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What is wrong with the Blues?

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Old
03-06-2013, 10:49 AM
  #26
Honeycutt
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Leadership.

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03-06-2013, 03:50 PM
  #27
Mike Liut
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Not creating enough quality scoring chances
Giving up too many quality scoring chances
Poor goal tending

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03-06-2013, 04:52 PM
  #28
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Too much inconsistency from the players we need to stay consistent

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03-06-2013, 05:15 PM
  #29
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They're 11-9-2 and probably would have at least three more wins if they'd had the goaltending they had last year (which IMO was never a product of the system as last year featured many, many breakaways and odd-mans that were pretty much all stopped). Three more wins and they're 14-6-2 and none of this conversation is happening.

So goaltending is the biggest reason, but a second, critical reason is the character of the core group responding to adversity has been poor. Also Pietrangelo is significantly worse than he was last year and when your far-and-away best player goes from All-Star caliber to average caliber you're going to suffer. Those three reasons jump out to me: goaltending, character, Pietrangelo's dropoff.

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03-06-2013, 05:18 PM
  #30
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They have no killer instinct, none. We had it last season, but it is gone now. No way would last year's team blown so many leads.

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03-06-2013, 05:39 PM
  #31
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Last season so many more games were close. It was less about killer instinct than being consistent up 2-1 and finding a way to hold that lead the rest of the game. I'd describe the killer instinct as more a consistent driven effort shift to shift to shift. They certainly haven't had that this year.

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03-06-2013, 06:42 PM
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PocketNines View Post
They're 11-9-2 and probably would have at least three more wins if they'd had the goaltending they had last year (which IMO was never a product of the system as last year featured many, many breakaways and odd-mans that were pretty much all stopped). Three more wins and they're 14-6-2 and none of this conversation is happening.

So goaltending is the biggest reason, but a second, critical reason is the character of the core group responding to adversity has been poor. Also Pietrangelo is significantly worse than he was last year and when your far-and-away best player goes from All-Star caliber to average caliber you're going to suffer. Those three reasons jump out to me: goaltending, character, Pietrangelo's dropoff.
We are like the opposite of Chicago this year. Duncan Keith is playing back at the All-Star/Norris trophy level he was playing at a couple of seasons ago. Crawford and Emery have made timely saves. The core of that team are playing with confidence and swagger. And they have yet to lose a game in regulation.

I think we're also not putting enough emphasis on how average (I don't want to say poorly) AP has been this year. I think we all forget just how much he is the engine that runs our vehicle. Even though he didn't get a point, the Sobotka goal was a direct result of the type of play we've come to expect from him. He drew two forecheckers down into the corner to him, then made a tape to tape pass to D'ags who broke out of the zone and into the Kings zone without being challenged. He actually took it all the way behind the net before he was challenged. We basically swapped 200 feet of ice thanks to one play from AP. That's the type of play our system is predicated on, and we haven't seen much of it this year.

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03-06-2013, 06:59 PM
  #33
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The blues are mentally weak. If we get punched in the mouth, we don't get up and fight back like we should.

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03-06-2013, 07:25 PM
  #34
Mike Liut
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I think we need more toughness. We need 2 more guys who can drop the gloves, with one being a defender. Obviously, they have to have skill and fit in Hitch's style. Who you say? I have no idea.

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03-06-2013, 07:30 PM
  #35
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Calling for more toughness/fighting in response to being mentally weak is like saying, "I really don't know what's wrong but the answer is probably lashing out physically."

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03-06-2013, 07:36 PM
  #36
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Originally Posted by PocketNines View Post
Calling for more toughness/fighting in response to being mentally weak is like saying, "I really don't know what's wrong but the answer is probably lashing out physically."
You think this team is mentally strong?

They're mentally weak and aren't playing team defense like last season.

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03-06-2013, 07:43 PM
  #37
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Toughness doesn't fix lack of focus, discipline, and a killer instinct. There is no reason we should have taken our foot off the pedal against LA, and that's exactly what we did.

