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Why are the Blues so strong at home?

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03-28-2012, 12:55 PM
  #1
2 Minute Minor
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Why are the Blues so strong at home?

Last night the Blues set a new record for home wins in a season. Its been fun to watch. Remember when the Blues were road warriors and seemed to fritter away home leads (under Murray)?

I was thinking about this and trying to figure out WHY.

I think there are multiple factors, but I think this may be the place where Hitchcock shows his coaching chops the best. The fact is, the Blues have a roster and depth that is VERY hard for other teams to match up with. And Hitchcock's line-up adjustments have maximized this effect.

Most teams have 1 or 2 scoring lines, a 3rd line with more of a shut-down role, and a 4th line to provide agitation and physicality. The 3rd/4th lines often don't have a lot of scoring threat. Its a common formula in the salary cap era.

But the Blues' scoring is distributed through the roster and lines much more evenly. Also, because of the highly defensively responsible way our centers are asked to play, the defense contributes to scoring in a way that may not correlate with the offensive line changes. Pietro, Shattenkirk and Russell have all made effective pinches regardless of which line is out with them.

The Blues have excelled at taking other team's top line out of the game offensively. How many times have we seen the 4th line with Nichol/Reaves/Porter/Crombeen play the whole shift in the offensive zone just cycling the puck and hitting people?

I think the fan support makes a difference, but can it really be that much different than the majority of sold-out arenas throughout the league? I know PocketNines will point out that its the Blues secret weapon of bad ice (sorry Sharks' fans) that is the biggest factor. But seriously, why are the Blues so strong at home....and is there any reason to think that effect will be less in the post-season?

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03-28-2012, 01:21 PM
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The Note
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I think you pretty much nailed it. Matchup's, 4 effective lines, smart plays by the D, and a level of confidence that comes along with winning consistently at home. Plus with a crowd like last night, probably even up a notch through the playoffs it'd be tough to not feed off that.

Plus the bad ice and the trap

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03-28-2012, 01:29 PM
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SirPaste
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I think you pretty much summed it up. Also they just seem to play with so much confidence at home, its great.

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03-28-2012, 02:41 PM
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kielejocain
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It's not just the Blues. I ran the numbers earlier over on STLToday, and home teams across the NHL are doing 4% better this year (the disparity in the West is even greater; 6% vs. 2% in the East). I don't know if that's statistically significant or not, but it sure seems like it would be. Maybe once the season is over I'll do a more complete analysis.

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03-28-2012, 03:02 PM
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BlueDream
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Because they can control everything basically and play their game. When they are playing their game, nobody is going to outwork them.

Also the Blues have a very loud and lively crowd and the players feed off of that.

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03-28-2012, 03:32 PM
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HANDZ 57
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Because the team has a bunch of drinkers and they know that if they get a shut out, they can take all of their unused ticket stubs to dirt cheap for $5.00 off.

I wonder if that promo is going to happen again?

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03-28-2012, 03:39 PM
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CarvinSigX
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Red Wing envy...Seriously though? Line matching. If Hitch has the last change, he'll make your team pay. He knows when the shutdown lines need to be on the ice.

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03-29-2012, 11:26 AM
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stlweir
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Along the same lines is why is this Blues team contending for the best record in Hockey?

1. Certainly Talent -
2. Coaching - Appears the players have complete faith in Hitch and think he's the best in the business
3. Depth
4. Goaltending
5. Mix a veteran leadership
6. Stable front office
7. Fan support
6. Maybe most importantly the core of this young team has been together for almost 4 seasons which I think makes it easier to play as a team and for each other and they know each other tendencies.
Jackman, Cola & Polak are in their 4th season or longer as Blues
Backes, Steen, AMac, Oshie, Berglund, Perron, Crombeen are in their 4th or longer

There is a second wave of players in their 2nd season or longer:
Sobotka, Pie, Shattenkirk, Stewart, Halak, Reaves, Cole, Dags & Porter

The patience management has shown is being rewarded by the players performance on the ice. What an unexpected pleasure this season has been.

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03-29-2012, 11:33 AM
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HANDZ 57
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Yeah Weir, but those points don't really address the disparity between the road record vs home record. It's gotta be Hitch's line matching and toasted ravs...

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03-29-2012, 12:29 PM
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BigB
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St Louis water gives away teams the squirts... we are immune.

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03-30-2012, 06:29 AM
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stlsportster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kielejocain View Post
It's not just the Blues. I ran the numbers earlier over on STLToday, and home teams across the NHL are doing 4% better this year (the disparity in the West is even greater; 6% vs. 2% in the East). I don't know if that's statistically significant or not, but it sure seems like it would be. Maybe once the season is over I'll do a more complete analysis.
You can attribute most of the difference to the Red Wings home ref advantage.

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