Back in 2009, when the Vancouver Canucks swept the Blues, it was seen as a step forward. That team fought to make the playoffs after a stretch of terrible hockey lasting seasons - getting bounced wasn’t a big deal.
This year? Colorado was favored to win this series by a country mile, but I think most Blues fans expected some level of compete.
You can still fight without your leading scorer. You can still fight when two of your defensemen are knocked out of the series in the same game. Jordan Binnington’s proof of that. He fought the whole series and gave the Blues opportunities to either stay in, or get back into, the game.
Sure, Vladimir Tarasenko returned tonight, scoring the Blues’ two goals, but the rest of the team? Where was the fight?
Colorado out-scored the Blues 15-7 this series. Tonight, in an elimination game they had twenty shots on goal. Just twenty. The team was not present in a way that they needed to be; despite Brayden Schenn working to set a tone in game one, the rest of the team wasn’t biting.
The Blues have to look forward; they can’t continue to say “well, we did it before, so...” You don’t get to do it again automatically just because you’ve punched your Stanley Cup card. Anything is always possible; the Blues could’ve come back to win the next four games.
They didn’t, but they could have. But they didn’t.
This has been a long shortened season with stops, starts, rescheduled games, injuries to key players, and injuries to the guys filling in for the key players. Doug Armstrong still has a talented group of players here. He also has a lot of work to do this summer to ensure that the Blues come back stronger next season.