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Blues Game Day Thoughts: How much is Jay Bouwmeester hurting the defense?

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NHL: St. Louis Blues at Boston Bruins Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to a stream of consciousness about the St. Louis Blues, who treat Valentines Day like a slasher flick just about every year.

Instead of doing a deep dive into a single player’s troubles, I’ll provide bits and pieces of opinion here that should prep you for the Game Day experience. Consider me the guy at the front of the lobby selling the programs, but instead of merchandise grub-hubbing and personal player heart stroking, you get pure honesty.

First, a general question for the older folks: does age 36 the beginning of the end? It sure feels like it today.

  • Is a less than zero Jay Bouwmeester hindering the Blues defense?

Everybody and their ugly aunt with the bad breath has talked about the goaltending like Jake Allen knows details about the final season of Game of Thrones and is holding out, but how about the defense? Bouwmeester is on pace to play in the smallest amount of games in his career, and he will be 35 in September. He isn’t playing as much minutes per game as usual (averaging around five minutes less), and doesn’t seem to have the sharpness that has usually helped cover up some of his lesser traits the past few years.

His Fenwick and Corsi marks hold up to his career, and he’s never been a huge goal scoring maniac, but he’s slower this year and not as sharp with his outlet passes and zone coverage around the net. His absence is giving guys like Joel Edmundson and Vince Dunn a bigger spotlight, but at times, the defense looks lost in translation. Bouwmeester has played in over 1,000 games, so his NHL aging process was bound to spike.

Overall, the Blues rank 4th in the league in goals against, and 15th in penalty killing, so perhaps Bouwmeester’s reduced workload and ability isn’t having an impact.

  • It’s important point out Ivan Barbashev has six points in 24 games? He hasn’t gotten the consistent look that some presumed back in the summer, but he’s not showing enough to warrant more responsibility. Hopefully, he doesn’t turn into Dmitrj Jaskin 2.0. Jaskin has 12 points in 47 games, which is still tepid for what a big bodied fella like himself should be putting up in year 3.
  • By the way, I really like Dunn and what he can do on the ice. The kid has some edge to his game, knows how to move the puck, and plays like he’s been hanging around NHL talent for years. If this is a transition from Mr. Jay Bo Rogers to thrillers like Dunn, I’m all for it. Slowly but surely, Armstrong is getting younger with his roster.
  • The people who want to trade Vladimir Tarasenko (tied for 8th in goals in the league, 15th in points) is out of their fucking minds. The Blues Lounge on Facebook gets a bad name because this dumb shit is allowed to be posted. Tarasenko is a stud who STILL has room to grow. I’d still take him over Jaden Schwartz, but the conversation is null and void. You don’t trade a star. As Keanu Reeves would say, “IDIOTS!”
  • I love the way people take a huge shit on Alex Pietrangelo when anything goes wrong on the defense, but they don’t give credit when he does anything great. The dude is a +12 and has put up fine offensive numbers as well. I feel like each year, this team has belonged to Petro just a little more. David Backes leaving gave him the “C”, and Barret Jackman leaving gave him the voice on defense. Now, with Bouwmeester declining, the defense is truly Petro’s unit. You take away this guy and the identity of the team is broken in half.
  • Welcome back, Jaden Schwartz. Two goals since his return, and the dude is flying around the ice making plays happen. Outside of a tenacious offensive zone ability, Schwartz doesn’t let up in the defensive zone, and that is where he is better than Tarasenko. He doesn’t let up in the other end. The dude steals at least 2-3 pucks a game.
  • While I like the guy, I’m happy to see Paul Stastny era end in St. Louis. He wasn’t as bad as some made him out to be, but overall, his stats here have been a letdown. He arrived closer to the end than some expected. When he was brought here, it was held up as a signature piece. He wasn’t. Great dude, though.
  • I still think Doug Armstrong could trade Jake Allen this month, and it will not be for another goaltender. Been there, failed at that. One great game in Boston doesn’t change anything.
  • Reminder: Alex Steen is here for three more years! Vomit!
  • Carter Hutton should go back in tonight versus Buffalo, and stay in net until he has TWO stinkers.
  • If Patrik Berglund doesn’t get in the offseason, is he still a Blue? After his comeback season last year, I was hoping he’d be gone. Then, he got again in the offseason. The man is softer than baby shit.
  • Colton Parayko is doing just fine, Clark.
  • Can Angella Sharpe work more Blues games? She’s the FACE of the Scottrade experience. With no offense to the other faces, they aren’t as good as her. Plain and simple. You can’t just say “MAKE SOME NOISE” and punch a clock.

That’s all I got. It’s time to go drink alcohol and celebrate another year passing GO.

Thanks for reading and buy more bourbon,

DLB