Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

At the Moment, No Miracle Cure in Blues' Pantry

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

At the Moment, No Miracle Cure in Blues' Pantry

Article excerpt

No Missouri men's basketball team had a date for the Big Dance, the NCAA Division I Tournament.

Now the state's top hockey team may be a wallflower at the Big Skate.

Blues fans have come to take the Stanley Cup tourney for granted. Their heroes have missed the National Hockey League playoffs just three times in the club's 30-year history. The Blues haven't been left out since 1979, a 17-year run that ranks behind only Boston (29 years) and Chicago (27 years). With a month to play, that troika was on thin ice. Boston sits last in the Eastern Conference, seven points from the eighth-place cutoff. In the Western Conference, the Blues are in a tie for sixth after their 3-2 loss Monday night in Phoenix. Chicago is a point back, tied for eighth. Boston and Chicago are on their own. The Blues are the worry for their fans, and there's plenty to worry about. Since coach/general manager Mike Keenan and President Jack Quinn were purged on Dec. 19th, the new regime has been superb off the ice. New President Mark Sauer, marketing newcomer Jim Woodcock, reborn general manager Ron Caron and rookie coach Joel Quenneville have given the team - or what's left of it - back to the fans. If only the Keenan legacy could be reversed that easily on the ice. With the NHL trade deadline at 2 p.m. today, the Blues are between a Zamboni and a hard place. Should they deal for veteran help to seal a playoff spot? The cost would be youth and a higher payroll. Or should they break character, stand pat, protect the future and gamble on the playoffs? Missing the postseason would cost them $1 million per home game. The Blues almost blew their playoff streak four years ago, wobbling into a berth on the last day. A year later, they made the playoffs safely then suffered a first-round cave-in. The club turned to Keenan in desperation. Less than three years later, the club turned him out in desperation. His scorched-ice policy brought the team full circle. …

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