Sure it's only the kids from Springfield in the NAHL, but the Springfield Jr. Blues are coming back from a horrible start to their season where they lost their first six games in a row. Now they're back to .500 with tonight's overtime win against the Traverse City North Stars, 2-1.
To get the players' and coaches' thoughts on the Jr. Blues' rebound, there's a decent write-up at the NAHL League website.
As someone who's been going to all the home games, what is there to see that the above article might miss? Read on...
Well, first off, the team has been absolutely energized in the third period. Prior to the defeat at the Showcase Tournament, you could see the team didn't have any energy in the third period, and you could also see there was no drive to keep the puck behind their opponents' blueline. Coach Maher must have said or done something during the team's sweep of the Michigan Warriors, because the Jr. Blues have gone on a tear since the Showcase. Their third-period energy is much higher than before the Showcase and the team is keeping their opponents in their own zones for most of the game. The games against Janesville really showed that new drive and the players working together much better. Hopefully all the rust has been scraped off and the team will be able to play more smoothly.
Another thing that's hurt their percentages is the games played at the Showcase. The team has played sixteen games, matched only by the Dawson Creek Rage in the West division. Most other teams have played no more than twelve or thirteen and didn't get hit with a slump like that. A good example is the Traverse City team, who had only played seven games prior to playing Springfield. Fortunately, this only affects the percentages and not the play. However, seeing your team's winning percentages in the crapper after ten games while the rest of the division seems to have lost only one game out of six can be a bit of a psychological blow. My guess is that it embarrassed them and then just ticked them off enough to train harder.
The Jr. Blues will finish off the series against Traverse City on Sunday, October 17 and then it's off to a two-game series against the Chicago Hitmen (in their lovely rink in Hoffman Estates) on the 22nd and 23rd. They'll be back in Springfield on the 29th and 30th to play the Topeka Roadrunners in a little cross-divisional play.
So, what does this really have to do with the St. Louis Blues? Eh, not much other remembering that teams can have lousy starts and make some unexpected comebacks while the season is still early. Keep the faith, brothers and sisters in fandom. 2-1-1 isn't gonna kill our Blues.
(2-15-1 on the other hand... well, let's not think like that.)