The St. Louis Blues have basically hit copy and paste when it comes to their roster lineup. That is a double-edged sword.
The St. Louis Blues have taken an if it’s not broken, don’t fix it mentality when it comes to their roster lately. Down the stretch of the regular season and through the playoffs, the Blues have stuck to their guns about who plays and on which line they are on.
That has created a lot of good chemistry. Players know the little nuances of their teammates and where they like to go on the ice and how best to set up the offense based on their teammates.
It is something rarely seen in today’s NHL, or even yesterday’s NHL really. Normally you do not go an entire game with the same lines let alone weeks and weeks worth of games.
However, nothing is ever in a vacuum. By keeping their lines the same for so long now, the Blues may have actually painted themselves into a corner.
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With little positive results from Games 3 and 4 against the Winnipeg Jets, you might figure the team would entertain the idea of moving some pieces around. Instead, if the projected lineup is correct, we are getting more of the same. The only change for Game 5 will be Carl Gunnarsson replacing a banged up Robert Bortuzzo.
Left alone is the team’s forward lines, including the top line. Normally, you might say that’s fine since those are the three best offensive players, but they have been regularly outperformed by the Jets best line and it is not even close.
That would be puzzling to me, but you have guys working hard in the dirty areas, which would allow Tarasenko more room to roam around. If that move was made, you could possibly reunite David Perron and Ryan O’Reilly who had a dynamic combination earlier in the year.
Moving some pieces around might also make it more difficult to game plan against. The Jets would have to rethink their strategy and which of their lines are against the Blues lines.
The problem is the Blues may have waited too long. With so much time spent in specific trios, it might be too late to change now.
The Blues tried mixing things up earlier in the year and it was complete chaos. Nobody knew where anyone was on the ice and nobody was working for the other guy. The worry is changing now would result in that same chaos.
It is a roll of the dice either way. If you stick with the same lineup and get the same result, which is basically being dominated in four games and lucking out in two. If you change the lineup, you might get better results or you might get blown out because the team just crumbles.
For long periods of time, I have been a proponent of NHL players are all professionals and they need to suck it up and play with whomever is on their side. I honestly do not know how to approach the Blues current situation.
Sticking with the same lines almost seems like spinning your tires in the mud. The hope is to create enough traction that you can get out.
Changing lines just freaks me out though since we have seen how bad they can be in that scenario. The team seemed to find the right fit to the puzzle pieces with the lines they are rolling out there. Do you now try to smash that edge piece into the middle?
Hopefully it will work out either way. It truly is a no man’s land for Craig Berube and staff. Stick with the same and get the same results and people will question you. Make changes and get the same or worse results and people will question you.
Ultimately, it falls to the players. They simply need to find ways to be better. That is easier said than done, but they have it in them.