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Blame it on some fantastic competition in the Western Conference or not, but the St. Louis Blues must have an empty feeling after dropping four straight games to lose to the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 in their first round series. Let’s take a brief look back at their season.
- Here’s the synopsis before we get into the details: the Blues enjoyed another exceptional regular season only to fall in the first round for the second season in a row.
- Some won’t care about context, but they lost to the eventual champions in 2012 in the semifinals, those same Los Angeles Kings who were defending champions in 2013 and the current defending champion Blackhawks. Maybe that earns a little leeway?
- The Blues lost 10 of their last 12 games and gave up a 2-0 series lead. Fair or not, there will be some who will throw around the word “chokers.”
- After being patient with Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott, the Blues bet big on Ryan Miller. While he started off hot after that trade, the ultimate result was mediocre results in the regular season (10-8-1 with a .903 save percentage) and a pretty poor finish. The Blues out-played the ‘Hawks heavily yet Corey Crawford topped Miller in Game 6.
- This is probably bad news for the Buffalo Sabres, too, as they lose out on a first-round pick under most circumstances. (Read more about the in’s and out’s of that here.)
- The Blues were a dominant team for much of the season, but they sagged heading into the playoffs thanks to injuries and other concerns. PHT asked if the Blues could get back on track and the answer appeared to be “No.”
- There are plenty of questions about where the team should go from here. Ken Hitchcock isn’t getting any younger, which has to be a consideration even for a head coach. Most obviously, the biggest question is in net; Miller may opt for a team like the Anaheim Ducks while Brian Elliott is an unrestricted free agent. Where do they go from here?
- Much of the Blues’ core is in place and is fairly young, so GM Doug Armstrong may lean toward tweaking his setup rather than blowing everything up (especially after signing Alexander Steen to a big extension).