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We are now eight days into 2016, and the Blues are still searching for a win in a week which as seen the disappearance of two 2-goal leads and an embarrassing 4-1 loss to the seventh-place team in the Atlantic Division.
Photo: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
The Blues officially have not won a game since last year. Though we are only a week into 2016, that time span has translated into a four-game losing streak for the struggling Note. On top of that, the Blues have lost five of their last six games. And to make matters even more embarrassing, three of those five losses came against teams ranked in the bottom half of their respective conferences. Finally, to top this horrendous situation, the Blues have now been outscored 107-106 this season; the first time they’ve been outscored after forty games since 2011. After all of these negative statistics, they sit in third place behind the Blackhawks in the Central Division, and many Blues fans are now wondering what must be done to remedy this situation.
Let’s first look at the squad we have. As of January 8 at 4pm, only two of our players have scored more than ten goals (Alexander Steen with 13 and Vladimir Tarasenko with 24). Our third-best point-scorer is a defenseman (Kevin Shattenkirk), who missed ten games but still has an outstanding 25 points on the year. The Blues have only six players with a positive plus-minus rating, and eighteen players in the red in that category. On the bright side, we have a goalie backstopping us that has an impressive 2.17 goals against average, and we have a coach that hasn’t given up quite yet.…wait.
Yes, of course Ken Hitchcock is in the spotlight when it comes to the blame game. He has altered the lines almost every game, and that cannot be good for team chemistry. Obviously, we have no way of knowing how this affects the players without asking them, but as a hockey player, I can say that messing with the lines throws you off big time. Different playing styles, different roles, and the result is a different game every night. For the Blues to succeed they need routine. Every athlete needs routine. Ken Hitchcock needs to be fired or be taught how to coach without completely altering the roster every night.
Keeping my coach rant to a minimum, I’ll say that I was probably the last opponent of firing Hitchcock. I loved him and supported him up until these last few games. Losing a two-goal lead twice in one week is ridiculous, and the Blues have lost substantial leads more than once this year. Now is the time to stop playing hot-potato with the puck. The Blues have lost their killer-instinct, and as a result, they have lost multiple goal leads on multiple occasions.
The solution? Well we need a new face behind the bench and in the front office. It’s time to stop relying on the same group that year after year cannot conquer the first round of the playoffs. If these changes are not made, playoffs will be a thing of the past for the St. Louis Blues.
St. Louis Blues Winter Classic Journal