Remember this date: December 17, 2013. Blues’ captain David Backes went down with a reported “upper body” injury. Well, you can’t get anymore up on the body then the head, so I guess the report is someone right.
As Backes woozily did his best impression of the scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz barely making to the bench, the word concussion came to mind. While the injury and its extent has not been disclosed, one thing we know is the captain is out indefinitely.
Someone will need to step up in his absence. And The Winner is: Patrik Berglund.
It is time for the big Swede to exert his force into this 2013-14 season. His meandering through the first 33 games must come to an abrupt halt. No more hockey rhetoric of all the little things he is doing to help the Blues win. It is big things, mostly goals, that the Blues need.
With just 2 goals so far, Berglund is on pace for a whopping 5 – Not exactly what you would expect from a Top 3 center iceman. After netting 17 goals in the strike shortened 48 game season just a year ago, most thought that Berglund was on the cusp of a 30 goal season, but that plan has never come to its fruition.
In the offseason, Berglund and the Blues agreed on a one year contract. It appeared that could be the impetus for a breakout year from # 21. His payday could be handsome.
Well, the gamble for him has not paid off and really has not paid off for the Blues on the ice. When he went down for a few games earlier this year, there was much talk about how his team would miss all of the “behind the scenes” aspects that Berglund was bringing every night.
While this may be true, a player of his ilk and skill level should have more demanded of him. And that the demand will continue to grow without David Backes in the lineup.
Berglund has a hard, heavy shot, yet he is 11th on the team with just 42 shots on goal. He also needs to strive harder to get to the net. When Berglund is at his best, he is getting pucks out of the corner and curling out to get to the front of the net.
Speaking of the front of the net, that’s where Berglund needs to park himself on the power play to pick up deflections and rebounds. A guy of his size should provide a pretty good screen for opposing goalies.
While it will be a total team effort to make up for Backes and his offensive production, Berglund should be the one to spearhead it. I would like to see what he could do when reunited with TJ Oshie. They’ve had good chemistry in the past. Being put on the top line with Oshie and fellow countryman Alexander Steen may provide the spark that Berglund needs to get him going.
The Blues need it, the fans want to see it and Berglund’s bank account would prosper because of it.