St. Louis Blues Craig Berube Changing Lines Too Early

St. Louis Blues head coach Craig BerubeMandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
St. Louis Blues head coach Craig BerubeMandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

The St. Louis Blues suffered an historic loss to the Colorado Avalanche in their second game of the 2021 season. The Blues have only allowed eight goals and been shutout in the same night two other times in their franchise history prior to that night.

So, you would expect the coach to not be very pleased. Craig Berube has shown his displeasure by making plenty of early tweaks.

His forward lines actually match up pretty close to what I predicted prior to the season. The main difference compared to my roster is Jordan Kyrou is in instead of Sammy Blais.

Line 1: Sanford – O’Reilly – Perron
Line 2: Schwartz – Schenn – Kyrou
Line 3: Hoffman – Thomas – Bozak
Line 4: Clifford – Barbashev – Sundqvist

Berube changing things too early

The defensive lines remained the same. The only change was Carl Gunnarsson taking the injured Robert Bortuzzo‘s spot.

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I’ve stated it many times and will repeat – I have no problem with Zach Sanford as a person or even as a player making the every night roster. He’s not a first-line or second-line player though. This odd fall back line about chemistry with those other two is getting old.

Mike Hoffman did not have a great game in his first real contest with the Blues. It seems strange to demote him after one game. The only positive is keeping him with Robert Thomas who was also put on the third line. The downside is if they get third line minutes.

Brayden Schenn returns to center. I’m sure he will be happy with that since he feels he is better suited in the middle.

However, in the grand scheme of things, this just seems too early. The Blues were flying around and clicking like crazy in their season opener.

After one poor performance, some of which can be attributed to the altitude and lack of preseason, the lines get blown up? It seems like a slight overreaction.

The Hoffman one is puzzling. You brought him in to replace some of the scoring lost when Vladimir Tarasenko went down. So, why put him on the third line?

I know I predicted that’s where he would be for depth and depth was the answer Berube gave to the media. When you do not start the season with him on the third line and then change it after 60 bad minutes, it changes things.

There is no denying that the vast majority of decisions Berube has made in his two seasons have worked out. He’s had the golden touch to this point.

We have no reason to think this might not work. It just seems too early.

The counter argument would be that in a shortened season, you don’t have time to wait and see if things will improve. If a coach sees problems, they must address them.

It just seems like you would want a little more time to see how things would gel in real game scenarios. You spent the entirety of preseason camp with the lines one way and then just revert to your safety blanket when something goes wrong.

Next. No Blues prospects at WJC is worrying. dark

I like all the players on this team, but I was ready for Schenn to not be with Schwartz and Sanford to not be in the top six. That did not last very long. We will see how it plays out.