Look, I get it. The St. Louis Blues look about as good right now as Britney Spears with a buzz cut carrying a fit of rage at a gas station.
The 2018-19 season marks the worst start for the Blues in over ten years. You have to kick it back to the Mike Kitchen post-lockout Blues to hear this kind of sad music coming from 14th and Clark. Every home game should be accompanied by a few bottles of Abita Purple Haze ale down the street at Broadway Oyster Bar where a bluesy guitar is played until three in the morning.
It’s not pretty or something that fans should be happy with. After all, August gave many fans around St. Louis the feel-good vibes. It wasn’t just the arrival of Ryan O’Reilly or the return of Pat Maroon to his hometown; the Blues carried some genuine excitement. However, sometimes a great trailer is simply camouflage for a bad movie. That’s the case with this team.
While the special teams for this team STILL rank in the top ten in the NHL, just about everything else is less than mediocre for the Blues. Outside of O’Reilly’s dazzling start, which includes 12 goals and 28 points in just 25 games, the entire roster is either a disappointment or not good enough.
Colton Parayko may have scored the goal of the year so far against Colorado this past weekend, but he’s still a baby shit soft defender who doesn’t take enough initiative in the offensive zone, can barely hit the net, and gets overwhelmed by smaller players in front of his own net.
Alex Pietrangelo may be the Captain and a minutes monster, but every other game he makes a handful of mistakes and looks as clueless as anyone. The reason people harp on him so much is due to the fact that this current regime is crashing under his leadership, or lack thereof. “Petro” is no miracle worker, but part of this demise falls on his shoulders. The fiercest supporter of #27 should even admit to that.
Vladimir Tarasenko has nine goals and 20 points, but often looks like a hedge fund kid who didn’t receive his allowance on the ice. Unable to take one timers or play consistent defense, Tarasenko is thought of as trade bait, because he’s not as dazzling as Brett Hull (who played for some crap teams) was, and his point total represents a regression instead of ascension.
Let’s put it this way. Jake Allen, who people now blame for getting cold Imo’s pizza and a bad plate of pasta at Charlie Gitto’s On The Hill, is playing a lot better over the past three weeks. But fans don’t care. In five of his last seven starts, Allen has finished the game with a save percentage of 92% or greater. That sure beats the putrid 88% he was averaging during the first six weeks of the season. Things are so bad, improvement from the most polarizing snake in St. Louis has gone unnoticed.
As bad as things are, there’s still a lot to enjoy about this team. The Blues may be a car careening down a steep hill, but you can still enjoy hockey. The good may no longer be able to hold off the bad and ugly at Enterprise Center, but there’s a few things to like and look forward to, such as:
*Every time Robert Thomas touches the puck. I’m beginning to call this young fella the Magic Man, because he flies around the ice and makes the game look easy at times. He’s still got a lot to learn, but remember he is only 19 years old. He’s only just discovering Jagermeister, and already makes opposing players look like traffic cones.
*When Parayko does wind up for a shot, people watch. The man has a hard shot that is hard to take your eyes away from. He’s not the complete player people wanted, but still fun to watch at times. Just drink your beer in a plastic cup instead of a bottle.
*Due to the latest wrath of injuries that claimed Robby Fabbri and Alexander Steen, Jordan Kyrou will be back with the team. He’s been lightning it up for San Antonio, scoring goals in four straight games. Seeing him and Thomas get 15 minutes a game would be nice. If you are going to be bad, at least look good doing it.
*Tarasenko can still rifle a shot past a goaltender. He will score 30 goals again, which is nice even if 40 would be better.
*Vince Dunn is a lot of fun to watch. The kid is wise beyond his years, and should learn a ton this year playing more minutes and acquiring more responsibility. He’s averaging around 19 minutes per game and impresses while frustrating fans. Dunn’s vision up the ice with the puck is advanced.
*Joel Edmundson is becoming one of my favorite Blues. He’s rugged, physical, smart, can do something in the offensive zone, and doesn’t mind dropping the gloves. He’s a throwback for the new generation.
*David Perron can still dazzle you with his ability. He may take a batch of games off, but for about three games, he will make opposing goaltenders look feeble in net.
Would you like it if another lockout occurred and hockey was gone? No. It hasn’t gotten that bad, and it should never approach that level. At their worst, the Blues still carry value in watching. If not, season ticket holders will just stay home. After all, they already paid their dues and can watch from home. How many groceries have you gotten that weren’t cooked? How many gym membership fees were paid without an ounce of sweat given? An excuse can always be made.
As rough as the Blues look, and at 9-13-3 they sure don’t look good, I’ll still appreciate and watch them play hockey.
I’m writing this because today about seventeen other talking heads will tell you for the hundredth time what is wrong with the Blues and what needs to happen. Radio hosts will break them down like a school teacher describing a perennial class clown. Columnists will carve out their latest “TRADE PETRO” piece. It’s like nails on a chalkboard and the calendar just flipped to December. Every day bringing the same old noise.
So I am being optimistic for a change. Hopeful that the Blues win a few games here and there while creating a couple signature moments. It’s a choice.
There is a good chance I will scream at the television tomorrow night when Edmonton wipes the floor with St. Louis, but that’s part of the contract you sign when attaching a part of your life to the Blues. I don’t have to be nice to the team. I don’t cover them or get paid to write about their trials and tribulations. This is by choice, so I can choose my speed.
Today, I choose to be optimistic. The hockey season has truly returned, and while it’s not what I ordered, I’ll eat it anyway and find a reason to smile.
Welcome to the world of sports.