UPDATE: Here's Ken Hitchcock discussing the walking wounded. It looks like Paul Stastny may be the only one that we see anytime soon.
The West Coast road trip was not kind to the Blues. After losing two of three games in extra play (because the Blues couldn't maintain a lead - stop me if you've heard this before), they had to battle to eke out a win against the Los Angeles Kings in a shootout Saturday night. They finished the road trip four of six possible points, yes - but they easily could've finished with all six. It displayed weaknesses that the Blues have been struggling to address over the past month with no fix in sight.
The Blues have another issue on top of the malaise: they've lost five players in a brief amount of time. Friday night against the Ducks, they lost Jay Bouwmeester, Paul Stastny, and Jake Allen; Saturday night Carl Gunnarsson and Magnus Paajarvi went down.
To wit: that's a top pairing defenseman, a second pairing defenseman, the top line center, the starting goaltender, and a guy who occasionally gets top six minutes.
This is not good.
The Blues have dealt with injury on and off all season long; after all, Jaden Schwartz is still out after getting hurt in practice months ago. It's difficult, though, when the rash happens not only all at once, but all at once during a period of uneven play that has seen the Blues slip to third in the Central Division.
With five players injured at the exact moment trade chatter is beginning, this hurts the Blues off of the ice as well. It is very difficult to trade someone who is injured; there go the odds of trading Gunnarsson for the time being. Sorry, those of you who would like to see PRV dealt so Hitch stops playing him on the first and second line - that won't happen for a while.
I'd like to give you guys an opportunity to look at the impact of these injuries while we're waiting on the outcome of medical staff evaluations. Who do you think the Blues miss on the ice the most? I have a sneaking suspicion I already know the answer.