As far as I'm concerned, the Blues season ended on Sunday night with a 2-0 loss in Phoenix to a Coyotes team they are chasing in the Western Conference. Oh, it's a long way from official since they are still six points out of a playoff spot with two games in hand over eighth-place Nashville, but it's obvious that they simply aren't good enough to return to the postseason this spring for the first time since 2004. This team's inability to score goals with any kind of consistency is frustrating to say the very least, and the power play showing signs of life prior to this road trip is obviously an aberration. For two years running this team has had the worst power play in the NHL. Something has to give.
Paul Kariya has been a big disappointment in my eyes. I was always a big Kariya fan and was doing backflips when he was signed back in early July. But four power play goals isn't going to cut it, and it's clear by watching him that he's just not the finisher, or even the playmaker, that he was in his salad days with Anaheim. That's not to say that Kariya isn't still a very good player -- he certainly is -- but he's not a difference maker at this stage of his career. Ditto for Keith Tkachuk. I haven't heard Kariya's name come under widespread criticism, but I can't see how anybody can think he's been anywhere near as impactful an addition as the Blues hoped.
Who knows what to make of Lee Stempniak at this point. He's skilled to be sure and he has played better of late. Still, he remains a huge enigma. Will he flash his 30-goal skills anytime soon? Who knows, but we do know that Stempniak's subpar season is another big reason the Blues won't make the playoffs this year.
The Blues need another legit top-six forward and a top-flight offensive defenseman to enter the NHL's upper crust. For now all we can do is sit back and see what John Davidson and Larry Pleau do prior to Tuesday's trade deadline and hope that the University of North Dakota sees their hockey season end early enough to allow T.J. Oshie to make his NHL debut prior to the end of this season. These are the only thing Blues fans have to look forward to, because with that grueling nine-game road trip looming next month, there's no chance the Blues will make the playoffs this spring. I hope that Davidson and Pleau enter seller mode before Tuesday's trade deadline. If Bryce Salvador and Barret Jackman can't be re-signed, the team should move them. Same with Martin Rucinsky and anyone else who would bring back a decent haul.
The 2007-08 season, as far as playoff hopes go, is now over. I challenge anyone to construct an argument to the contrary.