Is History Repeating Itself: St. Louis Blues Begin to Stumble in Homestretch
Since the inception of the St. Louis Blues fans have cheered their team on throughout the regular season and into the playoffs only to feel bitter disappointment. Generations of fans have had the expectation that this will be the year the Stanley Cup finally makes its celebratory pass through the streets of St. Louis.
St. Louis Blues’ fans are without a doubt some of the best and most loyal in the NHL and their support of the organization and individual players is unwavering. The big question on every fan’s mind is can the Blues pull it off and bring home the Cup or is history going to repeat itself?
Last season, they were on track and looking excellent until the fateful trade that sent the team into a tailspin. Die-hard fans will know exactly what I am referring to here, but for those sitting there with a question mark on their forehead, the infamous Miller trade. The team faltered and fell flat the last few weeks of regular season play and then fizzled in the playoffs.
This season, things were looking just as great until lately. It seemed that for a time things were working well for the team and they were posting solid wins. Then something shifted and there was a look of uncertainty surrounding the team. We have entered the homestretch and once again the Blues are showing signs of stumbling.
The signing of Martin Brodeur created a buzz among the fans and many wondered if the young goaltender, Jake Allen would be passed over once again. But once Brian Elliott returned healthy and ready to prove himself as the number one netminder in St. Louis, Brodeur announced that his career may be over. After much hype by the media, Brodeur announced his retirement and joined the front office of the Blues. Thus alleviating the three goaltender situation that head coach Ken Hitchcock was facing.
Now, with the playoffs looming and Jake Allen posting solid numbers the Blues are in a position of trying to keep their number one goalie, Brian Elliott, motivated and strong. Elliott has playoff experience, but he also has playoff disappointments. It will be interesting to see how hungry he is and if he can mentally stay focused for a strong run.
Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk was injured February 1, 2015 against the Washington Capitals. After abdominal surgery, Shattenkirk has had a long road to full recovery. The overall attitude that Shattenkirk brings to the locker room and on the ice is irreplaceable. He was having a knock-out season and hopefully he can get his momentum back and help propel the Blues farther in their playoff run. Now that Shattenkirk has returned to the lineup, everyone expected magic to happen. That was not the case in his debut against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Blues fell to the Blue Jackets 4-2.
With fans awaiting the return of Shattenkirk and watching the Blues begin to falter and stumble, many are wondering if this is the beginning of the end. There is not the same sense of urgency throughout the city as there has been in years past. I have to wonder if that sense of playoff urgency is lacking because of all the unrest that has been occurring throughout St. Louis or if fans are just getting tired of expecting too much from their beloved team.
It may just be that the dream of seeing the Stanley Cup paraded through the streets is a dream that will remain unfulfilled for another season.