Saturday, May 11, 2013

Thanks For Coming Out, 2013 St. Louis Blues

Despite not getting swept, the St. Louis Blues lost four straight to eliminate them this playoff season by the same team that took them out last playoffs-- the Los Angeles Kings. While it looked a bit promising to start off with, the Blues couldn't carry the momentum from their first two games to the rest of the series and the Kings took that momentum and got a few lucky bounces to go their way. 

Bounces or not, the fact that Ken Hitchcock wasted no time calling out his team after the series ended showed that he knew that it wasn't just the bounces that got him-- his team just didn't deliver, especially the "home grown" players the team was building their nucleus around. Though the players are still young, this is their third playoffs together and by now, they should have the experience in order to know how to adjust their game on the fly. 

Brian Elliott did he all he could to keep the team in the game, putting up a solid 1.90 GAA during the series and returning to his All-Star form he once had, though he did have some shaky spots and only got his role back with an injury to Jaroslav Halak. A question is whether or not Jake Allen has proven himself enough for the Blues to get rid of one of the current goalies to get a shot at being a full-time back-up or a 1-B starter. 

More over, how much will they be able to give to their RFAs?? Both Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Pietrangelo will get their money, but after that-- will there be enough left to give to Kris Russell, Ian Cole, Chris Stewart, and Patrik Berglund?? Do the Blues actually want to keep all their RFA guys around?? With the money they are pay to Jay Bouwmeester for another year and Andy McDonald a free agent, the Blues can either make a choice of keeping the money in-house or trying to get some bodies in that know how to win with a younger team. 

Wherever they go next year, Ken Hitchcock has a whole training camp to get his message through to these guys that there needs to be a sense of urgency for his team if they want to make and succeed in the playoffs. With two short stints the last two seasons-- you can bet the team and Hitch are going to be on the hot seat. 

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