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A Blues Fan Soapbox: Veteran Presence

Today's turn on the soapbox comes from Jeff Jacoby.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Editor's Note: If you would like to contribute your own piece, please e-mail me at hildymacgt at gmail dot com or Brad at gtbradlee at gmail dot com. We're a fan run paper and site, and we want to give a voice to as many fans as possible. Mi soapbox es su soapbox.

The problem starts with Hitch and his "La-Russa" like dependence on veterans.  If you note the ice-time in the playoffs, the three top minutes were Alexander Steen, T.J. Oshie, and David Backes when they produced no scoring - even more critical in the playoffs as goals are harder to come by.

His insistence on playing Bow and Barret Jackman over obviously better Lindbohm is another tactical error - Jackman should have sat and Bow should've played fewer minutes.

The inability of any defensemen besides Shatty and Petro to create offense (how many Bow or Gunnar shots were harmless?) dictated playing the other defensemen.

It is easy to see that the three forwards who should lead in minutes are Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz, and Paul Stastny instead of the three who Hitch ran out over and over.

Also, I would make the case Backes has no business at center - he is poor at faceoffs (lowest percentage by far of centers on the team) and is not a fast enough skater to do well over 200 ft.  He should be playing wing on one of the top two lines (and of course by insisting on playing him at No. 1 C Hitch doomed Stasny to number 3 C).

His overplaying of veterans (see: Ott) on the top three lines is another obvious error.

Yes, Oshie is overrated, Berglund isn't worth the salary, and the Blues' goalies are only average.  But they are still a very talented team if set up correctly which hopefully the new coach will do.