

Generally when you ask this sort of question, you get the well thought out response of “he sucks.” Genius. It is amusing that so many fans think he sucks yet he continually got picked as part of Canadian Olympic and World Cup teams because, you know, they are in a habit of taking crappy players when they have the world’s best to choose from.

If it is the money, then we all need to get over it. There is hardly a person in sports that is truly worth what they are being paid, so holding their contract against them does little other than make us look petty.

The odd thing is that Bouwmeester gets no credit for playing through the pain. On the flip side, the vocal minority jump all over Vladimir Tarasenko for not returning to a game after taking a knock on the chin.

We all thought it looked weak and was not enough to take someone out of a game. However, when you take a shot to the jaw, it does not take much to shake things up. We will likely never find out for sure, but I believe Tarasenko is in concussion protocol. So, it was never up to him to return.

Again, why the venom?

As a person who I respect pointed out, Tarasenko has regressed a little bit. There is little doubt that he is the kind of player that needs to be pushed and though they butted heads, Ken Hitchcock seemed to be able to push him. Mike Yeo might make him happier, but the stats don’t lie that Tarasenko has not produced at the level we want.

There are other factors beyond Tarasenko’s play however. He has not played with the team’s other best players and the depth of this team is not what we hoped.

Tarasenko still needs a top center to play with. He could use another scoring winger to take the pressure off.

None of that means he has not underperformed this season. We all expected more stats from Tarasenko and, in the offseason, he has to figure out a way to get things rolling again for next year.

However, 30-40 goal scorers do not grow on trees. We should not want him out the door so quickly because we had too high expectations.

Pavol Demitra comes to mind when that discussion comes up. Demitra was never fully appreciated here until he was gone and then the Blues lacked scoring again.

Next: Is There A Curse On The Blues?

Should we want more from Tarasenko and is he capable of doing more? Of course. However, just because he has a down season does not mean we should be willing to think this team is better when he’s out of the lineup.

The Blues are currently playing for their professional lives, so they’ve taken their game to the next level. That does not automatically mean they are better because Tarasenko and Bouwmeester happen to be out of the lineup.