Same story, different year. There’s really not much which needs to be said, but let’s hit on a couple of points before closing the book on 2013-14 and trying to forget about yet another disappointing ending.
Here’s my issue with the whole Ryan Miller trade: It’s not the trade the Blues needed to make.
I don’t blame Miller for the early exit. I blame Doug Armstrong for believing he needed to upgrade his goaltending while much more glaring issues (offense, anyone?) went ignored. Miller is a better goalie than Jaroslav Halak, even if just slightly depending on the day, but the offense had some serious problems which were easy to point out.
You have to wonder how things would have played out had the Blues kept Halak and instead made a trade which bolstered their attack. I’ve been a believer in Armstrong, but he was blind and failed to help the Blues where they needed it most.
Ken Hitchcock will be criticized for his actions this series. He moved lines and juggled pieces, but he broke up lines which appeared to be clicking. Scratching Adam Cracknell for Derek Roy in Game 6 was a puzzling decision, but it’s just one of many calls which left fans scratching their heads.
Special teams coaching…
It’s broke. Fix it.
This message was also completely overlooked. It was predictable and easy to defend. How many times did you have to move the puck to the point, fake a shot and then fire one wide or off the opponent’s leg before you realized it was time to ditch the old strategy and try something else? We don’t know, because the strategy was never abandoned.
This was the last game in Blues sweaters for several players. It’ll be interesting to see who leaves and, more importantly, who the Blues bring in. Here’s a place to start: Offense. Next try adding some physicality to the team’s defense. There’s too much grit up front and not enough size and strength at the back.
Have the Blues finally learned from their mistakes? Do they finally understand what it takes?