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03-06-2013, 07:46 PM
  #38
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Originally Posted by diehardbluesfan View Post
You think this team is mentally strong?

They're mentally weak and aren't playing team defense like last season.
How do you get that question from my post? Mental toughness ≠ physical toughness.

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03-06-2013, 08:12 PM
  #39
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Fighting doesn't fix everything, but it helps to make teams think twice before starting sh**. If I was somebody like Perron, Amac, Oshie, I would feel more confident knowing I have guys who have my back and won't take liberties against me. You can't have a team with only 2 fighters, Reaves and Stewart.

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03-06-2013, 08:35 PM
  #40
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Originally Posted by Mike Liut View Post
Fighting doesn't fix everything, but it helps to make teams think twice before starting sh**. If I was somebody like Perron, Amac, Oshie, I would feel more confident knowing I have guys who have my back and won't take liberties against me. You can't have a team with only 2 fighters, Reaves and Stewart.
Right, this is my point. The Blues aren't losing because other teams are "starting ****." That basically has nothing to do with it. So getting more fighters remedies something that has nothing to do with why the team is losing. The team is losing because its goaltending sucks, it is mentally weak and has letdowns when adversity arrives, and because its best player is having a serious off year.

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03-06-2013, 08:51 PM
  #41
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Other than injuries, last night's game is a microcosm of the season.

Pietro looked great and the team followed his lead, making simple plays, skating with confidence, and hitting. When Pietro is a little off, the whole team looks a little off. But last night, he was great, so the team was great. Until Halak let in that fourth goal.

Hitchcock's tight-checking style means you expect a low-scoring game. Even if your goalie NEVER lets in a single bad goal, you're going to have lapses, and that means from time to time, your goalie has to make a big save. We've seen inordinately few of those. Add bad goals and what do you know, the team plays like they have zero confidence in their goaltenders. When they hang a goalie out to dry and get scored on, their posture sags. When their goalie lets in a weak goal, they lose composure. The cycle of crap kickstarts itself.

For all of the little things you can pick apart, like Backes swooping around instead of checking his man in the defensive zone, like Cole being scratched too often, or like Perron holding onto the puck too long, it's clear that it's in the players' heads. Goaltending issues are real, but the rest of the players need to do their jobs well regardless of what's going on in net.

The question is how to handle that. The short season magnifies this incredibly, so I cannot say for sure, but, at least for right now, calling up Allen is a really good start. I almost came here to say they need to call him up the instant that fourth goal was scored.
Beyond that, you have three options: a small trade to give them some different chemistry and light a fire under some underperformers, a big trade because the core needs a new shape, or a coaching change. I think you look at option one, followed closely by option two, but don't even think about option three until next season.

I'm frustrated, but I'm not pulling the alarm. LA got hot in the second half and barely made the playoffs last year. Most great teams have to overcome some significant adversity on their way to becoming great. So, as frustrated as I am, I'm excited to see these guys near the precipice. Will they come through? Should Armstrong remodel a bit? They have an opportunity to come out of this a better team.

Personally, I want to see them become more top-heavy. Get a higher impact forward or two - guys you can count on nightly. And run fast, mean, relentless bottom lines. You need three lines that can score, but you need at least one that will score.

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03-06-2013, 09:08 PM
  #42
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Mentioned this in the trade thread, but Perron, Stewart, and Tarasenko are all producing at first line forward rates (all are basically on 30-30 pace). Those aren't numbers that'll challenge for the Top Scorers list but those are definitely first line NHL production numbers.

Armstrong referred to this being a "critical" moment in the season because it's so short. We're at the 22 game mark and the trade deadline arrives at the 34 game mark. The next 12 games will provide the data points for what minor or major moves will be made. 2/3 of those games are against Phoenix, San Jose, Anaheim and Edmonton.

