A lot can happen over a season, and sometimes a slow start isn’t indicative of anything at all. Sometimes an atrocious first half doesn’t even mean anything. But just because things can change on a dime doesn’t mean that you can expect them to. No one expected the Blues’ second-half turnaround last season and it would be beyond unrealistic to expect it again this season.
You can’t bank on a miracle every year, and the Blues being the Stanley Cup Champions isn’t an excuse that you can use to write off mistakes. The team’s been making them, and they’ve been leaving points on the table.
They couldn’t maintain a lead against Montreal last Saturday night, blew a two goal lead and lost in OT to the Islanders on Monday, and then blew another two goal lead to lose to the Vancouver Canucks in a lengthy shootout. Last night the Blues never bothered to take control of the game, losing to the Habs again 5-2 in regulation.
Blues coach Craig Berube cast a much wider net.
“Everybody’s got to be better,” he said. “That’s goalies, everybody. Everybody’s got to be better. . . . It’s not a buy-in right now, not enough of a buy-in to team play.”
“We’ve got to play better throughout our entire lineup,” captain Alex Pietrangelo added. “Consistently, right? When we’re on our game, when everyone’s playing the same way and thinking the same way, doing the same thing, it almost becomes robotic at times because everyone’s thinking the same. Right now, we’re just making it look complicated, almost doing too much. When we’re playing a little more easier it seems like we’re more successful.”
Alex Pietrangelo raises a good point - they’re making it look too complicated. Last year, especially during the playoffs, the Blues didn’t play well under the pressure of crazy high expectations. Those crazy high expectations are still there.
The Blues are still tied for second in the Central Division. The season’s only 18 days old. There isn’t a feeling of something being wrong like their was at the start of last year; instead there’s a feeling of something just being off. It doesn’t feel like it’s out of hand yet, and it still feels fixable.
Tune out the great expectations. The party’s over and the Cup is in Toronto. The Blues just need to play the way that they know that they can and the ship still has more than enough time to right itself.