To quote a hilarious mercenary named Wade, what in the ass, St. Louis Blues?!!?
Let me get this straight while you pour a little bourbon in your coffee this morning (come on, Don Draper did it and looked amazing).
The Blues played a good couple periods on Sunday against Pittsburgh before getting knocked the fuck out in the third period by players who were simply better at playing that hockey. A 4-1 loss that wasn’t pinned on Jake Allen’s 86.4 save percentage, because feelings don’t want to be hurt. Some would say a good effort that went sideways in the last period.
We call that not good enough in reality, folks.
Tuesday night, enter the Smashville Sandman, and through two periods, the Blues were playing pretty good hockey. Leading 3-0, the Blues were about to take two points against a division foe for the second time in a week and in dominating fashion. Pekka Rinne allowed a slap shot goal to Jay Bouwmeester (whose shot rivals Barret Jackman’s blank shooting rifle back in the day), and Patrik Berglund even looked good. Alex Steen scored a non-empty net goal and it was almost time to bake cookies.
Check it out:
Then, the third period happened.
Let’s break down the comeback.
Nashville’s first goal was a simple “where the fuck did that guy come from” situation. A slap shot from the point bounced cleanly off Carter Hutton’s pad to Calle Jarnkrok for an easy finish. Vladimir Tarasenko was busy staring at the stars and the Blues defense was missing. 3-1, Blues.
The second goal was maddening. The Blues were on a power play, which actually wasn’t sucking for the first time in weeks, and then it all collapsed. The Predators got a push down the wing, though, into the Blues zone, and a harmless flip on net again glanced off Hutton’s pad to a charging Austin Watson for the shorthanded goal. This was deep into the third period, a time where Blues fans consume the most alcohol these days.
The third goal made my stomach hurt, because it was ONCE AGAIN failure to pounce on a rebound and clearing the puck out of the zone. Nashville had just finished off a penalty kill, and had an odd man rush working. Hutton stopped the initial two shots, but Mr. Watson found a way to pound the puck into the net. The referee initially called it dead before the review revived it for a tie game. FUBAR.
It escalated quickly. I was cooking dinner for my wife and it was 3-1, Blues. In less than five minutes, my wife told it was 3-3. I almost kicked one of my cats.
Filip Forsberg did what great goal scorers do and sealed the comeback in the shootout, but the game was lost when the Blues suddenly forgot how to clear the offensive zone and when Hutton couldn’t smother a rebound. All three goals were either pad kickers or ugly garbage cleanups.
When it matters most, the Blues fail at the simple hockey tactics that separate playoff dry-humpers from true Stanley Cup contenders. I’m not even sounding dramatic here ladies and gents. It’s not about getting hot at the right time; you need to play the game right and remember the game is 60 minutes long and not 35 for fucks sake. (For all the people who think profanity is weak, this is a hockey column, so you just get the fuck over it)
After the game, it was the same shit recycled for more than it’s worth.
“We will fix it.”
“That is unacceptable and won’t happen again.”
“It’s Donald Trump’s fault to be honest.”
Okay, the last one is made up, but you get the drift. The Blues are constantly trying to fix something that should be repaired by now.
Mr. Blues Hat, formerly Hitch’s Hat, can smell what’s cooking.
The Blues are under .500 now against teams that would qualify for a playoff spot today. They beat Colorado, but lost to Minnesota, who is closing in on the Blues point total. The Blues beat the Winnipeg Jets, but lose to the Penguins. With a chance to beat another division foe, they blow a 3-0 lead and allow Predators fans to treat it like another playoff round victory.
Here’s the bad news:
*The Blues have 72 points, good for third in the Central division, but the Predators have four games in hand over them and the Jets have two games in hand.
*Dallas and Minnesota also have games in hand over the Blues. They aren’t making it easy to even secure the chance to lose four games to two in round one.
*February doesn’t get any easier. Dallas is next.
Some good news:
*The Blues did manage to collect a point in the debacle, and are 6-3-1 in their last ten games.
*Vladimir Tarasenko didn’t score, but he did record five shots on goal. The guy may not be as wicked dangerous as he has been in previous seasons, but he is still putting the puck on net and sooner or later, they will get past goaltenders. Before you complain, remember the guy takes LOTS of pressure off his linemates and having a fine season overall.
*How about Vince Dunn? I’ll leave the fancy hockey talk alone and just tell you that kid sure can hockey it up.
The Blues are 3-4 in February, and after Dallas on Friday, have San Jose, Winnipeg, Nashville, Minnesota, and Detroit. There are 23 games left, folks. Get busy living or get busy fading, Blues.
We’ve written tiresomely after players to add at the deadline. Maybe Doug Armstrong should try to sell a few pieces and prepare for the transition. See what you can get for Paul Stastny, Berglund (please!), and Vladimir Sobotka. Let the kids run faster and more often, and probably even make the playoffs.
Perhaps the Blues need to miss the playoffs in order to fully fix their decades long issues-or they can keep collecting participation trophies.
That’s it. See you this weekend. Hey, spring training has arrived (pounds a shot)!