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03-06-2013, 09:16 PM
  #43
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Originally Posted by rumrokh View Post
Personally, I want to see them become more top-heavy. Get a higher impact forward or two - guys you can count on nightly. And run fast, mean, relentless bottom lines. You need three lines that can score, but you need at least one that will score.
Last time we even had a 40 goal scorer was Brad Boyes in 07-08. So I agree, we need a line that will score. Tarasenko won't hit 40 for 2-4 full seasons.

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03-06-2013, 09:45 PM
  #44
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The Blues are 3 games away from the #1 overall pick (assuming the worst record wins the lottery)

We have two Tanks this year.

Frank the Tank
Blues the Tank

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03-06-2013, 10:35 PM
  #45
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The Blues' problems this season have been caused by a combination of several different things:

1) key players not having played during the lockout (Halak (1 game only), Elliott, Backes, Oshie, McDonald, Perron, Pietrangelo, Shattenkirk, Jackman)

2) Langenbrunner and Arnott becoming too old, Langenbrunner hurt, the too old veterans replaced by rookies (Schwartz & Tarasenko) -leaving team with a lack of enough veteran calmness (especially with McDonald being out for a long time, and Nichol's game fading, similarly to Langenbrunner's.

3) key rookies couldn't get integrated into the team's system, and lines didn't get enough prep time due to no pre-season, and the loss of the first 34 season games. Teams with set lines from last season have an extreme advantage over teams that are adding 2-3 Top 9 forwards.

4) Tarasenko's arrival helped spur a "slaughter" victory in the first game. He continued his good scoring in the first several games. The Blues started believing that he is a "budding superstar", and would help make their formerly ordinary "teamwork offence" a potent one. They felt that with their smothering defence/puck possession game of last season, plus their new, "potent" offence 9proven in the first few games, they'd be almost unbeatable. So, they felt (subconsciously) that all they had to do was step out onto the ice, and they'd win almost every game. They "forgot" to play Hitchcock's 2-way, defensibly responsible game. The fact that they were seemingly able to score very easily, led to another problem -leading the players (especially those playing for new contracts-but really including everyone) to TRY to add as many points as possible to their scoring totals). This led to much risky pinching, getting caught up ice and hanging back in the offensive zone, causing many more quality scoring opportunities for the opponents.

5) The results of #4 put added pressure on Halak and Elliott (in addition to their having had no pre-season and needing to use the first 2 months to "train"), causing them to lose confidence and not get in a "groove". So, Elliott has basically collapsed, and Halak has been very inconsistent.

6) The forwards' not getting back on defence, defencemen's ill-advised pinching and staying too long deep in the offensive zone (overall lack of team defence) and deterioration of the puck possession game (due to unsettled lines-addition of new players and lack of pre-season) has led to more possession by opponents in The Blues' defensive zone, and more goals against.

7) Arbitrariness of penalty calling by the referees hurts the formerly physical Blues more than the "finesse-style" teams. That has hurt The Blues' team defence and forecheck (especially the games of Backes, Oshie, and Polak, and has even hurt Pietrangelo's effectiveness).

8) ALL OF THE ABOVE- combines to lead to less confidence for the goalies, and overall team confidence. They suffer mental letdowns. Hockey is a TEAM sport. Mental attitude is VERY important. The Blues have a VERY FRAGILE mental condition related to confidence, which translates into lack of necessary confidence for sustained high-level play and sustained winning.

9) The Blues could still benefit a lot from having at least one, if not 2 difference-making scorers, who can manufacture offence on their own. Tarasenko may become one. But, he's not there yet, and his getting injured just sets that process back.

10) The Blues need more size, weight and strength on the defensive line, especially a #1 shift crease-clearer (who can also bring the puck up ice and skate it out of trouble and make breakout passes). With the new "criteria" for calling interference penalties, their lightweight group of defencemen is more vulnerable than it was last season.

