Right now, the St. Louis Blues are three points out of a wild card spot. As a tribute to how bad the Western Conference has uncharacteristically been this season, the Blues are three points out of a wild card spot with a 22-22-5 record. The Blues are off until February 2nd thanks to the bye week, so when their play resumes they’ll have to play catch-up. Luckily, the Blues have at least one game in hand on everyone ahead of them but the Dallas Stars, so some solid play could, in fact, make up ground.
In an interview with NHL.com yesterday, Ryan O’Reilly says is a believer in the Blues’ ability to get back in the mix:
“We haven’t been perfect, but we are starting to get back into this fight and I am confident that we are going to play in the playoffs because of the way we work,” O’Reilly said during his session at the NHL All-Star Game Media Day presented by adidas on Thursday.
“When we play together, when we are playing for each other, you can see we are a good team.” O’Reilly said. “When the forwards invest in the D and the D invest in the forwards and we play quick and we work together, we are confident out there. It is one of those things that is going to get us in the playoffs and I am confident that we will.”
This is exactly what we should expect to be hearing from O’Reilly, who has been the Blues’ best player this season (and only ASG representative). His attitude matches his play. Regardless of if they make the playoffs or not, he should still be praised for that.
To be fair, the Blues have come back from worse. The 2008-2009 season saw them pull off a run to get back to the playoffs. They were three points out of a wild card spot a month later than they are right now, and they clinched a playoff spot in their second to last game of the season. Yes, they were then swept by the Vancouver Canucks, and yes, you can make the argument that middling finishes and getting swept in the first round leads to not being able to make solid picks at the draft. No one from the 2009 draft class remains, but the Blues did flip Rundblad for the pick that got them Vladimir Tarasenko the following year (and they drafted Jaden Schwartz at a very middling 14th overall), so you never know what can happen - both in the playoffs at at the draft.