[This article originally appeared in the Nov. 23 issue of St. Louis Game Time.]
When you have as many home games as the Blues have had this month, it puts a little strain on the writers of this publication. We have to stretch for topics or do something we've written about before or even have to cover something that you've already read about in the mainstream media. But worse than any of those is straight up writer's block. There's nothing worse than when you think you've covered everything worth writing about and the creative juices have stagnated.
So, as I try to wade through this molasses-thick pond of stagnated creative juice, all I can think about are the topics I definitely don't want to write about.
I know for a fact that I don't want to write about Eric Brewer and the way he divides Blues fans faster than discussions about whether Chris Pronger is a great defender or just a dirty player do.
I'll never understand why anyone has ever thought that Brewer was going to replace Pronger when the two were traded for each other. Brewer was the most notable player received in that trade, but in his four seasons in Edmonton he never cracked the 30 point barrier, scoring 21, 25, 29 and 25 points. He never had more than eight goals. In St. Louis he has played only two full seasons; in those years he scored 29 and 22 points. He's never had more than six goals in a season here.
Seems kind of consistent to me.
I'll never understand why people get so fired up about him, either pro or con. What's he ever done to earn either intense love or intense hate?
As far as the captaincy issue, I also don't get it. He's not the kind of guy I want to be my captain; I'm more of a Mike Richards guy when it comes to leadership roles. I want my team's captain to be a fired-up player who wears his heart on his sleeve, the kind of player who you can tell how hard and emotionally he's playing even if you're sitting way up in the cheap seats.
But the bottom line on that issue is that his teammates voted him into that position. The players must like something about his leadership. If not, they've got no one to blame but themselves on that one. And there isn't anything we can do to change it either.
So I'm about sick of the whole Brewer topic, so I won't write about that.The other big topic whipping around the Blues these days that I don't feel like addressing is this slump and whether the Blues are damaging their playoff hopes already.
Clearly, they have. Even with the last two wins, the Blues are five points behind the next-closest team in their division. The odds of the Blues making a miracle run like they did last season to make the playoffs are very, very long. It's beyond obvious that consistency needs to be the team motto: they need to beat the teams they're supposed to beat (Phoenix and the Islanders leap to mind), win games in the division (Nashville and Columbus most specifically) and will have to steal some games from teams ahead of them on the talent scale (Boston would be a good start; Chicago and Detroit need to follow).
It's just too obvious and I'm not going to write about it.
Last year during The Run, there was no praise too high for coach Andy Murray. During the time before that he didn't really come under much fire either because the team was so banged up that he could hardly be blamed for the team's struggles. This year, however, he's the new whipping boy and I've heard plenty of "Fire Murray" talk and predictions that he'll be gone by Christmas.
The problem with all that talk is that it's all for the fans only. We don't know what management thinks, but they seem to have confidence in him. Short of a Mike Kitchen-esque "I don't know what's wrong with them. I told them what to do" meltdown, he's not going anywhere, so I don't really want to write about that, either.
I'm as frustrated as anyone (though I'd bet the players are more frustrated than I am) with the constant shuffling of lines and re-purposing of players, but I can't influence it with these words anyway. I can make the argument over and over that keeping players in their traditional roles makes more sense than taking a natural winger and making him a center because he's a big body and that professional athletes are so fine-tuned that they gain an advantage by playing with habitual linemates, but I won't.
Andy Murray won't read this anyway and would not take my advice even if he did. So I won't write about it.
I could write about the in-game entertainment some more, but the people in charge clearly already figured out on their own that the "Phantom of the Opera House" bit just did not work. I could explain a little more about our rapport with Angelllla; you'd think she hates us for all the shit we shovel her way, but she's got a remarkable tolerance for us and a good sense of humor (though we may never forgive her for ruining the glitch we found in the Lucky Skate Shuffle a couple years ago by reporting it). I could even spend some more time making fun of the blue rat and his new move of doing handstands for the kids... putting his non-panted rat junk right at head-level for most juveniles, but you've likely already gotten the douchechills about that.
I don't know. I guess the home stand wins. I'm just out of ideas on what to write about. Hopefully something will come to mind soon.
-Sean "Oh, Henry!" Gallagher