So after the Blues game yesterday I wrote some stuff. Some people agreed with it, some didn't. Some called me a moron.
I really don't care if you agree with me — we've all got opinions, but I feel like I should clear some points up. In my hurry to write something I glossed over some points and didn't really make myself clear.
First off, everyone seems extremely focused on my paragraph about the defense. That's my bad. I wrote the article in a hurry and didn't give it much revision. I didn't make my point clearly so, you know, it's ammo for the "LOL DUMB BLUES FAN" crowd. I get it. Reading it today, it reads real dumb.
My point was a simple one: The Blues top-3 d-men are all so similar and that's not exactly the best thing. In baseball, you don't want all your pitchers to throw the same thing with the same delivery. That's why teams have rotations with left-handed starters and guys who throw hard and guys who throw soft.
Alex Pietrangelo is an all-world defensemen, top-8 in the league. Jay Bouwmeester and Kevin Shattenkirk could both be No. 1 on most teams in the league. It's an embarrassment of riches. Unfortunately, as the Kings and Blackhawks have shown, they can be bullied.
The Kings and Hawks both went hard after the Blues d-men. Pietrangelo was targeted early and often. His possession stats were similar to his regular season numbers, but something just seemed off about him. His offensive numbers were slightly down but, and this is where I wish the stat community would make strides, I didn't see his normal steady game. His passes seemed off. He looked off. Same with Bouwmeester and Shattenkirk.
The Blues big three are so similar. In my opinion, the Blues need something different. Look at the Norris nominees: Duncan Keith, Shea Weber and Zdeno Chara. Those are all dudes who not only get points, but are hell to play against. Chris Pronger is the prototype. The Blues were so good with Pronger and Al MacInnis because they complemented each other, they weren't clones of each other.
And yes, this is easier said than done. Prongers aren't just lying around. But the Blues have a trade chip in Shattenkirk. Strength for strength.
Again, never did I say the Blues need more grit and toughness and all that nonsense. Never did I say Jackman is better than Pietrangelo. What I said was poorly worded. What I meant was: The Blues need some variation on the blue line.
Vladimir Sobotka is a perfect third liner with no offensive game. This is known by now, and yet the Blues keep playing him 20 minutes a night, keep playing him on the power play, keep playing him with skill players and keep telling everyone how good he is.
I'll prove it. In a three year stretch,, Player A played 245 games, scored 32 goals and added 45 assists. In a three year stretch player Player B played 247 games and scored 29 goals and added 72 assists.
Player A is Jay McClement from 2007-10. Player B is Sobotka from 2010-14
His PR agent Darren Pang has convinced fans that Sobotka is the straw that stirs the drink when he's really Jay McClement with a funny name.
If the Blues are going to bring him back as the No. 2 center and power play guy, no. That's not who he is. He'll be 27 this summer. This is who he is — a damn good penalty killer, faceoff man and energy center. He's not a top-6 player.
Front Office And Coaching
I stand by every thing I said. Armstrong has made move after move that's failed. He went all in this year with Derek Roy, Brenden Morrow, Ryan Miller and spending to the cap. THIS was a cap team. And the Blues got two playoff wins out of it.
As for Hitch, I think he's run his course. He says the same things and the results stay the same. He wins in the regular season, shakes things up in the playoffs and then goes home early. This dude benched Tarasenko last year and then played him five minutes in his one playoff game. On a team that needed offense. His says all the right things and then dresses corsi disaster Ryan Reaves all six games.
If you disagree with me still, fine. I just felt the need to clarify some things I wrote quickly. I don't think the Blues should blow it all up and start the rebuild, but at the same time, changes need to be made. Three years in a row of zero progress? It's time to stop pretending this team isn't broken.
Changes, some drastic, need to be made. The Blues can't just sit by and say hey, next year will be different because everyone is going to be older and better so we're not going to make any changes. That doesn't work anymore. It's time to make some decisions on some key people. Is Patrik Berglund going to stay around? Is Jake Allen the guy? Can the Blues win with David Backes as the No. 1 center?