The St. Louis Blues goaltending situation is as clear as it has ever been. That doesn’t mean that The Snake is not thinking about winning with this club.
The St. Louis Blues know one thing for sure going into the 2020 NHL playoffs. They know Jordan Binnington is going to be their starting goaltender.
Knowing that, it would be easy for Jake Allen to just slink into the shadows, accept his fate and try to get traded in the offseason. Maybe that last part will be in his plans after everything, but for now, he’s being what he has always been – a consummate professional.
When the Blues found out they were officially going to be restarting the season, Allen was one of the first ones to talk to the media. During that session, he discussed how he feels like the Blues have unfinished business.
Allen talked to the media about how the season never had a proper conclusion. Therefore, he never really went into offseason mode. He might not have had any ice available to train on in Fredricton, New Brunswick, but he did all he could to stay sharp.
Allen kept himself sharp during the break with a baseball pitching machine, which threw pitches at different speeds – fastballs, curveballs, change-ups – that he used to mimic facing shooters. His home gym also had artificial ice that he could use to lace up the skates and “feel the blades, feel the edges,” but that was the best he could do. – Chris Pinkerton, NHL.com
The fact he stayed focused shows that he’s a team player. Even without being around teammates, he was trying to lead by example.
These guys talk enough. If one player was just chilling by the pool, waiting to see if there would be a call from the league and then trying to ramp it up, they’d all know about it.
Nobody could begrudge Allen taking a rest either. He did not play a full game in the 2019 playoffs, only registering 24 total minutes. So, he could easily have assumed Binnington would play all the games again and he just had to show up and put on his baseball cap.
Instead, Allen did what all great goalies do. They prepare as though they are going to play, even if they won’t.
Allen wanted to be as ready as he could be, in case the Blues would need him. He already showed how great a teammate he could be during the 2019 playoffs when he would mimic opposing goaltender’s styles, so players could get a better visual of what they were up against.
Maybe that’s all he might do during the 2020 playoffs. Or, maybe he’ll see action. You never know when any goalie might falter or get injured, so having the next guy on his toes and ready is one less thing to worry about.
Allen wants to win and to do whatever it takes to help the team achieve another championship.
“We have such a great opportunity here to do something again. It’s pretty much the same group and we’ve had a great season, put ourselves in a great spot,” he said on the team website, reported by Pinkert. “In this situation, it’s definitely different, but we’re not the only team in this position. I think we have just as good a chance as anyone else. There’s no time to waste though. You need to be ready to go right away. Each team will probably have a different approach, but I think our maturity and our leadership and experience from last year should definitely prepare us right way.”
That’s the kind of guy you want in your locker room. Think what you want about Allen’s time as a starter, but there has never been any doubt that the guys in the locker room love him.
We can argue about soft goals or lack of scoring help, but Allen has never publicly done so, even if he’s had a right to. The guy keeps it cool and professional, which is what winning teams need.