If you don’t care about hockey you may want to stop reading now. I’m a fanatic and may get into details you couldn’t care less about. Come back another day for more random writing.
“It’s finally time to officially start another season of Blues hockey! They’re on national TV tonight to open the 2017-18 NHL season with a tough draw against the reigning Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins and while I’m slightly disappointed we won’t get our local TV broadcast for the first game, mostly I’m just glad hockey’s back.”
I wrote those words back on October 4th, two weeks ago today. I figured I’d put together a quick post outlining my feelings on where the Blues were as they came out of camp and were ready to hit the ice for the new regular season. Every year I think of a lot of stuff to say about the Blues, music, food, life in general really, and make big plans in my head about how much I’m going to write only to find a million other things to do instead. That leads us, comically, to today, when I finally publish this post.
The Blues started off like gang-busters winning their first four games, only to stumble in Florida, at the end of a long road-trip. They’re (finally) back in action tonight, at home, against their biggest rival, the Chicago Blackhawks, after having three days off since they last played. I usually bitch about breaks like that- more than 2 days is just ridiculous- but the banged-up Blues desperately needed the time off. It’s sad, in a way, they needed is so early in the season but that’s just reality. We’ll find out later this morning if injured forward, Alexander Steen, will make his season debut tonight.
My expectations for the Blues are relatively low this season. I’m predicting a finish in the middle-bottom of the Conference standings and a fight for one of the last playoff spots. Their hot start hasn’t changed my mind, though, as we started to see some familiar problems rear their ugly heads: too many men penalties/lack of scoring from the forwards/failure to score on the power play/losing late leads. We’ve seen these issues trip them up over and over again for 2-3 seasons now. Things were supposed to be different, better, under new leadership.
It’s WAY too early to make any sweeping generalizations about the team and where they’ll finish this season, but the trends are still unsettling. One area that will be a concern throughout the campaign is goaltending; Can Jake Allen be “the guy” for St. Louis and carry the load? Is he going to rise to another level? He looked rusty in pre-season but by Game 2 (v. Dallas) he was quite sharp and has looked good. Like the team in general, is he too inconsistent? Can backup Carter Hutton push him enough to be outstanding? Hutton looked great in his start, better than I expected.
The Blues played only one Western opponent over their first two weeks so tonight’s match-up with Chicago looms large despite the early date BUT the
Shithawks Blackhawks are a point ahead and we wont see them again until March, so a win tonight would be a nice statement, especially with so many ‘Hawks fans in “our” building. Bandwagon fans tend to travel well.
Here’s hoping the Blues don’t procrastinate like I do and put off fixing their struggling power play until they’ve fallen back to reality and down the division standings. Some things (early streaks, I’m looking at you, Vegas) just don’t last and it’s a long season. I pledge to myself to write more, put things off less often, and not get too worked up about Blues losses until at least December. Yeah, good luck with that.