Berglund Awakens, Blues Start Their Break
Earlier today I posted an article about Patrik Berglund’s struggles and how he has fallen well below the point-per-game pace we saw in 2010-11. I discussed whether a trade was a possibility and how any deal involving #21 would be a difficult one to execute. Well, Berglund responded. Something, potentially the article from earlier (One can dream), spurred Berglund on to his best and most impressive performance of the year as the Blues fell to the Penguins in a shootout. Now the Blues will enjoy some significant time off as the NHL takes its All-Star break.
Message received, loud and clear Mr. Berglund. We knew you had it in you. You played with fire and tenacity and used your large size as the advantage it is.
Unfortunately, even a big game from Patrik Berglund wasn’t enough to carry the Blues past the Penguins as the shootout once again proved to be a huge area of weakness for the Blues. Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury really stole the show, robbing the Blues on numerous occasions. The shootout has been a real negative for the Blues this season – something which might come back to haunt them at the end of the year. Tonight’s loss moved St. Louis to a record of 1-6 in the shootout, or five points left on the table. In the ridiculously competitive West, each and every point is a critical one.
The Blues now enter the break still looking for an answer to the question of reliable offense that has plagued them all season long. Berglund’s play on Tuesday was huge, but will he be able to replicate it down the stretch? The last thing Berglund needs after his strong showing is the All-Star break which will keep the Blues off the ice until February 3rd.
The Blues hope to return Alex Steen after the All-Star break concludes. Andy McDonald’s timeline is a bit foggier. McDonald’s return is a bit of a question mark for me as I struggle to imagine a scenario where he can jump right back into action and be the McDonald of old. His adjustment to the speed of the NHL may take time – time the Blues may not have to patch their offense. Steen brings a bit more certainty and will be a notable upgrade. His speed and endless pursuit should be a nice boost.
Will a healthy Steen and McDonald be enough for the Blues? Honestly, I’m not sure it would be. I don’t think McDonald will be capable of the production fans hope he will make and that leaves us with Steen as the lone reinforcement. At this stage a trade seems like more of an “if” than a “when”. An upgrade is clearly needed and I’m not so sure the organization has an answer for it within their current ranks.