The St. Louis Blues and Edmonton Oilers are an interesting lesson in contrast. The Oilers have exactly four players that can score: Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl, and Alex Chiasson. The four of those players hold nearly 60% of the Oilers’ goal output for the season. Despite this, and thanks to the addition of Ken “Yeah, I’m probably going to retire oh wait is my phone ringing” Hitchcock behind the bench, the Oilers are an ok team. Are they anything mind blowing? Not particularly, but at 13-12-2 they’re a substantially better performing team than the Blues.
The Blues, however, are loaded with wanna-be offense and quality defense. The difference between the Blues and Oilers is that the Oilers know what they are and want to play above that level. The Blues are aware of what everyone thought that they should be and expect that to come to them. By the time they realized that whoops, maybe wins won’t just arrive, the team canned Mike Yeo, lost four major players to injury until at least Christmas, and are hanging out near the bottom of the NHL’s standings. Whatever the deal is, the guys on the Blues aren’t playing for themselves or each other at this point - they’re going through the motions for a paycheck.
They’re motioning themselves back into the Enterprise Center tonight after a road trip that saw them (barely) go 1-2-0, with a decent game against the Colorado Avalanche bookended by two dumpster fires against the Detroit Red Wings and Arizona Coyotes. The two teams that should’ve been no problem for a normal Blues team were beyond a problem this season. Under the usual circumstances I think that fans could reasonably expect them to dismantle the Oilers on national TV tonight. This season? It may be another Blues game that NBCSN regrets airing.
Oh, and there’re some new lines, so you enjoy playing with Pat Maroon and Tyler Bozak, Vladdy.