Sound Of The Note
With the announcement that Tom Stillman will be taking over as majority owner of the St. Louis Blues, all is looking up on the world of the Note. This announcement should add a little stability to the situation. Hopefully, it will allow GM Doug Armstrong to inject some more heart in this team. The announcement certainly does not overshadow the disappointment of the 2011-2012 playoffs.
Some credit must be given to the LA Kings ,of course. They made the Blues play their style of hockey, and the boys could not match the Kings’ intensity. I apologize for waiting to write about this, but there is no censor button in the world of technolog. So, I had to let myself settle down a bit. Many view this season as a success, but I did not see any parades down Market St., so success, I think not.
The regular season started off lethargic and the playoffs ended lethargic. Certainly the regular season was very exciting and the Blues accomplished a ton. 109 points immediately stands out along with a second place finish in the mighty Western Conference. Sure the rather easily won the first round over San Jose. But let’s face it, that was not the Sharks from years past. They were not a very good team, with equally inept penalty killing and that is why the Blues waltzed through the first round, along with a little help from Andy McDonald.
But the hockey season is a lot like a hockey fight, the beginning and middle of the fight do not really matter to fans as long as you end up taking down the opponent in the end. The Blues did not end this scrum in that position. They got manhandled by the Kings. They took bad penalties at inopportune times. David Backes elbowing to negate a Blues power play. Matt D’Agostini brought a bevy of cheapshot penalties to the ice. The Blues lack of composer cost them any momentum they would build up in almost every game.
The lack of scoring reared its ugly head to become a major contributor to the series loss. What happened to the ultra-talented Alex Steen? I have not seen such ineptitude in that number since Adam Creighton donned the double decade in the mid 90’s. Kevin Shattenkirk was a different player. All year, he would find ways to get the puck on net. The playoffs came around and he turned into Lee Norwood, constantly firing shots off shin pads. The top line was rendered ineffective. The Blues best line against the Sharks with Patrik Berglund, Andy Macdonald and the aforementioned Steen could get nothing going. When Chris Stewart leads your team in goals in a series ,something has gone awry, and he even sat some.
Brian Elliott was, well, Brian Elliott. Maybe there was a reason he was the consummate back up. Thrust into the limelight of being the undisputed number one he crumbled. Soft goals are bad during the regular season. In the playoffs, they are series ending. To many times we heard “Elliott would probably like to have that one back.” That just cannot happen if you are going to advance in the NHL playoffs, and they happened at least once in every game in the Kings series.
With all of that grumbling like a crotchety old man out of the way, things are looking up for the Note. Doug Armstrong insists he will continue to build this team into a perennial contender. The new ownership should give him more flexibility in building that type of roster. The players all bought into Ken Hitchcock’s philosophy, that must continue. Blues fans can’t put up with another coaching change anytime soon. The big question is: Will the Blues win the Cup, before the Chicago Cubs, a franchise they are often compared to, win a World Series? Let’s hope so.
Thank you for your time.