After every game, especially post-season losses, one of the highlights for me is reading the post-game interview quotes. There have been some good ones this season; today was no different.
Many on Twitter and in the media have called for the team's core of players to be broken up in response to disappointing postseason play. David Backes, T.J. Oshie, Patrik Berglund, and Alexander Steen especially have not done well in the postseason, and to be quite frank that is part of the reason that the Blues haven't done well either. From Average Joe comes this excellent point:
Unreal: Oshie-Backes-Berglund playoff careers: 85 playoff games, 15 goals, 19 assists. Toews: 100 GP, 32 goals, 57 assists.— Joe Barker (@_JoeB) April 26, 2015
That says a lot (also doesn't include Oshie's one goal from today - thanks, Teej!)
Why is the core so dead during the postseason? Should this not be when the longest tenured Blues pick it up and lead by example through their play? Do they feel that they do not have to work? I would say that Berglund had a good series and Steen honest to goodness tried, especially in game five. Oshie and Backes? Invisible except for some scrumming.
According to Oshie, they have been working. People just need to stop looking at those pesky statistics and watch the game.
Oshie on people saying core needs to be broken up: "I guess if you watch the game and you don't just look at the stat sheet, the core (1/3)— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) April 26, 2015
Oshie cont'd: "group has been playing some pretty good games since the playoffs. We've been doing a lot of things that Hitch has been..(2/3)— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) April 26, 2015
Oshie cont'd: "asking us to do, and for whatever reason we haven't gotten the goals... We just haven't gotten the goals." (3/3) #stlblues— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) April 26, 2015
I am all about "the eye test." I enjoy Fancy Stats and I do think they're excellent descriptors of phenomena, but I also like to understand the "why" behind things - I'm taking qualitative research classes for a reason. I like to know what makes people tick. But this? The stats are reflective of what we see on the ice.
What I see in those quotes are more telling. One, it's buck passing plain and simple and two, if they're just doing what Hitch is telling them, there may be some sort of cause and effect relationship there between the instruction and the lack of goal scoring. The Blues have averaged just a little over two goals a game in their last three first round exits. Something isn't working. Either it's the execution of Hitchcock's strategy or it's the strategy itself.
If the strategy is being executed correctly but is not working, you change it. If the strategy isn't being grasped by the players, you try a new damn strategy.
Shattenkirk said Hitch is the right guy: "Absolutely. Hitch has been the reason why we've been here for four years." #stlblues— Lou Korac (@lkorac10) April 26, 2015
Getting bumped from the playoffs?