I Thought I'd do a brief review of the preseason post on the Blues chances, and take the lumps and kudos for my opinions were appropriate.
but liars figureâ€¦
By Childhood TraumaÂ
Ultimately the 2008 Bluesâ€™ hopes must lie with a team concept. The individuals they have assembled will not win games with individual performances. No one in the â€˜Note is an elite, a game-breaker, a preseason favorite to win an award. Will the same team Gestalt appear that marked the sinking of Kitchen? Will someone surprise us? Will a deadline deal make this team better this time around? If the answers to all three of them are yes, then the Blues should expect a return to the playoffs. A single no may doom the team to watching the playofs on tv. If they are televised this year.
I still back this up. However the Blues ARE playing a team game which Murray has pretty much the entire team buying into it. It has to continue.
Goaltending: Manny is a second tier goalie.Â ... Legace will not get the Blues into the playoffs alone.
Oppps. Manny is a top tier goalie this season and is winning games on his own, something that has not happened in St. Louis recently or often.
Defense: The Blues top offensive d-man was Backman, and that will likely continue. Backman can bring a lot to the offensive zone yet still occasionally has lapses in the defensive zone.Â .... The Blues do even worse inÂ providing any spark form the Blueline. Eric Brewer, playing for a contract, woke up finally in the â€˜Note and lead the Blues in points.Â ...Â Jackman managed to be the Bluesâ€™ second place scorer and he ranked 57th.Â ... As a defensive squad, lead ice time went to Eric BrewerÂ who was team worse with a -10. And while we can expect Jay McKee to play more than 23 games, ...The addition of Erik Johnson is certainly a wild card. While he is not an elite prospect in the Calder race, and while he wasnâ€™t even the best Gopher d-man, many fans are penciling him in for 20 minutes a night.Â
Ok concerns about getting scoring and transition from the d remain a top concern for the rest of the 2008 campaign. We can add concerns about the point men on a failing power play. EJ and Bryce have found their games, but Backman has regressed into hibernation on O and was always a liability on D. Brewer is Brewer. Jackman has lost the points he had been in position to score during 2007 and has a brutal +/- but may be miscast in the dark shadow of Backman's partner. The d is providing defense, and penalty kill, which are essential and can not be exchanged for offense. The trick will be to find O from the d corps without reducing their defensive play
Forwards: The team has beenÂ offensively dead for seasons. Very little has changed. ...In the find the net category, sophomore Lee Stempniak lead the Blues but didnâ€™t bother to crack the top 50 in the NHL ...Kariya didnâ€™t crack the top 30 in points scoredÂ while onÂ a playoff bound Nashville team, and simply doesnâ€™t score many goals. Guerinâ€™s blues output is likely to exceed Kariyaâ€™s, and withÂ other main players like Weight and KT getting that much futher past prime producing age, Lee Stempniak and oh let me pull a name out of the hat, ummm, Petr Cajanek (coughÂ cough) are going to have to score goals at rates they have yet to achieved to keep the Blues a scoring threat.
Scoring still an issue. I like Paul's addition more than I thought I would, but scoring from more than two people is still essential. While it hasnt been Lee and (obvisouly) Cajanek. Boyes has come through, Kariya is scoring occasionally, Lee has stopped the depressing goal output that haunted the begining of his junior season. The Blues STILLÂ need to find goal scoring from an unexpected player, and they must get consistant goal scoring from kt, lee, and Mcdonald
Coaching: ..... Andy Murray didnâ€™t win any coaching awards despite what I hear from Local fans. The last time Andy Murray won a playoff series, Alexander Khavanov was leading the St. Louis Blues ...What does the mood ball say about Andy winning a playoff series or award this season? Chances arenâ€™t good.
Andy Murray has a 40 win 2007 calendar season under his belt. He has angered some of his players, and had them ejected from the team. He has a tight defensive system in place. Yet he has failed to correct the power play, healthy scratchedÂ out some confusing choices, and has a bubble team. While I thik Andy has shown he can coach this team for the short term and achieve solid play I remain concerned about his long term survivability as the BLues' head coach, and I still suspect this will not be the season Andy's team breaks the post season 4 win mark.
Top Brass: Canâ€™t be elite. â€œPleau must geauâ€ was a rallying cryÂ ... The rest are all neo-rookies. They seem intent in stock piling goalies and second tier defensemen.Â ... This is their first real test though, and the problems they inherited are nowÂ theirs to fix. Whatever paths they have chosen we have alreadyÂ started down. Will it end at a cup?
I like the brass, but again I'm not sure this team is ready, this season, to explode. And it will be interesting to see what they do near trading deadline with a bubble team. What pieces do they feel are tradable? what pieces d they think the Blues need? Will they rent players?I'm not as concerned about them failing to do something appriopriate for the team as I am curious seeing what they do. That alone is a vast improvement from recent gm/president/owner combos this city has seen