Here's a disclaimer: I'm a historian. I do qualitative research. Math and I are not BFFs. We're not acquaintances. There will be no fancy stats here. This is anecdotal. "Gut feelings." Stuff that's not in vogue right now.
There is something wrong with this team. You can feel it. It's not goaltending (though Allen did not look sharp against Chicago and Brodeur had rust against Nashville, but that is to be expected). It may be the injury to Jay Bouwmeester - the defense hasn't played the same without him.
It may be that Paul Stastny came back from injury too soon. "Play better!" Ken Hitchcock commanded - then placed Stastny on a line with Patrik Berglund and Ryan Reaves to start.
Speaking of Berglund, this was Twitter last night after he took a holding penalty with 30 seconds left in the second period:
Again, we gave Berglund that new contract why? #stlblues— Michael Fisher (@FishSTL) December 5, 2014
the only time Berglund is noticeable is when he coughs up the puck or takes a dumbass penalty. #stlblues— Sandra Pascoe (@meegat) December 5, 2014
Yep. Berglund is the new Perron... #stlblues— Hitch's Hat (@HitchsHat) December 5, 2014
Oh, so Patrik Berglund IS playing tonight.— Jason McAdams (@JMill1120) December 5, 2014
Bergie isn't the only weak link right now. The Blues power play has been abysmal sans Bouwmeester. It's too much perimeter play - every. Single. Time. Nothing changes. No adjustments are made. Maybe it's because this guy is in charge right now?
@erderuft Because Kirk Muller. http://t.co/M1lbw94m11 @hildymac— Joe Barker (@_JoeB) December 5, 2014
The question here is this: why are these things tolerated? How can a player not contribute on a regular basis and get a large contract in the off-season? How can a power play regress every single year without fail? How can a team get away with having one player (Vladimir Tarasenko) score a quarter of the team's goals? How can the team have only one consistently successful line? How can there be no move to address this, be it through a trade, call-ups, or strategy?
How can a team have two forwards in the press box and ice seven defensemen, which creates a situation where you need to cycle the right wings through the lines, thereby causing the lines to be unpredictable?
The Blues are not a bad team. I'm not complaining. I'm concerned. The team has looked flat for a couple weeks, regardless of wins. There are problems here. Are the forwards simply not talented enough as a whole? Is the team's version of "adaptation" just mixing lines instead of adapting strategy? If so, why?
There are questions that need to be asked. As a non-fancy stats person, it may be difficult for me to communicate what I feel to be the causes of the Blues' problems, or to back up my gut with stats. There is a malaise here with this team and I'm unsure how you calculate the cause of that. I think that many of us have questions that we both can phrase eloquently and those that we cannot find the words for.