The horrors of Halloween have passed, much like (fans hope) the terror surrounding your St. Louis Blues’ first nine games. With an impressive 7-3 win Saturday over Chicago, the Note avoided (for now) what was starting to resemble a ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ film.
But winning calms the nerves, and the Blues showed fire following last week’s 7-4 loss to Columbus, which many fans saw as the bane of their and the team’s existence. Whether the Note carries said fire into Thursday’s visit from Vegas or Saturday’s from Minnesota remains to be seen, but spirits are much higher now compared to a week ago.
Then, if you recall, Mike Yeo was all but packing a U-haul to start his search for another hockey home…Not really, but there was plenty of talk among fans and media as to whether he should keep his job behind the bench. Some chatter may have been overblown, but anytime a team isn’t skating hard for three periods it reflects poorly on the head coach.
But, lackadaisical showings aside, it seems Blues brass may have expected some of these growing pains from a group still learning to play as one.
“You talk about all the new faces…and that they were going to play a little bit differently, and I think this was somewhat expected within the organization, but it obviously wasn’t expected within the fanbase,” The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford recently told ‘The Bernie Miklasz Show.’ “So, when they get off to that poor start, everyone, including the media and the fans, wants to question Mike Yeo and his job stability.”
“I think Doug Armstrong seems to be taking a more patient approach. When you see games like you did in Toronto or you see a game, like you mentioned the Chicago game, there’s reasons to believe that it could come together,” JR added.
During struggles, players are expected to show faith things will improve, and the Blues haven’t been any different, but with that they’ve also expressed faith in their coach. One needn’t look any farther for this than Vladimir Tarasenko’s f-bomb after that low-point loss to the Blue Jackets.
“We support him, we believe in him, that’s why he’s our coach right now and we will fu—– play for him so hard. So there’s no questions about team doesn’t believe in the coach,” Tarasenko said at the time.
This was some welcome anger coming from the Blues star winger, whom fans have wanted to see be more aggressive, which they got in Saturday’s win via two goals from the star winger. Would it have been nice to see the Vladdy-fury under circumstances not involving a horrible start and embattled coach? Sure, but it was still nice to see.
New addition Ryan O’Reilly also echoed the sentiment last week, saying: “It’s on us in here. Our system’s good. When we do it right, you see when we dominate games. You can only do so much. It’s got to come from this group of guys in here. We’re the ones on the ice; we’re the ones going into the battles. It’s up to us to push each other and work for each other.”
Bottom line: Vladdy and O’Reilly wanted fans and media to know Yeo hadn’t ‘lost the room.’
“It wasn’t a situation where they weren’t playing for him whatsoever,” JR said. “I think it was a situation where there were high expectations for the team, and you talk to people within the organization, and they felt like there probably could have been a slow start.
“In talking with some guys (Wednesday) around the locker room, they feel that this is going to make them even tougher or harder as a group going through this; even though it’s not the best thing for fans to go through with their blood pressure.”
You can hear all of Rutherford’s chat below. Stay connected to 101 ESPN for plenty of Blues coverage and talk throughout the season.