Don't say the two games are just two games.
The suddenly successful Sweden trip completed by the Blues over the weekend was just two games on the schedule. There are still 80 games left to play between now and April. There are still four more games against the Red Wings. Lot's of crap is still going to happen this season.
Yet these weren't just any two games. These games are a validation. They are a message. They are the next step. Sure, I could be full of crap, but before you pass judgment, let me explain.
The Red Wings have been the class of the Western Conference for awhile now. Too long, obviously. But you don't get to two straight Cup Finals without a little chutzpah. The Wings are obviously a veteran team filled with guys who "know how to win." They don't roll over for anybody. So giving two early leads to Detroit before forcing the action and dominating the games is no small shakes. It took a talented, fast and skilled team to pull off those two games.
The Blues didn't learn to play this brand of hockey overnight. This is a team cooked in a crock pot set on low. It's been built through multiple drafts, a few shrewd trades and a couple of free agent signings and waiver wire pickups. In other words, they picked their own guys they liked that others left on the table and they acquired players others found to be expendable or too expensive. And these two wins are another validation of the team's plan. Think about how long the Predators and Blue Jackets have been building this way. And it hasn't worked. It's not easy. Yet, here we are. The front office made some uncanny decisions on players, stuck to its guns and the team has a white hot start to the season as a reward.
It would have been super easy during Saturday's game to mail in two more periods after they were dominated in the first. They already had a win in the bank and Detroit had complete control. Sure Keith Tkachuk scored that power play goal late - fittingly with the puck just barely sliding behind Jimmy Howard in a rather unconvincing fashion. But they obviously didn't give up. They came out balls to the wall and kicked some ass to even the game, take control and finish the Wings off. Not only was it a big "Fuck You!" to Detroit, but a shot across the bow in the Central Division standings. No team wants to play the Blues right now, unless they're DirecTV subscribers and didn't see Friday's game.
After last season's frantic finish to snatch the sixth seed on the very last day of the season, they laid a big ass egg in the playoffs. It made outsiders question if the whole thing was a mirage. But we knew. We fans who watched this team come together, it was obvious to us. At that point, the team could go one of two ways. They either could have found satisfaction in what they accomplished and tried to forget how it ended. Or they could have gotten so pissed off in the summer that when the season opened, the team's motto could have been, "May God have mercy on the souls of our opponents - no matter their name, colors or crest."
So yeah, it's only two games. But come April, they could be seen as two of the most important games of the entire season. And think about how fucking awesome it's going to be when the Blues come out of the dressing room to a sold-out crowd at the Drinkscotch Center on Thursday night. When the ringing leaves your ears and you've found your voice after screaming it out, then tell me it's just two games.