A Telling Two Weeks
Several times at FrozenNotes we have declared a game or week could prove pivotal, but so far to date the Blues have surprised us. Just as it seems a big change is imminent, especially on the coaching end, the Blues pull out a big win or rattle off an impressive three game win streak on the road. But here we sit 38 games into the season stuck in a 17-16-5 funk where each time the team takes strides to move away from .500, they just slide right back down. Next up on the schedule are three home games this week followed by three very tough road challenges and we might finally see the scale tip in one direction or another based on the results.
Three home games in a week. Brace yourself – the Blues have played awful at home, and unless that changes in a hurry, it could be a long week. Then again, I’m avoiding making any predictions are they only certainty we have had this season is that this year’s St. Louis Blues team is unpredictable.
Nashville comes to town on Tuesday followed by Vancouver on Thursday and another chance to take on Chicago on Saturday, January 2nd. With a 6-12-2 record at home (keep in mind one of these “home” wins took place in Sweden) the Blues have disappointed those who made the trek to the Scottrade and have left many season ticket holders with angry faces when the final horn sounds. Those that have purchased specific game packages may have seen six or more games this year without seeing a victory.
Personally, I have been to five regular games this season and one preseason game. The only “W” came in the preseason for my personal record of 1-5.
The Blues’ marketing team is getting a painful dose of reality as their mistake of marketing that a Stanley Cup is just a fan “puzzle piece” away keeps biting them with each home loss.
Let’s evaluate just exactly where the Blues are as of today, December 28th.
17-16-5 record for 39 points. Fourth in the Central, 12th in the West. Six points behind a playoff spot which is currently held by Calgary, but the playoff picture in the West changes on a daily basis. The playoff picture for the Note is still very much alive, so I’m not going to rain doom and gloom and state it’s not. The season isn’t even halfway over, and we all saw what happened last season, so no need to declare things are over just yet.
However – this team needs to find stability, urgency and most obvious of all, wins at home if they hope to crack the top eight in the West. Line changes have been widely pointed at as critical reasons why the Blues fell last night against Buffalo and why the Blues fell behind Minnesota. Seriously? Isn’t this a problem that should be addressed in preseason? Perhaps the coaching staff is thinking a bit too much in mixing and matching players … and then again maybe the players need to find that second gear.
The arguement can go back and forth. I for one think it is a little out of both columns, but the silly mistakes such as the miscue on the power-play that allowed Buffalo’s fifth goal (shorthanded mind you) was ridiculous. Those plays simply can not and should not happen.
Disappointing is the most widely used word to descirbe the Blues by fans this season but I’m electing to use a new one to describe the year so far: confusing. Wins against San Jose in the last second on the road compared to losses at home to Edmonton. Night and day.
If you know what the solution is, please comment below and fill me in. I am on the wagon that says a coaching change is needed, but can we really throw all the blame Murray’s way? I think his time is coming to an end in St. Louis, but I think we are only kidding ourselves if we think that he is the lone problem.
The next two weeks offer once again an opportunity for the Blues to clear up some confusion. Three games at home followed by three on the road. If they fail to win at least one, or possibly even two at home, I would not be surprised to hear the boos rain down on the team and a big change to be made soon after. A failure to get things done this week at home could put the team on a tailspin as they head on the road to face some tough opponents.
The rollercoaster cliche has been tossed about when describing the season so far. I’m curious as to which path this week will take…a hopeful climb or a devastating fall again at home.