Blues Take 2 of 3
Still Sit Five Points Out
Normally securing two wins out of a possible three is nothing to get down about. However, the Blues are in a pivotal spot where each loss is extremely costly. Time is running out as only 14 games remain on the Blues schedule and St. Louis doesn't enjoy any games in hand on the teams surrounding them (Detroit, Calgary, Minnesota and Dallas). The Blues are still alive in this race, but it's time to get realistic - they will need another miracle.
Last week, I posted an article about how the Blues' three game stretch contained three "must win" games. Following the trip, the team sits in a spot very similar to the one they were in prior to that article with one notable difference - three games have passed and things are getting urgent.
A frequent commenter here at FrozenNotes, Tony Scharf, added his own thoughts:
"Mathematically speaking, they are still in it, but statistically speaking, their odds are almost impossible.
If all the Western teams keep winning at the same pace, the magic number will be 97, leaving Calgary and Nashville to fight for that last spot. Blues will most likely end up in 10th, unless they can win 12 of their last 14, or Detroit and Calgary start losing.
It's highly doubtful, outside of something miraculous, that the Blues can take 12 of their last 14, which should indicate the current situation the team finds itself in.
I think the pace will slacken a bit, placing the magic number in the 95 range, which is a number I have felt confident with all season long. Still, the fact remains the mountain is a large one and has many other travelers trying to reach the summit.
The most frustrating aspect of all this is that the Blues are currently playing some of their best hockey of the season - last night excluded. The Blues looked gassed against the Minnesota Wild but overall played some great hockey during their three game trip. Unfortunately, this solid play is likely too little too late, and makes one wonder why the Blues couldn't turn in these sort of efforts earlier in the year before the situation was critical.
Above is the current standings, with games played in the left column and points falling in the right column.
I'll continue to discuss the Blues playoff chances moving forward, but for now I'll leave it at this: the Blues are going to need a lot
of things to fall their way to crack their way into the playoffs. If you are a betting person, I wouldn't be betting on the Blues to make it, but the eternal fan in me will still be rooting and cheering as hard for them as ever before.
Gazing into your crystal ball, what future do you see for the Blues in 2010-2011? This team has a lot of key parts in place and more importantly has a lot of young talent to build off of and to make deals with if the right one fell into place. There are holes to patch and there are numerous questions that need to be answered.
I feel confident that regardless if the Blues make the playoffs this year or not that they will be active this summer and will bring in some new faces. A wealth of fans believe the Blues need to bring in a new goaltender this summer and I am a fan who falls into that category, especially since there could be some nice options hitting the market after this season.
You can safely bet that the defense will see some changes and some familiar faces could be on their way out. The Blues have more faces than they have spots in the lineup and some will not be returning next year.
Changes are almost a certainty this summer. I don't think there are any "quick fixes" and I don't think we should expect any player to be the "last piece of the puzzle" as the fans were supposed to be this season (good one Blues' marketing department). However, I do think this team is just a few changes away from being a safer bet for the playoffs rather than having to claw and bite their way in. The Stanley Cup still looks to be pretty far off, but one never knows what can happen once the playoffs begin.
I'm not big into making predictions/projections, but I do think that the team will fall just short this season and while they will have a lot of positives this offseason, they will also need to shake a few things up without damaging this side's nucleus. If the right moves are made, injuries don't plague the roster and the key holes are plugged, I think the 2010-11 playoffs should once again feature our boys in blue.