Whenever I think of depth in sports, I always think of a crowded ship. You know, one of those ships where there are probably 200 different jobs and all hands on deck are required at all times. Someone is bound to go down, so you need the depth. In the case of the 2021-22 St. Louis Blues, 3-4 men go down per week.
Since the NHL isn’t looking to provide NHL teams with any sort of assist during the latest wretched round of COVID-19 stints for players, the Blues need all the depth they can handle, even if we are only in month three of the season.
But if there is a reason this latest regular season feels like it’s already showing some age, it’s the sprint of a schedule. It’s not even Christmas yet, and the Blues have already played 30 games. Without even looking (I’m lazy), I would say that hasn’t occurred too often in this team’s history. That’s a lot of hockey for a Blues team whose season started basically two months ago.
So please, let’s stuff this semi-brewing goaltending controversy into a bag and tie it off. There should be none. Jordan Binnington is coming off the COVID protocol list, but he hasn’t played since Nov. 30. Ville Husso and some guy named Charlie Lindgren have picked up the slack since, with the latter creating some history of his own.
Lindgren is 5-0 and has allowed just five goals in 118 attempts. That’s lunacy for a guy who was selling white walls two months ago. I kid, but a hot tender like this should make Craig Berube’s job easier.
Ease Binnington back in like you would a highly-paid #1 goalie, but don’t simply brush Lindgren off to the side. St. Louis can’t afford to jockey feelings over a schedule that isn’t really letting up. Including today’s matchup in Winnipeg, they have five more games before the end of 2021.
2022 doesn’t exactly take the foot off the gas pedal either. The Blues play four games in the first ten days of the year, and 13 games overall in January. They need all the healthy goaltending at the moment, just like the rest of the league. So again, let’s keep the controversy talk on a low burn.
It’s as useless as staging an argument over Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story.” Love or hate it, it’s Spielberg doing a classic musical. He’s not going to fuck that up, so save your brain cells for something more useful. That’s the Blues goaltending situation.
You have a strong tender like Binnington only starting to get his legs back, but still a hungry young man. It’s wise to sit back and remember he’s only in his third season as the lead in St. Louis. When you take into account that COVID ruined the end of the first one and the second season was shrunk down significantly, you’ll see a guy only getting warmed up.
Lindgren is sitting in a familiar spot as Binnington was a few years back. Looking up at Ville Husso, among others, as competition, he probably thought this season would be an afterthought. And now, he’s being spoken about on national shows. In classic Blues fashion, a goaltender comes out of near obscurity and makes a big dent.
Without his efforts, the Blues aren’t 17-8-5 right now. No way.
So, take the depth and leave the controversy. There’s a lot of games left and that big Olympic break, even if the games are trimmed down due to the outbreak of the latest variant, so spread the games out and keep all your goaltenders sharp. Keep the ship stocked with healthy bodies and worry about egos and roles later.
Also, on a general level, a smaller amount of drama does EVERYBODY some good these days. Merry Christmas. Baby, it’s cold outside!