11) The Blues "sneaked up" on many teams last season (especially feeding on Eastern Conference teams-to pad their great won/lost ratio). The Kings "showed" the other teams that pressuring The Blues' weakest defencemen deep in their own zone would lead to many turnovers, and reverse The Blues' puck possession dominance, to lead to many scoring chances.

Summation: ALL of these factors have combined to keep The Blues from playing their successful puck-possession game, and therefoe, from getting the results they got last regular season.

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03-06-2013, 11:09 PM
  #46
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Originally Posted by Robb_K View Post
The Blues' problems this season have been caused by a combination of several different things:

1) key players not having played during the lockout (Halak (1 game only), Elliott, Backes, Oshie, McDonald, Perron, Pietrangelo, Shattenkirk, Jackman)

2) Langenbrunner and Arnott becoming too old, Langenbrunner hurt, the too old veterans replaced by rookies (Schwartz & Tarasenko) -leaving team with a lack of enough veteran calmness (especially with McDonald being out for a long time, and Nichol's game fading, similarly to Langenbrunner's.

3) key rookies couldn't get integrated into the team's system, and lines didn't get enough prep time due to no pre-season, and the loss of the first 34 season games. Teams with set lines from last season have an extreme advantage over teams that are adding 2-3 Top 9 forwards.

4) Tarasenko's arrival helped spur a "slaughter" victory in the first game. He continued his good scoring in the first several games. The Blues started believing that he is a "budding superstar", and would help make their formerly ordinary "teamwork offence" a potent one. They felt that with their smothering defence/puck possession game of last season, plus their new, "potent" offence 9proven in the first few games, they'd be almost unbeatable. So, they felt (subconsciously) that all they had to do was step out onto the ice, and they'd win almost every game. They "forgot" to play Hitchcock's 2-way, defensibly responsible game. The fact that they were seemingly able to score very easily, led to another problem -leading the players (especially those playing for new contracts-but really including everyone) to TRY to add as many points as possible to their scoring totals). This led to much risky pinching, getting caught up ice and hanging back in the offensive zone, causing many more quality scoring opportunities for the opponents.

5) The results of #4 put added pressure on Halak and Elliott (in addition to their having had no pre-season and needing to use the first 2 months to "train"), causing them to lose confidence and not get in a "groove". So, Elliott has basically collapsed, and Halak has been very inconsistent.

6) The forwards' not getting back on defence, defencemen's ill-advised pinching and staying too long deep in the offensive zone (overall lack of team defence) and deterioration of the puck possession game (due to unsettled lines-addition of new players and lack of pre-season) has led to more possession by opponents in The Blues' defensive zone, and more goals against.

7) Arbitrariness of penalty calling by the referees hurts the formerly physical Blues more than the "finesse-style" teams. That has hurt The Blues' team defence and forecheck (especially the games of Backes, Oshie, and Polak, and has even hurt Pietrangelo's effectiveness).

8) ALL OF THE ABOVE- combines to lead to less confidence for the goalies, and overall team confidence. They suffer mental letdowns. Hockey is a TEAM sport. Mental attitude is VERY important. The Blues have a VERY FRAGILE mental condition related to confidence, which translates into lack of necessary confidence for sustained high-level play and sustained winning.

9) The Blues could still benefit a lot from having at least one, if not 2 difference-making scorers, who can manufacture offence on their own. Tarasenko may become one. But, he's not there yet, and his getting injured just sets that process back.

10) The Blues need more size, weight and strength on the defensive line, especially a #1 shift crease-clearer (who can also bring the puck up ice and skate it out of trouble and make breakout passes). With the new "criteria" for calling interference penalties, their lightweight group of defencemen is more vulnerable than it was last season.

11) The Blues "sneaked up" on many teams last season (especially feeding on Eastern Conference teams-to pad their great won/lost ratio). The Kings "showed" the other teams that pressuring The Blues' weakest defencemen deep in their own zone would lead to many turnovers, and reverse The Blues' puck possession dominance, to lead to many scoring chances.

