This team is toying with us. But being Blues fans, we should be used to this by now. They've only been doing this for over 40 years.
After three straight losses (to three very good teams) and being on the brink of un-officially eliminated from playoff contention, the Blues have rattled off two nice victories, the latest of which being a solid 4-0 victory at home against the new look Toronto Maple Leafs last night. The Blues penalty killers...well...killed last night. They shut down Toronto's power play and scored two short handed goals in the process. Well done fellas...well done. No way they could have lost to Toronto at home and still expect people to think they can make the playoffs.
Which brings us to bubble bullet point number one.
The Playoff Race
With the victory against Toronto, the Blues sit in 12th place, but "teasingly", only four points behind Calgary for the 8th and final playoff spot.
On Saturday, the last day of games before the olympic break, Calgary, Detroit, Anaheim, and Dallas along with St. Louis, are all in action. St. Louis trails all of these teams in the standings. If the Blues get some help on Saturday night and IF the Blues beat Washington (ginormous if), the Blues could only be 2 pts. out of a playoff spot.
So what does this mean? It means it's scoreboard watching time from here on out if the Blues keep winning.
The Blues have been in this position half a dozen times over the past month. They have had chances to pull to within two or three points of a playoff spot...and they have choked on every chance prior to the one they have coming up on Saturday vs. Washington.
It's put up or shut up time for the Blues. If they beat Washington, that sends a message to ownership that they can make the playoffs. If they lose to Washington, the worst case scenerio is they are 6 pts.out and Paul Kariya or Keith Tkachuk (and/or others) may have played their last game in a Blues uniform. Either way, management has a two week long olympic break to think it over. Which brings me to bubble bullet point number two.
The Trade Deadline
The trade deadline is March 3rd...but because of the olympic break, a trade freeze has been put into effect. No trades are allowed until March 1st. Management has a tough decision to make if the Blues beat Washington. They'd be either two, three or four points out of a playoff spot...so are they buyers, sellers or do they stand pat?
They won't be buyers under any circumstances. So don't get your hopes up for a big time scorer coming our way at the trade deadline. They haven't played well enough to warrant being buyers. They'll either trade a guy or two away, or do nothing. I bet that no matter what happens on Saturday, someone will be traded off of the Blues roster on or before the trade deadline.
Fans are begging and pleading for JD and company to trade Eric "way-worse-than-Pronger-ever-was-and-more-like-Jeff-Finley" Brewer. Some also want to see Kariya and his underperforming $6 million/year ass gone too. One Blues fan was quoted as saying about the Kariya free agent signing, "That was the worst Blues free agent signing, ever." And it's hard to argue that statement.
Carlo Colaiacovo has also been mentioned in trade rumors. Carlo has been good this year, which leads you to hope the Blues do not trade him unless the return is pretty good. I can't imagine us getting anything other than a 2nd round pick or a mid-level prospect for him, and if that's the case, the Blues would probably be better off keeping him. The fans of St. Louis can't handle another Bryce-Salvador-for-Cam-Jannsen type trade.
The NHL trade deadline day is always a blast, no matter where your team is in the standings. And as always, the LGB forums will be jumping that day, discussing all of the trades and rumors...so, if you can, hang around the site during the day on March 3rd. It's always a good time.