Certain Blues Need to Prove Their Worth, No Matter Who Their Head Coach Is

They’re fixed.

The St. Louis Blues had cured what was ailing them…

Well maybe all of that excitement was a bit premature.

Some in the St. Louis area were ready to declare a resurrection of the Blue Note after back-to-back wins and a 3-2-1 record in their last six games.

Well, if those wins raised them from the dead then what the Minnesota Wild did to them Saturday should be labeled a massacre. Mike Yeo’s former team came into Enterprise Center and made a mockery of him and the Blues with a dominating 5-1 win, while also outshooting them 45-16.

That’s -29 shot differential, which according to @STLBluesHistory on Twitter is the worst shot differential since November 25th, 2008. However, in that game they tied beat the Predators 1-0 in a shootout. (Oh, how I miss shutout hockey)

So, yeah it’s safe to say the Blues aren’t back. They haven’t figured anything out, and from what I saw on Saturday night they barely even have a pulse. 

But as the great Bernie Miklasz said, that result was about as predictable as they come. This team looks to be about as fragile-minded as my mother’s porcelain dishes.

Sure, I have been the first one to take my shots at Mike Yeo this season, and believe he still deserves some blame, but at some point that finger gets directed back at the players. Especially when they are the ones sticking up for Yeo, starting with Vladimir Tarasenko.

“There is no question anyone thinking he not deserved to be here.” Vladdy told Jeremy Rutherford earlier in the season “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.”

Okay, I will take the players’ word for it, it’s not the coach. Then it has to be on the players, right?

Let’s check in with Alexander Steen on that one, as he gave this fine synopsis of Saturday’s beatdown: “I think (Minnesota) outworked us in those areas, made it difficult for us get in, penetrate them inside. And we didn’t have the urgency to get there.”

Interesting, one of the team leaders essentially told the fans they didn’t want to work hard enough to win a hockey game that nearly 18,000 fans paid good money to watch.

Maybe Tom Stillman and Doug Armstrong are right by not pulling the trigger on firing Yeo. I mean why waste the money to make him go away just for this team to quit on another head coach?

There’s so much that infuriates me about this team, that I never know where to really start. So to please the fans that are here to read the Jay Bouwmeester hate…here you go:

Why is Jay Bouwmeester still out there playing meaningful minutes? Why is he punked off the puck in the neutral zone with a trio of Wild players around him, all while Alex Pietrangelo stands alone on the other side of the ice?

Why did it take another awful turnover for No. 19 to get Yeo to decrease his ice time? And why is the coach defending him still after the game?

“The way I saw that play, yes, his job is to skate there. I think maybe he has an option, I think his support wasn’t that great. I’m not going to pin it on one guy there.”

Let’s all be honest with ourselves, if that was Vince Dunn or Jordan Schmaltz who made that turnover he’d still be taped to the bench in the locker room.

However, I digress because there are some mysteries you will never be able to solve, and this team’s problems go far beyond Bouw or Yeo.

It starts with the leadership. Yes, I am looking at you, Alex Pietrangelo.

One year ago everyone who watched Blues hockey was touting “Petro” as a Norris Trophy candidate, as he was putting together a career year. He finished with a career-high in goals (15), points (54), and finished as a +8 on a team that missed the playoffs.

This year he’s gotten off to a dismal start, scoring just one goal, three assists, and recording a -9 through the team’s first 12 games. But as bad as those stats look, they don’t even tell the whole story.

Petro leads the team in giveaways (11), and his passiveness in the defensive zone has led to extra bodies in front of Allen. Meanwhile, his 46.43% corsi rating would rank as the worst in his career, as he has not finished below 50% in any full season as an NHL player.

When No. 27 is not producing offensively, the pressure cooker is going to get turned up on him by the fan base. He’s not a particularly menacing presence in the defensive zone, and when he’s not holding up his end offensively that spells trouble.

“It’s not good enough,” Pietrangelo said after the Blues fourth regulation loss on home ice. “I’m trying to find answers here, right? It’s unacceptable, right? This is a place for years that was hard to play. Now it’s not. We’ve got to get back to that.”

Yes, it is unacceptable.

The Note are 27-21-1 at home since the beginning of last season, which ranks in the lower third of the NHL in home winning percentage. Meanwhile, during their six-season streak of making the playoffs, the Blues’ regular-season home points percentage (.692) ranked third in the NHL, and  they were No. 2 in home wins over that time.

Oh, and yes we do expect the team captain to have some answers. But instead we get the same ole, same ole: “We’ve got to find a way to kind of turn that thing around”…”I think we were too complicated with the puck”…”It’s time to get going”…”Divisional games, we’ve got to win these.”

Those quotes were all a part of Petro’s postgame hit with the assembled media.

How about you just don’t say anything at all…

Again, Petro’s not the only one. Steen gave answers like “There’s not much to say, they just outright beat us tonight.”

Hmmmm…so I guess we can expect you to give back part of that $7 million in base salary you’re making this season, right Alex?

I guess you’re -7 rating and 47.04% corsi rating is acceptable. I mean after all, the four goals in 12 games is as many as you scored in the final 30 games of last season.

I know, I know…It’s the coach holding you back. Just like Ken Hitchcock. And this coach is rewarding you with 17:30 minutes of ice time per game.

Finally, has anyone heard from the golden boy Jaden Schwartz? Better yet, has anyone seen him?

Night after night, I read through the post game comments and read guys like Pietrangelo, Steen, Patrick Maroon, and even Tarasenko standing there answering questions from the media. However, one name I rarely read is Mr. Schwartz…The one guy we can’t wait to fluff up when things are going well.

I mean how many times have we read about how much better the Blues are with him on the ice vs. him off the ice?

You read things like “warrior.” “rink rat,” “the key cog,” “relentless,” etc. So did I miss the news? Has he been hurt this season?

***Quickly scrolls the stat sheet***

Oh, nope he’s been out there for 10 of the 12 games, as a matter of fact he’s been out there for the five games that the team has allowed 5 goals or more in.

But wait, that has to be a mistake; Schwartzy is a Selke Award candidate. He’s one of the best two-way players in the game. The numbers can’t be true.

Maybe it’s just bad luck? I mean Schwartz does lead the team in Corsi rating, and he’s only -3 unlike that worthless Tarasenko, who is a -8.

Funny, how that works.

Don’t dare mention the advanced stats when it’s No. 91 struggling, and remember, “You create your own luck.” That’s why Tarasenko doesn’t create enough good luck, because he’s lazy.

However, the “counting numbers” don’t lie. Schwartz’s one goal in his first 10 games to start a season is his worst start since his first full season in the NHL. This is also the first time he’s been a -3 or worse in the first 10 games since that 2012-2013 season.

Do I really think Schwartz’s 4.8% shooting percentage is going to hold? No, but it does prove the hypocrisy we hear and read in this town when it comes to who gets a free pass on this hockey team.

The fact of the matter is there are a handful of players who were a big part of getting a future Hall of Fame head coach fired, and now they’re on track to getting another head coach fired.

Whether Yeo deserves to keep his job or not, it’s time for this team to put away the tough guy talk, and either prove their worth or get shipped out like some of the other “independent contractors” did.

More: 5 Changes the Blues Should Consider Now to Help Turn Things Around