Summation: ALL of these factors have combined to keep The Blues from playing their successful puck-possession game, and therefoe, from getting the results they got last regular season.
Pretty darn astute write up Robb!

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03-06-2013, 11:27 PM
  #47
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I'd definitely welcome adding one more player that brings toughness (preferably on defense), but the Blues didn't lose last night from a lack of toughness. I thought that was the one aspect where they did very well. Aside from Polak getting KO'd, the Blues I thought were the tougher team and won the physical battles.

They truly are mentally weak. I know the Kings are a big, tough team, but in reality they are not really tougher than us, they're just better. Better structure, quicker, better goaltending, more consistent scorers, overall they just execute the system much better than us. They're in our heads. We know they own us so we don't think we can beat them, and they know they can beat us.

Another thing that's wrong is the goaltending. It is absolute ****. The whole team isn't playing well but if we had a better goalie than Halak and Elliott we'd be 4th in the West instead of 9th.

Robb one quick mistake is that Shattenkirk did play during the lockout and I still hate that excuse; I do not believe we are struggling because of players not playing during the lockout. All teams had some guys that didn't, and we're now almost halfway through this season...that's enough time. Let's not make that an excuse, it's stupid. Other than that though you have some points.

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03-06-2013, 11:59 PM
  #48
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I'd definitely welcome adding one more player that brings toughness (preferably on defense), but the Blues didn't lose last night from a lack of toughness. I thought that was the one aspect where they did very well. Aside from Polak getting KO'd, the Blues I thought were the tougher team and won the physical battles.

They truly are mentally weak. I know the Kings are a big, tough team, but in reality they are not really tougher than us, they're just better. Better structure, quicker, better goaltending, more consistent scorers, overall they just execute the system much better than us. They're in our heads. We know they own us so we don't think we can beat them, and they know they can beat us.

Another thing that's wrong is the goaltending. It is absolute ****. The whole team isn't playing well but if we had a better goalie than Halak and Elliott we'd be 4th in the West instead of 9th.

Robb one quick mistake is that Shattenkirk did play during the lockout and I still hate that excuse; I do not believe we are struggling because of players not playing during the lockout. All teams had some guys that didn't, and we're now almost halfway through this season...that's enough time. Let's not make that an excuse, it's stupid. Other than that though you have some points.
I listed 12 factors above. It's just one of the 12, and affected some other teams. But, with The Blues, it really hurt that BOTH goalies, AND key players such as Pietrangelo, Oshie, and especially, notorious slow-starter, Backes had to start from scratch in January.

I agree that the main problems of The Blues this season are being ill-prepared, due to no pre-season, and the team abandoning team defence, and them having a lack of confidence and lack of "killer instinct" or "The Will To Win"(which is partly attributable to their being mainly made up of youngsters, who have never won much on The NHL level. Those factors are all tied together.

The winning edge is heavily mental, and can be fragile. So far, this group of Blues has NOT shown mental toughness. Let's hope that Armstrong and Hitchcock can do something to change that.

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03-07-2013, 12:10 AM
  #49
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So in re: #7 (penalties) - and this was mentioned earlier in the thread - how much do you think the change in calling interference has messed with the way the Blues have played their game?

In the first few games, the Blues seemed to be getting called for interference pretty frequently, and as that has decreased, so has the potency of the Blues' defense. Have the Blues failed to adapt to the new rule interpretation, or have they over-adapted?

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03-07-2013, 12:28 AM
  #50
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So in re: #7 (penalties) - and this was mentioned earlier in the thread - how much do you think the change in calling interference has messed with the way the Blues have played their game?

In the first few games, the Blues seemed to be getting called for interference pretty frequently, and as that has decreased, so has the potency of the Blues' defense. Have the Blues failed to adapt to the new rule interpretation, or have they over-adapted?
There are probably more direct and accurate answers to this, but my answer is that if the Blues play well, none of this matters.

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