St. Louis Blues: Pandemic Ruined Repeat Chances, One Way Or Another

EDMONTON, ALBERTA - AUGUST 19: Bo Horvat #53 of the Vancouver Canucks takes down David Perron #57 of the St. Louis Blues during the first period in Game Five of the Western Conference First Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on August 19, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
EDMONTON, ALBERTA - AUGUST 19: Bo Horvat #53 of the Vancouver Canucks takes down David Perron #57 of the St. Louis Blues during the first period in Game Five of the Western Conference First Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on August 19, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images) /
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EDMONTON, ALBERTA – AUGUST 26: Fans sit in the seats prior to the game between the Dallas Stars and the Colorado Avalanche in Game Three of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on August 26, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
EDMONTON, ALBERTA – AUGUST 26: Fans sit in the seats prior to the game between the Dallas Stars and the Colorado Avalanche in Game Three of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on August 26, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

No fans

Going into the playoffs, many assumed that the Blues would be perfectly suited to the bubble scenario. Their style did not seem to need the timing that offensive teams would need. That proved to be somewhat false.

We also assumed playing in an empty arena might not affect the Blues as much since they were so comfortable on the road in 2019, and during the regular season. 10 of the Blues 16 playoff wins in 2019 came on the road.

Even on the road, though, there is a certain energy to playing in front of a live crowd. Sometimes you can feed off that negativity.

In an NHL documentary on rivalries, Brett Hull discussed how he loved playing at Chicago Stadium. He got a jolt out of seeing his effigy hanging from the balcony by a noose.

Similarly, there is a boost of confidence a player can get by silencing a crowd. When the opposing building is rocking and the ground is shaking and you make that all go silent, it energizes your team. To shut up thousands of people is a satisfying feeling, even if you only experience it on the inside.

Without that energy, the Blues did not have anything to feed off in their lower moments. There was no explosion for a Jaden Schwartz goal or a big Jordan Binnington save. It was all met with silence and canned noise no matter what happened.

There was no silencing a crowd either. We can sit on our couches and say it should not matter, but some athletes feed off that kind of stuff and without it, it’s no different than a random practice.