SOUND OF THE NOTE
As the hockey season concluded with the LA Kings hoisting the chalice, let me first say congrats to the Kings. It helps to take away some of the sting of the monarchs steam rolling our beloved Blues, when they continued to bulldoze any and all suitors. 16-4 is an astounding march to the title, so kudos to Darryl Sutter and his boys.
Now that the Kings have won the Stanley Cup, the only other team from the 6 team expansion in 1967 to not win the cup, other than the Note, are the California Golden Seals. They, of course, are no longer a franchise and haven’t been since the mid 70’s. Also, Minnesota did not win a cup until relocating to Dallas, but you get the picture. It is time for the Blues to win.
The NHL has seen champions come from likes of Tampa Bay, Carolina, Anaheim, and now LA, not exactly hockey hot beds. That short list there should make Blues fan cringe, but at least you did not have to see Bryce Salvador or Cam Jannsens hoisting the cup overhead, so take solace in that. With new ownership intact, things are trending up. Maybe, just maybe, we will see David Backes letting his dogs use the Stanley Cup as a water bowl, or David Perron skating around a frozen pond in his hometown lifting the cup as he probably pretended to do as a kid.
While we are on the case of the Blues, can we get on with the John Davidson drama? Do I think he should stay, yes. He has been the face and voice of the franchise since taking over as the president. He has done some good things to bring the fan base back, first and foremost, putting a winning product on the ice. But he is a Dave Checketts guy and we all know what happens in business when a new owner takes over. Some people will be sacrificed, so Tom Stillman can bring his people (Brett Hull) in. We must also remember that Davidson’s reign, while viewed as a success, has seen only four playoff victories, one playoff series win, and ZERO Stanley Cup wins. The ultimate sign of success is championships, and under his watch that plan has never come to it’s fruition, so maybe it is time to move on.
Preparing The 2012-2013 Roster
In the past couple of days, Blues GM Doug Armstrong has gone about building his team for next year. Forward Chris Stewart, a disappointment last year re-upped for one year. A one-year contract did wonders for TJ Oshie last year, so maybe the same can be for Mr. Stewart. A large season from him next year will enhance an offense that spuddered last year.
Yesterday, Barret Jackman was inked to a three-year deal. He is some fans whipping boy, because at times, he appears to be skating in mud. That is not a fair perception of him. The intangibles, the ruggedness and the edge he provides this young defense should not be overlooked. Kevin Shattenkirk played his best hockey when teamed with Jackman. So while he may not have the wheels fans are looking for, he is most certainly is valuable to this team. He now becomes the longest tenured athlete in St. Louis sports.
The Tank Has Arrived
That brings us to the shortest tenured athlete in St. Louis sports, Vladimir Tarasenko. Never has a Blues #1 pick come in with so much hype. Blues fans have been waiting for the “Tank”, since he was drafted in 2010, number 16 overall. He would have been drafted much higher, but teams were afraid they would not be able to sign him. Group that draft status with what scouts are saying about him along with the Blues’ lack of scoring punch, and you can see why fans are so ravenous to see him with the winged-note on his chest.
Blues fans need to temper their collective enthusiasm. Tarasenko should not be expected to carry this team offensively. He may show flashes of brilliance, but sustaining that is a hard thing to do. Try starting a new job, in a new country, where you don’t speak the language, your family and friends are not around, now add on these mounting expectations. Seems it maybe easier to succumb to the pressure than overcome it. But that is what separates athletes from spectators, so let’s wait and see.
I am looking forward to the influx of skill that Tarasenko and fellow 2010 1st rounder Jaden Schwartz will bring to the Blues. Schwartz had a cup of coffee with the team last year and proved he definitely fit in, chipping in 2 goals and an assist in 7 games. So we sit through another summer, which could be a long one with the way the Cardinals are playing, waiting for the Blues, hoping they don’t disappoint, again.
Thank you for your time.