Something is happening this year with the St. Louis Blues. Something is different. Things are changing. A 5-1 victory, in years past, would call for a parade down market. Nothing but good feelings. No matter how the team would have played the score would have dominated the coverage, the reaction from the fans, even the players and how they talk about the game. This year it's different.
In the post game interviews after last night's game against the Islanders Ken Hitchcock talked about the win being good but not great. He said the score was 5-1 but it wasn't a 5-1 game. And I agree....weirdly. The Blues didn't dominate the way they did against Colorado a month ago in a 4-0 win. That game was over before it started. The Avs couldn't do anything against the Blues. This game was not like that game.
The Islanders played tough, they were able to score a minute into the game, and kept the Blues pinned in for much of the night. The Blues were the better team, don't get me wrong, but the Isles played a decent game. The Blues didn't do a lot to take the Islanders out of their game. What the Blues did do was capitalize on their scoring chances. That was the difference in the game. Hitch's assessment of it being a closer fought game than the score showed is spot on. The Blues were the better team but it played out fairly evenly for most of the night.
So with this 5-1 win the Blues can still learn from what they did well and, more importantly, what they did poorly. They won't be thinking about this game as a particularly good game even though they scored 5 goals and ran another eastern conference team out of town. They will continue to work hard to be better. They will study up on how to make smarter plays. They will learn more about how to get out of the defensive zone more quickly. They will be hungrier.
There will be no parade. There will be no joyous talk. There will be only the stark reality that the culture of the Blues is changing. The Blues expect to be great night in and night out. They expect to win and win by playing every facet of their game the best way they can. This is not the team we've seen over the past 10 years. This is a good team that knows it can be great.....and they're not going to be happy until they are great......and it's the most welcomed change I could imagine!