From 1980-2004 the St. Louis Blues were a staple in the NHL playoffs. Now after a 4 year layoff(counting the lockout year of 2004-2005) I like many other Blues fans are hoping the Blues can make the most of their last twenty games, continue their strong play, and win themselves a playoff spot.
It was only a few weeks back that the Blues seemed a lock to finish last in their division. Injuries, inconsistent play, poor goaltending, a lack of scoring, rookie mistakes, and defensive zone mishaps all contributed to a Blues team that nearly all of us had written off.
Now Andy Murray's boys are three points back of the eight and Final spot in the Western Conference and one of the hottest teams in the league. It seems to this blogger that Murray's message is finally being heard loud and clear. Contributers are being found all over the Blues lineup(yes, even oft injured McKee has been stellar as of late, and finally is doing what he does best blocking shots)and I see no reason that if the Blues continue to play strong defensive "TEAM" hockey that they will indeed make the playoffs. But the toughest test for this team is right around the corner. Most of the Blue's remaining games are against some of the top teams in the league. With tough games against top teams (Red Wings(3), San Jose(1), Calgary(1)) mixed in with games against other teams fighting for a playoff birth I'd say the playoffs have already started. Have the blues put together a nice streak here, or are we watching the young Blues mature back into that perennial playoff contender they had been for nearly 30 years? Time will tell.
Now the trade deadline! Pronger! Wow! What an opportunity right?
Pronger should still be Blue. But is the price to get him or any other veteran to help us make our final push worth the price? Like a teeter totter I have been going back and forth on this issue. If Pronger came back I have no doubt I would be able to live with the price in the short term. But isn't the Blues plan about the long term? As a life long Blues fan it was painful for me to watch the successful careers of Adam Oates, Gilmour(we all remember), Mullen, Brind'amour, etc, etc blossom and wonder what if. So say we give up a Perron, or a Pietrangelo, to acquire a big name D or some scoring help NOW am I going to be ok with watching these guys potentially turn into all stars? NO NO NO NO! I won't because this is our team. Brewer, Eric Johnson and Paul Kariya will returnand young players like Sonne, Palushaj, Pieterangelo, Eller, and the further development of our other young stars is right around the corner. Now I'm thirty one now, and when I'm fifty, I would like to go to a game and see one or more of these guys not only have there numbers hanging from the rafters but with their names etched into history as Stanley Cup Champions! Our best years are ahead of us people. Don't mortgage our future now. I believe the Blues should stand pat and so do the players from what I've read in recent comments. So lets keep it going and show some real faith in these players. They believe and so should we.