Blues Season Winding Down
After the Blues skate against Detroit tonight the team will have just nine games left on their 2009-10 schedule. At this stage, with the playoffs being basically unreachable, the best the Blues can do is to finish the year off strong rather than with a whimper. Following tonight’s game in Detroit, the Blues will return home for their next three games and will play a total of six of their last nine games at the Scottrade Center. Seeing as the playoffs are all but officially out of reach, now is as good a time as any for the Blues to reclaim some sort of advantage in their own building.
Dreadful. That’s a pretty good word to describe the Blues at home this season. On the flip side, the team has been wonderful on the road and hardly resembles the bumbling side many of us have paid to see on a regular basis here in St. Louis.
Home: 12-18-5 (29 points)
Road: 22-11-4 (48 points)
Home and away – night and day. Only two teams, San Jose and Washington, have as many wins (22) as the Blues do on the road this season. That places the 11th place St. Louis Blues in some pretty good company with the 1st place Capitals and the 2nd place Sharks. The vast majority of other contenders around the NHL have yet to crack the 20-win barrier on the road, which makes the Blues expertise in their opponent’s building all the more puzzling.
Then there’s that record at home. Season ticket holders: look away – you’ve suffered enough this season.
No team, not one, has fewer than 12 wins at home this season. As a matter a fact, only one team, St. Louis, has fewer than 15 wins at home this season. That means that the basement-dwelling Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers both have better home records than the Blues do.
To make matters worse, the Blues ugly 12-18-5 home record includes a win from the start of the season in Sweden, which lowers the Blues’ win total in the Scottrade to 11. With such a superb record on the road, it’s pretty obvious to see where the Blues need to improve next year if they hope to make the playoffs.
Why are these two records so drastically different? I could understand this a bit more if the lines were reversed, with the Blues excelling at home and struggling on the road, but for this team to perform so much better in enemy territory than in their friendly home rink is mind boggling.
Does this mostly young roster let their nerves take over in front of their home fans? I’m not ruling it out. Judging by their truly impressive mark on the road, I lean away from this being an issue in regards to talent and more toward a mental one. I discussed the mental side of the game in regards to the Blues the other day when discussing the teams inability to clamp down on leads. It’s very possible that once the Blues started their slide at home that they were unable to climb out of it due to lapses in confidence at their home rink.
This is an issue the team must address before they start tinkering with the roster, as you can not expect to be a real player in the hunt for the Stanley Cup if you are unable to win at home.