I know I stand with the majority when I say that 2-4-3 was not how I assumed the first nine games of the Blues season would start off, but here we are. It’s become apparent to me that our issues are not totally rooted in “team chemistry” due to new players. Don’t get me wrong, this one incredibly talented roster. Who would’ve thought that David Perron would start the year looking like one of the best free agent acquisitions throughout the entire league? (I’m sure he’ll enjoy Seattle in 2020). Ryan O’Reilly has been an absolute godsend of a center, boasting a league best FO% and making some incredibly skilled plays…Did you SEE that goal in Toronto?
But for all the good that’s been coming out of the new guys, there’s still some serious problems the repetitive 3rd period implosions we’ve witnessed in 6 of the 9 games played. Think back. Both Games against Winnipeg featured third periods with 3+ goals scored by the Jets. The Blues have given up multi goal leads in 6 games this season, and have not come out with 2 points in any of them. This team cannot finish, and that is a coaching problem.
So here’s what I think would help to get rid of these October Blues (pun heavily intended).
Yeo Outta Here!
I wasn’t a big Yeo fan when he was in Minnesota. He always just came across as a guy who thought he was always the smartest guy in the room…but as his tenure with the Blues has gone on, the room has shrunk and there’s no many left to place blame on aside from the HC himself.
Take a 30,000 foot view on Mike Yeo’s tenure. Sure he’s about 20 games above .500 over 2.5 seasons, but his most successful season came on the heels of his half year as HC after the Hitchcock firing. He’s gotten statistically worse every year. Sure some would say we don’t know the outcome of this season because last year we started hot and finished poor, so why couldn’t the opposite happen? Regardless, Mike Yeo is not a Head Coach in my mind.
The problem then presents itself, who takes his place? In total honestly, I don’t have a clue, but I’m starting to think Steve Ott would be a better choice, even just as an interim.
Let’s get one thing straight from the jump. Jay Bouwmeester is not getting released. It’d be a disservice to a guy who had a pretty solid career here, and that’s just not an Armstrong move in my mind. However I do believe that’s actually a good thing. At 35 years old, Jay Bouwmeester is likely playing the last, or second to last season of his NHL career. Unfortunately not every defenseman is named Zdeno Chara and can play 29 year old hockey at 41 years old. That said, Bouwmeester is still a good hockey player, and has value for this team. It’s not on the top line though.
Bouwmeester should be playing between 10 and 14 minutes per game. Anything else seems like a liability to the team, and is likely stunting the growth of young defenseman Vince Dunn, who didn’t see a second of ice time in the final 7 minutes of Monday’s game against Winnipeg (Bo was out there for the final 2 minutes). Let him play third line minutes and you may see he still adds some value…just not against the likes of Patrick Laine and Leon Draisatl.
Play the young guys
Jordan Kyrou is a prime example of a guy who just needs to find his groove. The young speedy forward has had multiple opportunities with the puck but hasn’t been able to hit the twine once this season. It’s getting frustrating, but this is how they learn. Not to mention, it’s so fun to watch him stick handle through 3 defenders.
I’m not a fan of sending Blais back down to SA. He’s worked his ass off, and while the stats sheet may not show it, he’s been a valuable contributor.
PLAY THOMAS. He has to learn somehow. Leaving him on the bench does him less good than even sending him down to SA.
Only time will tell how much of my beliefs will be put into action, and whether or not they’ll have any impact. But I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read my thoughts on the matter. Hopefully the next time I’m writing it will be with a more excited mindset towards the Blues immediate future than I have right now.
It wouldn’t be a St. Louis Blues season without an emotional roller coaster.
Thanks, and Let’s Go Blues