Here we are near the end of the second week of February, the All-Star Game barely in the rearview mirror and I'm exhausted by the St. Louis Blues.
The players on this team, in addition to their injuries, streakiness and uneven play over the course of the season, have wrung from me the last available emotion I have. They win, I don't really get excited. They lose, I don't get upset. A road game in Florida is on TV and I have a hard time not changing the channel. It all feels like a rerun.
Think about where this team is right now, tied for 13th in the conference. They're seven points out of the final playoff spot. Their record is right around .500 with or without counting overtime and shootout losses as losses. Weren't we here last year? Weren't we here two years ago? Didn't we do this dance three years ago? Fucking frustrating is what that is.
I have some questions. There are no good answers. What if this is the best this core group of players can accomplish? These entry-level deals are running out and guys are hitting restricted free agency in the next couple years. That means raises for a team still cash-strapped with investor uncertainty. What if this is the best we can expect from David Backes, Patrik Berglund and T.J. Oshie? What if David Perron is never the same after his concussion problems (see Savard, Marc)? What if this is the best we can ever expect from Erik Johnson? In other words, what if this rebuild launched in 2005-06 has failed? It's 2011, people. We're supposed to be enjoying easy runs to the playoffs and debates on how to best afford ticket bills for games in April and May. Instead I want to know how good the draft is this summer and what kind of picks and players they'll get for trading Brewer, an unrestricted free agent this summer. If this season is a failure (and failure is measured in postseason games-period), does that mean John Davidson has failed? Does that mean the scouts and guys making the picks failed? Does it mean the coaching staff has failed to develop players? Honestly, it feels like this team is closer to starting over than being a good team. Let that shit sink in.
Tonight and Saturday are dire. They MUST win both games in regulation against Minnesota, currently the eighth-place team in the Western Conference. They must win if they have any hope of passing them in the standings. They lose, they give up some charity points and the last 30 games of the season are a quiet jog in the park and not a sprint to the finish.
No jokes. No bullshit. This is your gameday thread.