Thanks for nothing, Doug Armstrong. The general manager who spent more time working on his Team Canada roster and checking his phone for Vladimir Sobotka text messages has done nothing to improve a team at the deadline. A St. Louis Blues team that needed something to boost their offense, improve their overall depth and prepare for a potentially(drink) extended playoff run. Instead, the Blues acquired an Anders from Edmonton. As Colin Farrell's doomed con man said in Seven Psychopaths, "That's just great. That's just fucking great!"
The Chicago Blackhawks didn't sit on their asses this week. They acquired Andrew Ladd(someone I wanted the Blues to get) among other players that are now wearing the tainted red shirt. The Nashville Predators players kicked the Blues ass up and down the ice Saturday and then the GM went out and kicked Armie's ass in nearly acquiring Scott Hartnell, a guy with 19 goals(he'd rank second behind Tarasenko for those keeping track). Hartnell stayed but still, there was effort. The Kings stole Kris Versteeg right off the Carolina Hurricanes bench yesterday. Several other teams made moves.
The Bruins were shopping Loui Erriksson, with apparent demands shuttling around a Dmitrj Jaskin and a first round pick. I would have made that move in a heartbeat. If you show pause about giving up a pick in the bottom tier of the first round(some college shithead popping pimples right now) for a proven finisher like Loui, you need your head checked. Doug probably didn't even call. He was too busy crafting his Team Canada roster or his resume for this summer.
On January 5th, I wrote that if Ken Hitchcock is fired, Armstrong should go too. That is true today. If this team of rugged original core builders suffers another first round exit and chokes the hot weather away, Armie should have his ticket punched. His chair couldn't be hotter right now.
All this talk about the salary cap and several other teams are making deals, twisting and turning around Paajarvi during practice around Hitchcock placed cones. If the cap is the problem, set your sights on the cap maker. That man is the general manager. That man, in this case, is Armstrong. He made this cap and gave out ridiculous deals to Jay Bouwmeester and Jori Lehtera(4.7 million over next three years). He brought back Steve Ott for 2.6 million(Chris Porter does a better job at a third of the price). Armstrong baked this fucking cake, and if it tanks AGAIN, he should leave with Hitch. A coach who may walk out the fucking door before he can be fired.
This is Armie's team and he made zero changes to it. Leo Komarov with the Maple Leafs wasn't expensive and could have been acquired. He's young, has some true skill and ability. Nazeem Kadri was also a player to acquire. Jonathan Drouin isn't even playing hockey and the Blues couldn't fetch him. Old friend Lee Stempniak only cost a 850K cap hit, but Armie didn't bring him back in. There were smaller moves to be made and the GM did zilch. Zero. Nada. Nothing.
This is essentially the same team that flunked out last spring. Sure, Robby Fabbri and Colton Parayko have blossomed this season as potential game changers, but they haven't helped this team improve their overall scoring. This team is still averaging just 2.5 goals per game. When they come against the retooled and reloaded Hawks, Preds or Stars in the playoffs, do the Blues have enough to get past them? No. They don't. This team isn't good enough right now to advance. I would love to be wrong. I crave it with this team.
Every fucking season, the Blues compile a great record that is destined for playoff contention. They have talented players on their roster. They play decent over the majority of a season. They raise hope that it can be the first deep playoff run in a long time April shows up and the Blues show as much life as a Wesley Snipes direct to DVD action flick. They don't score, get pushed around and get ousted. Every time.
What makes you think this year will be any different? Great goaltending doesn't matter. It hasn't for years. It comes down to how many players on your team can score when it counts and on this Blues team, that list ends with Vladimir Tarasenko. It doesn't matter if Jake Allen or Brian Elliott are in net. If the other team has more scorers, the levees will eventually break in front of the net. The Blues D can't clear the net for rebounds, so that may happen sooner than you think.
Do you really think David Backes and Alex Steen will suddenly become productive? Do you really think Jay Bo will not become a 61 year old looking slower than shit defenseman in April? Do you really think Hitch and Armie have a clue or are they simply throwing the dice towards the end of the table and hoping for lucky sevens?! It's a toss up.
The fans deserve better. The hardcore fans. Not the ones who decide to jump off the bandwagon when things don't go as planned or spring training starts in Jupiter. They have been waiting for years. Waiting since the team almost ran off to Saskatoon. Since the Stanley Cup Finals appearances over forty years ago. Since the Kiel Center opened in 1994. Since the Old Barn bit the dust in 1999. Since players left to win championships elsewhere(Brett Hull, Chris Pronger, Brendan Shanahan to name a few). St. Louis has been waiting for a long time to celebrate something other than a playoff invitation.
They are the guy who gets invited to the prom and their date doesn't show up, their car breaks down, and the building where the dance is collapses to the ground. The next few months they wonder why things went so bad.
Doug Armstrong is betting on the roster he currently has to change things. Risky business dude. If it doesn't change, his job status should change this summer. As much as Hitch is shit on for his inability to transcend talent into postseason success, maybe that would change if his boss gave him some more ammo at the deadline. When was the last big offensive trade? Chris Stewart? That was five years ago.
This was the hottest trade news today:
BREAKING: #Blues acquire excuses to use after trade deadline expires.— Dan Buffa (@buffa82) February 29, 2016
Thanks for nothing, Armie.
Hey Blues fans, have a drink on me.