Those who stayed for the entirety of that abhorrent 4-1 loss to the Maple Leafs tonight have my complete respect. Yes, even those of you who booed at the end of it. Hell, ESPECIALLY those of you who booed at the end of it.
That game was part of a stretch where the Blues have played in a way that, under normal circumstances, would get a coach fired.
But these are obviously not normal circumstances, are they?
For one, Ken Hitchcock's contract expired at the end of last season, which ended in familiar fashion for the Blues . . . a pathetic effort and a first-round exit at the hands of a Minnesota Wild(s) team that was little more than Devan Dubnyk and a long band of baling wire.
If it were up to me, the entire coaching staff—perhaps, save for Jim Corsi and perhaps Kirk Muller—would have been cashiered. Instead, they're all back.
If that performance didn't get the general manager's attention about issues behind the bench, I don't know how this recent run of play would.
But I'll run it down anyway . . . in the last ten games the Blues have played, they are 4-3-3 (11 points). That seems alright, wouldn't you think? Well . . . they've only scored 20 goals in that stretch. Which would be great . . . if it were a stretch of five games. It's a stretch of TEN games. In that same stretch, the Blues have allowed 24 goals. Again, not bad, but when the offense can't do shit, it looks a bit worse.
After Saturday's game (and I'll paraphrase here), Hitch explained that the Blues played with effort for the first 15 minutes and for some reason, that did not continue after those 15 minutes. Which is interesting, because isn't part of a coach's job to motivate his team to play better? Am I to take from this rhetoric that the coach is not doing his job effectively enough? Am I wrong here?
I mean, being as it may for a team's players to not need more than their paychecks as motivation to perform well, the coaching staff shouldn't need much more than THEIR paychecks to motivate the team to play better, no? That's a two-way street, and for Hitch to say that the team isn't playing its' best in a particular game is an indictment on his performance as well, not just the players.
The chances of the coaching staff getting any kind of turnover in the next month are quite slim, especially if—somehow—this team gets their heads out of their collective asses and starts playing better toward the end of the month. But those seats—which were supposedly pretty hot to begin the season—have to be even hotter now with the Blues playing like they are despite being two (KEY) players short of a fully healthy roster. (This would be another great opportunity for me to bag on Steve Ott, but I'll withhold . . . THIS time.)
Given all that, because this current management structure seems to believe in sleeping in the bed it has made for itself, I don't expect any major changes in the next couple weeks. As such, I'm not expecting the Blues to do much better for a little while. And the groans will get louder. And they should.
There should be no reason the Blues should lose the next two games (home dates with the Coyotes on Tuesday and the Flyers on Thursday). Then, the division-leading Stars come to town Saturday. If the Blues get any fewer than four points in that stretch, the entire coaching staff should be put on notice. Some of them probably should lose their jobs at that point. But they probably won't.
Because if they weren't put on notice after last postseason, when do we really expect that to happen? Not anytime soon. And I'm not sure how much I care for that line of logic.
So put a helmet on and dig in . . . this could be a rough stretch. And who knows if it will cause any legitimate turnover.