I'm not one to use a lot of statistics to form my opinions. I'm more of a gut-reaction type. A guy who judges on what I see. A person who forms strong opinions based on my experiences and extrapolation.
You know, a bullshitter.
So normally I'd sit down to write about the smoldering remains of the Blues season and fire up the Opinionometer and start bashing away based on anecdotal evidence, hairbrained theories and some good ol' fashioned berating.
For something totally different, I've decided to turn to the statistics kept by our own St. Brian. If you're unfamiliar with his name then you clearly do not read the print version of Game Time before all Blues home games. St. Brian is the man who tracks and compiles the statistics that make up the "Blues Record When" feature. Looking at the stats contained therein through 34 home games and 72 total games gives us a very clear indicator of how the Blues have failed this season.
Obvious Failure Stats:
Playing at home: 12-18-5
- One point to remember is that one of these 'home' wins actually came in Sweden. The record in St. Louis is 11-18-5. I (almost) hate to keep bringing this up, but if the Blues' home record matched the Columbus Blue Jackets' home record (14th in the West), the Blues would be sitting pretty in the fifth seed in the West. If they had Anahiem's home record (11th in the West, one spot behind the Blues) they'd be fourth in the conference, one point out of the division and conference lead. Yes, conference lead (That means 1st). It's not just the ticket price increase and down economy that's going to ding the renewal rates this summer....
Andy Murray is coach: 17-17-6
- Not horrible, but in my opinion, Murray's demise was actually caused by two factors; the team's overachieving end to last season set everyone up with too-high expectations for this year ("You Are The Last Piece Of The Puzzle") and his gruff coaching methods stopped working on the young core of the team, who in turn tuned him out.
Trailing after first period, 7-16-1, trailing after second period, 2-21-3
- This team just didn't have the wherewithal to overcome leads, especially after two periods. The good news is that the Blues went into the third period leading more often than losing (33-26) and that they only lost two games outright in the third, but they lost another six in OT/SO. That unfortunately leads to the next stat...
Less Obvious Failure Stats:
Leading after second period, 25-2-6
- Seems like a good stat, right? Well the 25 wins look good, but when you take into consideration the two regulation losses and six games lost in overtime/shootout it means that the Blues lost that third period lead 24% of the time (eight of 33 times).
- You want to know why you're not in the playoffs? Because you aren't winning enough against the teams you're in direct competition with. They'll play more games against the Central Division than any other group of teams and the Blues are in fourth place with a .500 record against them. So-called toughest division or not, if you're not beating Nashville and Columbus more often than not (1-3, 2-2-1; total of 3-5-1, 7 points) and at least splitting with Chicago (1-3) you're going to have problems. The only positive in the group is the record against Detroit (4-0-1) which evens out a stat that could be worse than it is.
Record when they played the day previous, 5-8-2
- Uck. Twelve points out of a possible 30 on the second day of back-to-back games is awful. Simply awful.
Record when Chris Mason starts, 23-20-8
- And you want to be my
latex salesmanstarting netminder? The Blues need a starting netminder and not a recycled great backup netminder. As I've said before, depending on how you feel about Grant Fuhr, Curtis Joseph and the tail end of Jacques Plante and Glenn Hall's careers, you could argue that we've never had a true starting goalie in his prime. A game-changer, point-stealer bona-fide number one, who cares who's backing up starter. When does that change? When?
Record when the Blues score four or more goals, 21-0-0
- So, you know, if you guys in management want to go out and sign a goalscorer or whatever that's, you know, cool. Also, note to Brad Boyes: Be a goddamn man, stop doubting yourself and start hitting the goddamn net. You can act like a man!
Record when the Blues are leading after the first period, 15-5-2
- That's a good number, gaining 32 of a possible 44 points in those games (73%), but leading after one in only 22 of 72 games is pretty bad. This is a slow-starting team, season-wise and game-wise. That's got to change. You want me to run the pre-game boombox? Because I'll do it. And I'm sure it'll help.
Record on the road, 22-11-4
- Whatever the hell is going on the road is good. Getting away from PT's may be the answer or maybe it's just that the road allows too few opportunities to get out of the hotel to find the local version of PT's. Whatever it is, bottle that shit so they can drink a ton more next year and beyond. With 22 wins 48 points, this is the second-highest point-gathering road record in the team's history (1999 - 58 points) and if they win two of their last on the road they'll own second in that category too (1999 - 27; 1990 - 23 wins).
Non-Correlation Failure Stats:
These likely are just anomalies, but they're worth noting anyway...
Record against the Atlantic Division, 5-1-1
- The Blues did best against this group compared to any other division in the NHL, losing to only Pittsburgh (1-5 in October) and Philadelphia (1-2 in shootout in November).
Record when wearing the third jerseys, 3-7-3
- That can't be a causal statistic... right? Nine out of a possible 26 points?
Record when playing on Sunday, 1-3-1
- Hell, I don't want to do anything on Sunday either. Or Monday, for that matter (2-5-0). Still seven points out of 24 total on those two days is a wasted opportunity.
So, what have our Failure Stats told us about this season? Here's your layman's wrap-up.
Your Blues need to not play games on Sunday or Monday. Wednesday (6-2-1) is actually their best day. They should also avoid wearing those third jerseys (probably because of the fruity "do I tie it or don't I?" neck laces). Also bad for our Blues are home games, giving up leads, playing back-to-back games and having Chris Mason as the starter.
What's good for the Blues? Well, not exactly groundbreaking, but scoring four or more goals, playing on the road (preferably against the Atlantic Division as much as possible) and having Davis Payne as the coach.
You want some serious statistical silliness?
Best possible game: On the road on a Wednesday against an Atlantic Division team when they haven't played in at least two days in which they score four or more goals and have a lead going into the third period with Davis Payne as their coach and Ty Conklin in goal.
Worst possible game: At home on a Sunday wearing the third jerseys with Andy Murray as coach with Chris Mason in goal against a team from the Central Division that is not Detroit (4-0-1 vs Detroit, 4-8-1 vs everyone else) when they played the day before and where they score fewer than four goals and are not winning headed into the third period.
As we like to say in the paper, "Stats may lie, but it takes words to say the lie."
These may be my words, but all the credit goes to St. Brian who kept these stats all year long.