The St. Louis Blues are often underdogs, even when they’ve been great. Some of it is due to lesser high-end talent than their opponents, but there are times it has to do with where they are from.
The perception for a lot of teams from the Midwest, including the Blues, is they aren’t as good. We can talk about this bias or that, but plenty of it boils down people in the national media just not paying as much attention to the Blues.
We all do this in different sports. Focusing just on hockey, we complain when the Blues lose to a team like Arizona, sometimes just because it is Arizona. Regardless of what players are on the teams, TV ratings are low when non-traditional teams like the Blues or Carolina or Calgary or Tampa are in the final.
That changes, slowly, over time. The Blues have gained more respect, just like the Lightning and the Hurricanes in recent times. It took a long period of success, however, and even then it’s not easily given.
None of this is to suggest the Avalanche should not be favorites. They finished the regular season with the best record in their conference and the division race was not even close in the second half of the season.
They have some of the best offensive players in the game. Colorado plays a good structure and, if nothing else, just possess you to death once they’ve scored their goals. It’s hard to win when you can’t get the puck.
Yet, it’s the amount they are favored by. Few are calling for a sweep, but I’ve seen some prognosticators go as high as 90% on an Avs win.
Statistically, that’s just not right. One of the top two teams in the league during the regular season is just not that far ahead of another team that is still in the top 10. St. Louis has overall reasons they can win the Cup again.
The Avs will be extremely tough to beat. There are reasons it can happen though.