The Blues’ season is about 15 minutes old, and here we go again. Another coaching melodrama, just like the 500 coaching psychodramas that preceded this latest fit of distemper. If it’s Thursday — or Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday — then a Blues’ coach is howling at the moon, frying his internal circuity and chewing on his office furniture.
Mike Yeo … my goodness … take care of yourself, man.
But even going by the Blues’ bizarre historical standard for having coaching crises and watching the latest victim have his 19th nervous breakdown — well, this one is a doozy.
The Blues have played six regular-season games with a renovated roster that had seven new forwards in the mix on opening night. The aggressive offseason maneuvers of Blues of President of Hockey Operations Doug Armstrong were praised by hockey pundits around the continent — from St. Louis to St. Catharines, from Saskatoon to Sherbrooke, from Surrey to St. Paul.
This remodeled team fell through the ice.
The Note is 1-3-2, and already sinking into the hazardous depths of the Western Conference standings. In terms of victories, this is the Blues’ worst six-game start to the season since the 1977-78 campaign. It would be one thing if this slushy, brain-freeze start was based on new Blues struggling to connect with the holdover Blues. The on-ice chemistry, and all of that. This would be understandable. But chemistry isn’t the issue — not unless you’re talking about the metaphorical chemical burns that are visible on Yeo’s scowling post-game face.
The coach — rightfully appalled by his team’s lack of effort — is unloading snarly verbiage on the boys after games gone bad. The latest debacle, a 3-2 giveaway to the Canadiens in Montreal, left Yeo flustered and fuming and sick and tired of the whole damned thing.
Asked about his team’s level of frustration, Yeo barked: “Actually I really hope [frustration] has set in. Frustration — we should be damn-right pissed off, to be honest with you. I’m sorry for my language, but I don’t see enough anger. I don’t see enough where we’re gonna put our foot down and we’re gonna put an end to this.”
Actually, Yeo had enough anger to go around. Maybe some of the players should tap into it and do something about pulling themselves out of the canyon that’s swallowing them up.
How about some urgency?
That’s an effective, if overused, sports word.
“So what is causing that lack of urgency?” Yeo yelped. “Is it an arrogance on our part, that we just think that we’re so good that we’re getting out of it? Or is there something bigger and something more troubling that we have to identify here?”
You got me, Coach.
Your team’s attitude is as mysterious as Area 51.
This is the Blues’ 51st season, by the way.
This isn’t shinny hockey — the term used by an irate Yeo after a recent home loss.
This hockey would be best described in two words, similar to shinny hockey — but substitute the letters nn with the letters tt and you have it.
How can this be? The Blues should be revved up, rejuvenated by fresh blood and more up-front talent, and attacking the season with a full tank of passion. But even though it’s almost Halloween the Blues’ Zombie hockey is terribly out of line, and makes no sense. Yeo is trying to use primal screams to wake the boys up, and rouse them from their trance — and there’s been no response.
Hello, is there a leader in the house?
You know, a team captain to hold teammates accountable?
If the coach — any coach, any sport — can’t get the athletes to react and rejoin the competition with a renewed sense of purpose … then what the hell does that say?
I just can’t believe I’m sitting here on Oct. 18, wondering if the Blues’ coach will be around much longer. For the record, I’m not advocating Yeo’s firing. I don’t believe, for one minute, that Armstrong or Blues chairman Tom Stillman want to fire their coach … or even thinking about whacking their coach.
But this is an unusual spot for the Blues to occupy right now. They’ve got one win in six games. They face formidable road challenges at Toronto (Saturday) and at Winnipeg (Monday.) And then it’s back to Enterprise Center for a stretch of seven consecutive home games.
The Blues can’t afford to have more foreclosures on their home (schedule.) Four of the first six games were at Enterprise. The Blues weren’t very enterprising, winning only one of the four home dates. This extended a disturbing pattern of the home team soiling the home ice; going back to late last season the Blues have won only six of their last 16 games in the confusing house of mirrors at 14th and Clark.
The upcoming home stay begins Oct. 25 and ends Nov. 11.
If the Blues have submerged themselves into an impossible position in the standings by Thanksgiving, having drowned all hope of making it to the postseason, the early demise would be brutal for Stillman’s business. He’s given the team (and the fans) a roster with a max payroll; he deserves a better return from these players. And so do Blues fans.
This leads to an unpleasant but legitimate question: If the players continue to block the noise made by Yeo’s yelling, pleading and prodding — well, then what?
The baffling Blues are making me goofy. So daffy that I will now quote from Dr. Seuss.
“How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”
Gee. That’s a tough one, Doc. I don’t have a smart answer.
But here’s some advice:
When in doubt, blame it on Bouwmeester.
Thanks for reading…