While we made a brief kind of waffling prediction over at Puck Daddy, you won't be seeing a drawn out prediction column from me this season. It's too damn hard. Think about it.
Last season got off to a great start. Then everybody but the organ player and Charles Glenn the anthem singer got hurt it seemed like. At one point about a third of the roster spent significant time in Peoria. And the team quickly fell in the standings to the Western Conference cellar. The goalie was a head case. We joked when anyone mentioned the playoffs as a possibility. Then something strange happened. They started winning with a mutant-looking goaltender while relying on a bunch of young players to carry the team. And they went on a crazy run and I got no sleep filling the blog and writing for this pseudo porn site and the paper and my day job and my family was still around and I almost had a nervous breakdown. Somewhere in there was one of the most enjoyable stretches of hockey in recent memory capped with a tight, hard-fought sweep in the first round at the end of a long paragraph.
The team didn't add anything but a backup goaltender in the offseason. The first round pick was a young Swedish defenseman (cross-promotion for this week's games?) who won't get a sniff of the NHL for some time. They are getting back Erik Johnson and Paul Kariya from injury, the ineffective captain won't see the ice for awhile and old and falling apart Keith Tkachuk was re-signed for one more rodeo.
You take all that information, you put it in a food processor, out comes a big gooey bowl of I Don't Know What The Fuck Will Happen This Season jambalaya. Let's take a quick look around the Internets and see what some of the "experts" are saying will happen this year for the Blues. And when I say expert, I mean anyone smart enough to post a story on a Web site.
Over at Kukla's Korner, there are multiple blogs. One is bicurious. The other thinks the Blues will finish LAST in the Central Division. Here's their brilliant logic:
Teams that take big steps forward usually do so because a lot of things went right at the same time and that kind of luck rarely repeats itself - leading to a regression the next season.
Yeah, I hope all the Blues' luck doesn't repeat itself. Thanks for the effort, champ.
I won't justify it with a link, but the guy that allegedly makes up stories for his hockey rumors Web site says the Blues will beat out Chicago and Detroit for first in the Central with the bald guy in net winning the Vezina. It looks like he picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue. Allegedly.
On the Hardcore Sports Radio site, five of the eight "experts" picked the Blues to make the playoffs, but only one picked them as high as sixth with the other expecting them to finish either seventh or out of the playoffs.
A year ago, Adam Proteau with The Hockey News online predicted the Blues dead last in the Western Conference. This year, he vaults them all the way to ninth! Here's his thinking:
A full season from Erik Johnson and T.J. Oshie will make life easier on coach Andy Murray, as will continued progress from David Backes, Patrik Berglund and David Perron. However, their defense unit is one of the least experienced in the West – and unless Chris Mason stands on his head for a second straight year, that could be their fatal flaw.
Adam, I'm not sure why you don't have any faith in the Blues, why you like Edmonton for the eighth spot and Columbus the seventh instead of St. Louis?
Lyle Richardson (better known as Spector) says the Blues will be the ninth team in the Western Conference. No, we were not some of the Blues fans that wrote nasty things to him. He based his reasoning thusly:
The Blues enter this season with lots of promise but they'll need their key veterans to stay healthy and their young talent to keep improving if they're to build upon it.
Second verse, same as the first.
That's a pretty good sampling of opinion And none of it is consistent. And I think that's why so many people are looking forward to this season so much. No one knows how this season will progress. No one. There's a consensus with the Sharks and the Wings and the Hawks. There's no consensus for the Blues.
In the comments, feel free to make your own blind ass guess. And don't worry, we haven't forgotten that the Blues are playing the Wings this week.