Before I tell you why Jake Allen should be parked on the bench in favor of Carter Hutton for tomorrow night’s pivotal contest in Chicago, let me drop a couple stat lines on you:
For the 2017-18 season, here are the goaltender statistics for the St. Louis Blues:
Allen: 55 starts, 27-24 record, 2.74 GAA, .906 save %, 1 shutout.
Hutton: 25 starts, 16-7 record, 2.13 GAA, .930 save %, 3 shutouts.
If the Blues want to make the playoffs, they need to start Hutton on Friday night. In the immortal words of Robert De Niro’s detective in Copland, Allen had a chance to be the hero on Wednesday night in St. Louis, but he blew it.
The diplomatic statement is the entire team played like dogshit, but I beg to differ. Vladimir Tarasenko and Brayden Schenn has great games, and so did a few others. Did the Blues ghost it through the third period thinking they had a 3-1 lead set in stone? Yes. Then again, let’s look around and see which guy could have been switched out for something better. If you don’t find Allen in that search, you’re drunk or negligent.
Allen has started 14 games in a row, and for a decent portion of them, has played well. In five of those 14 games, Allen has posted a save percentage of 92% or greater. In six of those games, he’s posted a save percentage of 90% or lower. He’s just decent, a timeshare goaltender stretching out as a starter.
At this time of the year, you have to tell nostalgia to fuck off and get real. It’s game #81 tomorrow night and you can’t fuck around with feelings. If Allen doesn’t like riding the bench, tell him to be better in net.
Chicago scored THREE goals of the baby shit soft variety on Wednesday. That simply can not happen. He failed at his job. There were others who also failed at their job, but when you allow four goals on 26 shots in a must-win game, you failed miserably.
Allen is too easily shaken in moments of need for the Blues to rely on him in a must-win atmosphere right now. He had his time a year ago, but things look differently these days.
Hutton is a more trustworthy source and has been over the past three months. He has half as many starts as Allen, but is a lot better in those games. Like it or not, the team plays better in front of Hutton, and that counts right now. Also, Hutton allows less soft goals than Allen. The NHL needs to make a stat for soft goals.
If the Blues want to have a reasonable shot at winning these final two games-which would put them in the playoffs-they need to go with the most reliable goaltender. That guy’s name is Carter. It’s as simple as that.
If Hutton is hurt, you go with Allen. If not, there is no other choice. Ville Husso may be the guy in this spot a year from now, but right now he’s a untested rookie who could get victimized in a hostile United Center, so there’s no need to expose the future to that stink just yet.
Do the right thing, Mike Yeo. Play Hutton. We know you want to. We know last year when you got the job, Doug Armstrong probably told you to give Allen another shot. This season, you comfortably rode Hutton until the wheels fell off. Goaltending controversies are what the Blues do.
I was all for Allen starting against the Blackhawks yesterday. He sucked.
Now, it’s time to go back to the other career timeshare goaltender. See what’s left.
One more thing, Armstrong. Shake your head all you want, buster, but you made this mess.
I’d drink more bourbon if I were you. Tequila may work better.