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Blues defense at the season’s start is shaky, but redeemable

It’s not a five alarm fire yet, folks.

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at St. Louis Blues Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

One of my favorite pastimes at the start of any St. Louis Blues season is to read either too-optimistic (see: last year’s first month) or too-negative opinion pieces. This season, after a summer of hype and expectations, the Blues are off to a 0-1-1 start and have given up ten goals in the process. It has not been pretty.

It’s also been two games with a team who has nine different forwards than they did at this time last year, and a team where half of the defensive corps has been out. So for the love of pete, can we stop with worried think-pieces where we question the mettle of the entire team as well as Alex Pietrangelo’s ability to lead? The guy’s wife just had triplets.

Robert Bortuzzo missed the first game, but he’s back now. Jay Bouwmeester had to step up play with not only Bort, but also Joel Edmundson and Carl Gunnersson missing in action.

Joel Edmundson is returning tonight against the Flames, shoring up the Blues’ defense automatically. As an added bonus, he’s been skating with Alex Pietrangelo on the top pairing. Hopefully moving Bouwmeester down with Parayko will allow Pietrangelo to keep his mind on his play; he’s had a tendency to do too much so far this season, and doing too much has lead to several goals against.

Jacob Jerebek will be getting playing time tonight at the expense of an apparently unhappy Vince Dunn. Dunn has been playing well so far this season, but Jerebek, as the new guy, needs to get a look.

I’m not saying everything’s perfect on the blueline, but I a) think two games is way too small of a sample size to start flinging myself off of the Chain of Rocks Bridge and b) really think that the issues that are apparent are easily fixable. Many of them have been caused either by being short some players or from players having to cover for the regulars who are out.

If the Blues continue allowing huge numbers of goals past tonight, then yes, be concerned. But right now I think it’s safe to admit that the defense could be better, but also probably will be.