After six games played, the St. Louis Blues have posted a 2-4-0 record, placing them in 13th in the Western Conference standings. Many Blues fans have already hit the “panic button” and have sent the women and children into the lifeboats. Many of those fans are already pointing fingers at Jaroslav Halak for his sub-par goaltending efforts.
I’m here to tell those people that he is not the only one that deserves a finger pointed his way.
There are many other contributing factors to the Blues’ failing performance. There are four components of the Blues’ game, including goaltending, that have been the biggest reasons for the poor record.
4. Quality of Shots
Yes, the Blues have been outshooting their opponents. In fact, the Blues have averaged 7.2 more shots per game than their opponent. That can never be deemed a bad thing.
The problem has been the Blues’ unwillingness to get great shots. This may seem nitpicky but we see opposing teams working to get great scoring chances after cycling the puck around the Blues’ defense. The Blues then skate the puck down to the other end and take a few shots before losing control again. The quality of these shots have to improve.
October 13, 2011: St. Louis Blues (1-1-0) vs. Dallas Stars (2-1-0).
Tonight will be the début of the official LetsGoBlues.com in-game blog! Feel free to discuss the game here.
The game will start at 7:30 pm CDT and will be played at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
Blues starting lineup
Andy McDonald - David Backes - Jamie Langenbrunner
T.J. Oshie - Patrik Berglund - Chris Stewart
Alex Steen - Jason Arnott - Matt D'Agostini
Vladimir Sobotka - Scott Nichol - Ryan Reaves
Kent Huskins - Alex Pietrangelo
Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk
Nikita Nikitin - Roman Polak
Rule #1 of playing team sports: if one player is playing poorly, the rest of the team must elevate their play to make it unnoticeable.
It’s hard to do this when that teammate is the goaltender, but the Blues have to the best of their abilities.
Starting goaltender Jaroslav Halak has begun the season in a sub-par fashion. Halak has allowed just three goals in two games (not including Nashville’s empty-netter), but his save percentage is a measly .844.
His rebound control has been an enormous problem. Craig Smith made that obvious when he scored his first period goal Saturday night after Halak could not grab the rebound from an attainable Shea Weber shot. Halak laid on his stomach while Smith knocked it out of his reach and snapped it into the gaping net.
Halak allowed 3 goals on 15 Nashville shots in the 4-2 loss.
Time to panic?
Not yet. This team has rallied around Halak and given him the support to allow him to pick himself back up. Halak rebounded Monday afternoon against the Flames, earning his first victory of the season. He started off shaky in this game as well, allowing an early goal to Curtis Glencross of the Flames. The Calgary forward received the puck in the high slot and fired a wrist shot that seemed to deflect off of Blues forward Andy McDonald. Even though deflected, Halak had enough time to react to the shot but it still found its way through Halak’s legs to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
Instead of bringing up a player from Peoria, the Blues have opted to bring in another new face to the roster.
The open spot comes after defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo was placed on the injury reserve Tuesday morning. Colaiacovo is suffering from a series of headaches that may or may not be symptoms of a concussion.
Blues GM Doug Armstrong was very careful to not use the word “concussion” too much when speaking with the press.
"It's symptoms right now," said Armstrong. "Carlo's had concussions in the past and he does have headaches right now, so we're just keeping him off the ice until those subside."
In Colaiacovo’s absence, the Blues have claimed defenseman Taylor Chorney off waivers from the Edmonton Oilers.
Chorney, 24, has appeared in 56 NHL games and has contributed 1 goal, 6 assists and 7 points spanning over parts of three seasons. He has spent his entire professional career as a member of the Oilers organization. In his AHL career, Chorney has added 12 goals, 38 assists and 50 points over 146 career AHL games.
"He's a good-skating, first-pass puck player that we thought would give us an opportunity to take a look at him here when we have the roster space available,” Armstrong said. “He'll come in here and be ready to be at practice tomorrow and be on the road with us."
Unbeknownst to most of the St. Louis area, the Blues open up the 2011-12 season tomorrow night at Scottrade Center.
Why is this the case? Well, St. Louis is a baseball town through and through.
The St. Louis Cardinals play Game 5 of their National League Divisional Series tonight with the Philadelphia Phillies. Normally, the Blues can still sneak into sports talk radio and the sports section of the newspaper despite the Cardinals’ playoff run. But not this time.
The Cardinals are getting all of the attention right now in every aspect of the media. It is well deserved.
The Cardinals have had quite the miracle run to end the season. On August 25, the Cardinals were 10 ½ games back from the wild card. They just came off a 3-game sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Busch Stadium and it looked like the season was over for the historic team.
Things changed in a hurry. That night, the Cardinals began an impressive 22-9 run to close out the season, clinching a wild card playoff berth in the final night of the regular season, when the slumping Atlanta Braves lost in extra innings to the Phillies, forfeiting their spot atop the wild card standings.