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Blues Fall, Building Continues On

It'd be easy to come home from that game with my ears still ringing and write about the failure of the power play. Or about the ineffectiveness of the rookie forwards. Or about the good things that the Canucks did in this game and in this series.

But we have plenty of time for that later.

Instead I'll just reiterate what we've been saying for a couple days about this playoff series; it isn't about the Canucks, it's about the Blues. Despite what all the bandwaggoners want to say about 'another playoff failure' served up by the Blues tonight or the fact that the half-way fans wanted to know what the score of the Cardinals game was during OT, this series was a step forward for a young franchise.

Before the game, team president John Davidson addressed the crowd outside the Drinkscotch and said that tonight's game was "another brick in the foundation we've been building in St. Louis."

If you don't understand that, then we don't have much common ground between us.

Absolutely we wanted to win the series. Of course we wanted to see the kids dominate like they did at times during the regular season. Yes, we expected better things from the power play.

But it isn't about any of that, either.

Before this season I predicted that the Blues would be a bubble team, finishing somewhere between 7th and 10th in the Western Conference. And that was before Erik Johnson wrecked his knee playing golf. Before Manny Legace tripped on Sarah Palin's carpet. Before Paul Kariya shelved himself after just 11 games and Andy McDonald cracked an ankle falling into the boards and Eric Brewer's back froze up like a robot that hadn't been greased properly.

And after all of that, this team beat my expectations.

So, you may want me to come in here with one of my patented rants and tear everyone on the team a new asshole, but it just isn't going to happen. The team has given us so much more than we expected this season that I have a hard time being upset about a first round playoff exit.

If anything, tonight is yet another step forward. Another brick in the foundation. A sign that the rebuilding is definitely progressing. The kids have realized that there's another level to this game and my guess is that TJ Oshie and Patrik Berglund learned important lessons over the last week. David Perron gained invaluable experience and learned that he's up to the increased tempo and pressure. Roman Polak was incredible and easily earned his spot for next year.

Throw on top of the real youngsters the next level of youth, our veterans in their mid-20's like David Backes and Brad Boyes and Carlo Colaiacovo and Jay McClement and on and on. How much did they learn?

Andy McDonald was the best player in the Note all series. Think he'll be ready to go next year? What about Chris Mason? Anyone wonder about his focus coming into next year as the starter?

Feel free to cry in your beers and onto your keyboards about the end of the playoffs for the Blues. I heard a guy bitching about it in the stands tonight. But it's different this time. This wasn't an older team trying to win a Cup as a top seed. This was a team that was earning stripes in the midst of a growing period. The best days for this team now lay ahead of us. The rebuild is in progress, not ahead of us or behind us.

As JD said, it was just another brick in the already strong foundation of this team. But we've still got a way to go before the building is complete.