St. Louis Blues 2011: Looking Back at a Disappointing Season
As yet another disappointing season for the Blues comes to an end; I have been overcome with periods of reflection, since we have nothing to look forward to in terms of playoffs. It has clearly been a season of ups and downs, but surely mostly downs. Today I will recap the 5 things that stuck out to me this year and hopefully shed some light on why everything went so wrong.
While it is true that every team deals with injuries, the black and seemed to have it worse then anyone else this year. The entire defense missed atleast some point of the season, namely Roman Polak for an extended period as well as Barrett Jackman. T.J. Oshie missed over a month with a broken ankle, as well as Andy McDonald with the always scary concussion. As well as my favorite player Alex Steen, with a season ending lower body injury. And of course the elbow felt around the city that knocked out David Perron with a concussion early in the year. These were just the major injuries, nearly the entire team was stricken with some type of ailment at some point. With this many holes that were never filled, the Blues never had a shot of much success.
2.) Block Buster Trade
Perhaps the most exciting part of this train-wreck of a year was the block buster trade between Colorado and St. Louis. The trade sending first round pick over all Eric Johnson to the Aves for Kevin Shattenkirk and our now best offensive weapon Chris Stewart. This trade was a great move by the Blues. We picked up two great players for an underachieving mediocre Eric Johnson. It was at the very least a nice distraction from the losing.
3.) Poor, Poor Goaltending
As a goalie myself, I felt for Jaroslav Halek this season with the often injured or inexperienced defensive pairings this season. Shooters are going to score in this league with high percentage opportunities, and he did not get a ton of help this season. However, just like all Blues fans, I was extremely excited and had high expectations for Helak to be a franchise goalie for the Blues. While I think there is still a chance of him being that piece of the puzzle, I think it is now safe to say the chances are low. His often lackadaisical play and streaky save percentages take a bit of steam out of my "Helakness Monster-Choo-Choo-Train."
4.) Payroll Dumping and Another 4-Sale Sign
I was again happy with the moves that the Blues made this season to dump contracts like Brad Winchester and Brad Boyes, who have had time and time again to prove their worth. Freeing up this cap space has been great for next year, if we do anything about it. The Blues now have the 2nd lowest payroll in the entire league, only under the dismal New York Islanders. There is absolutely no way to win without spending money, we all know this. I'm dubious anything will be done this year since we have yet to find any major funding and the Blues are again up for sale. Money=winning, we must find more money.
5.) Sell Outs and Looking to The Future
As a season ticket holder myself, I can say with confidence that the Blues really do have the fan support. Every game I went to was a sellout, even though it was often a loss. The support is there, and has been for the better part of the decade. The last 3 years have been spent with jargon from the Blues consisting of "we are rebuilding" or "the team is young and maturing", but that time is come and gone. While am excited for the addition of Russian prospect Vladimir Teresanko and home grown talent Jaden Schwartz, we must ensure that the funding is there to keep these players, but also fill the gaping holes in the more recent future. There is no doubt in my mind Teresanko will be a mega star, we just need to have the money to keep him around.
After such a hot start, I don’t think any of us saw this season ending like this. Hopefully this time next year we will have something happier to write about, like the Blues being a major contender in the Western Confrence.