St. Louis Blues Need Kasperi Kapanen To Be On Best Behavior

St. Louis Blues right wing Kasperi Kapanen (42)Mandatory Credit: Brian Bradshaw Sevald-USA TODAY Sports
St. Louis Blues right wing Kasperi Kapanen (42)Mandatory Credit: Brian Bradshaw Sevald-USA TODAY Sports /

The St. Louis Blues got some unwelcome news during the short week following the Labor Day holiday. Kasperi Kapanen allegedly suffered a relapse and got himself into trouble in his native country of Finland.

According to a Finnish publication called YLE, Kapanen had a drunk driving charge put before the court on August 23. Nothing was said about when the actual incident took place, but you would expect within a week of it being filed, at most.

Regardless of when it happened, the bad thing is it happened.

As far as Kapanen the person goes, you hope this truly is a one-time incident. It there is a larger issue, you want him to find whatever help he needs to be the best and healthiest version of himself possible. From a hockey standpoint, the team needs him to get his stuff together.

From the Blues point of view, they need Kapanen to be on his best behavior going forward. St. Louis doesn’t have the luxury of a deep roster, so they need all their guys clicking on all cylinders just to have a chance at the playoffs.

St. Louis is not without talent. Their problem is they’re relying on guys that have not yet proven they can be counted on.

We have seen the talents of Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou. Both guys are capable of being anywhere from 70 to even, potentially, 100-point scorers.

They haven’t been THE guys yet for a full season. When defenses focused a lot on Kyrou, he struggled in 2022-23.

When the Blues brought in Kapanen and Jakub Vrana, they found a second wind. Kapanen and Vrana might not have the same high-end talent as some of the names the Blues were forced to trade away, but they have skill and something to prove.

Both were highly touted players and seemed on the verge of making a push to be top six forwards, if not top three. Instead it crashed.

Kapanen scored 20 goals and 44 points in his first full season with Toronto. He never got close again until 2022-23 when he scored 15.

Eight of those goals came with the Blues in 23 games. Similarly, Vrana scored 24 and 25 goals in his second and third seasons but then hit personal and professional problems. He also rebounded with the Blues, scoring 10 goals in 20 games.

Yet, the worry with both players now is that the stuff behind the scenes can come up at any time. We don’t know the full extent of what happened to Vrana, but he entered the substance abuse program for the league.

We are told this was a mistake by Kapanen and Doug Armstrong assures fans this was a one-time situation. There is no evidence to suggest otherwise, but we also can’t be 100% sure this is not the first in a potential string of incidents.

The Blues need both guys to be big contributors in 2023-24. If either, or both, revert to their recent form, St. Louis is in for another long season.

As mentioned, the Blues have enough talent to grab a playoff spot late in the season. However, they need everyone playing up to their potential.

St. Louis fans have seen how bad that can go. The St. Louis Cardinals had enough talent offensively to win the division, but came out as a last-place team because players they needed to play to potential did not.

If Kapanen has any other issues, the Blues are in trouble. They have plenty of youth in their system, but nobody is ready to be a full-time NHL player yet.

The Blues need a focused and determined Kapenen to play as well as he can. He’s in a contract year, so fans were hoping that would increase production too.

For all we know, when the skates are laced and pads strapped in, Kapanen will put this behind him and play as if nothing happened. Yet, with a court date in February, it could still have an impact.

Langenbrunner going into the HoF. dark. Next

Hopefully the Blues get a focused and healthy Kapanen come October.