In an interview with the Post-Dispatch's Tom Timmerman, Blues owner Tom Stillman opens up about the Blues' offseason. Let's admit it: aside from Barret Jackman heading to Nashville and the trade that sent T.J. Oshie to the Washington Capitals, this offseason has been status quo all of the way. Doug Armstrong has advocated an approach of consistency that has teetered toward cautious.
Stillman raises good points, especially that of whole-sale roster turnover being a near impossibility due to the cap and the machinations of trades in the NHL. Folks who think that the Blues will get equal value in return for anyone on the roster are disappointed; the older forwards will not command a comparable player as a price, and the younger forwards being traded (though seriously, who wants that?) would not get the same potential in return.
Heck, season ticket sales are up, apparently. What incentive for huge roster turnover is that?
Stillman, and by proxy, Armstrong, view the regular season as a success, and it was. Their tinkering was done to not disturb the regular season success; it was done to bolster playoff performance:
We need to be successful in the playoffs, beyond the first round, beyond the second round. It’s a very positive thing that makes you want to not willy-nilly change things, but we have to make changes so we’ll be successful in the playoffs.
Will it? I'm still in slightly pessimistic mode, and the number crunching that has been done on this site this summer has illustrated that there are playoff issues that Troy Brouwer may not fix. Kyle Brodziak does not a Stanley Cup make. You have to look at it this way: what else, especially knowing that the current roster would not command their value on the trade market, do they do player personnel-wise?
I fully, completely believe Stillman when he says:
I don’t take lightly the responsibility looking over a civic asset like the St. Louis Blues. I’m a competitive person and I want to win. I want to win everything for the sake of winning to giving the city and the supporters what they deserve to having the effect that will have on the long-term stability of the franchise.
I do think it's telling, however, that the interview focuses on the players and the financial outlook for the team, which is excellent. Both of these things are positive at best, though perhaps the former is not for some people who wanted a shakeup. What the interview does not touch on, except for a throwaway line in the introduction, is the retaining of Ken Hitchcock and the coaching staff.
The players are as good as the coaches behind the bench. During the regular season, they have been very, very good as a whole. However, there have been issues with consistency and scoring that creep into the regular season play for stretches of games, and it seems to arise again at the least opportune time possible: the post-season. It's happened consistently enough that it has become an easily documentable pattern.
Is there a belief that the regular season stability will eventually translate into post-season success? Is there concern that a behind the bench shakeup could interfere with the on-ice success that this team has consistently shown during the regular season under Ken Hitchcock? Equal value seems to be given to both players and coaching staff, and that's commendable. However, at what point do you say that this pattern of regular season success and postseason failure needs to be broken? When do you determine that success may come by breaking up the stability?