The Blues lost to Detroit last night, placing them a distant 10 points behind the 8th place Red Wings. While it's never fun to lose to a rival like the Detroit Red Wings, it stings just a bit more when it all but officially eliminates even the most optimistic hopes that the Blues will make the playoffs. In today's installment of news/links we look at Ian Cole, coach Davis Payne, and look ahead to moves that might happen this summer.
Ian Cole Signs with the BluesOnce his season at Notre Dame came to an end, the Blues' prospect Ian Cole (a junior) signed an official contract with the team and is now set to report to Peoria. The defender won't have much time to get his feet wet in Peoria as their season ends roughly around the same times as the Blues season does. Cole signed an amateur tryout contract as to avoid signing a professional contract which would start the countdown on his entry level contract - a wise move by the front office and Cole. Unfamiliar with Ian Cole? The defender was drafted in the 2007 Entry Draft by the Blues and has spent the last three seasons skating at his college Notre Dame.Hockey'sFuture.com grades Ian Cole a 7.5, or as a solid 3-4 defender. They also rank him as the Blues' third best prospect, behind Alex Pietrangelo and Lars Eller. Will Coach Davis Payne Return Next Season?No news story relating here, just a thought that seems to be echoing around a lot of fans these days. Will Payne return for a full season next year with the Blues? Opinions appear to be pretty divided. I believe Payne does indeed know how to handle the youngsters in this organization, which was a skill clearly lacking under Andy Murray. Payne was placed in a pretty awkward situation right off the start, taking over for a team spinning out of control and failing to turn in solid efforts on any given night. I don't envy Payne's job. I feel he has done the best he can do with a team that started under an entirely different system. I wouldn't mind seeing what Payne can do with a full season to work with, rather than just seeing him in a role that was to basically stop the bleeding. The Blues will miss the playoffs this season, but can we really blame the new coach for that? Things haven't been great, or even good under the new coach but they have at least shown improvement. Home and Away, Night and DayYesterday I wrote up a quick post on how dreadful the Blues have been at home this season and how it's quite puzzling as to how they can perform so well on the road but so differently at the Scottrade. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (and our good friend Jeremy Rutherford) dove into the numbers a bit more to shine even more light on the subject. What you'll find isn't pretty, so it might be best to view on an empty stomach. How do the Blues Improve?The Post-Dispatch also ran an article this week about what the Blues could do to improve next season, so I figured I'd throw my own opinion into the mix.The team needs to bring in some fresh faces, eliminate some others and be smart with the money coming off the books. Paul Kariya's bloated salary comes to an end and the team will have to decide whether to keep him (at a much, much cheaper price) or let him walk. Other big contracts will need tough decisions such as those involving Brad Boyes and Eric Brewer.Patch-work goaltending will only get you so far. The Blues currently have two of the best backup goaltenders in the league, but having two great backups usually means you are missing a clear number one goaltender. The Blues could definitely use an upgrade here, but a dominant number one is pretty tough to come by. The other areas, scoring and defense, need upgrade in their own way which I'm sure the front office not only recognizes but will address.