Blues Regrouped for Playoff Push

By de Jesus Ortiz, Jose | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), April 9, 2017 | Go to article overview

Blues Regrouped for Playoff Push


de Jesus Ortiz, Jose, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


I drove around the perimeter of Scottrade Center again on Saturday evening after leaving Busch Stadium. Sure enough, I still couldn't find a white flag flying atop the Blues' arena.

Blues general manager Doug Armstrong was right; there was no surrender at 14th and Clark when they traded away defensemen Kevin Shattenkirk on Feb. 27. I was wrong about captain Alex Pietrangelo's and coach Mike Yeo's Blues.

Goaltender Jake Allen has made a liar out of me. Heck, if he continues to play the way he has since Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur became his goalie coach, St. Louis might finally have a Stanley Cup championship parade down Market Street. History is on the Blues' side because when I miss, I miss badly, as the 2005 National League champion Astros can tell you.

The Astros still celebrate my work for the Houston Chronicle prominently whenever they honor that franchise's lone World Series team. Even though the infamous tombstone graphic wasn't my idea and I didn't write that the 2005 Astros were dead, my byline was next to the large tombstone graphic that declared those Astros dead on June 1, 2005.

A team that was on pace to lose 102 games rallied to earn the wild card and then eventually reach the World Series after eliminating the Braves in the division series and the Cardinals in the NL championship series at Busch Stadium II.

Not surprisingly, that tombstone graphic was featured prominently during each Astros playoff game that year. The players never said the stupid tombstone served as a rallying cry. They knew I didn't write the headline or design the ridiculous graphic.

Unfortunately, I have nobody else to blame for the "Blues throw in the towel" column that ran on March 1. I'm responsible for my poor assessment of the suddenly exciting Blues. The blame/credit goes to Pietrangelo and Allen, who have been brilliant while leading the Blues since Shattenkirk was traded.

I regret writing that the Blues must have taken down the white flags "after the entire NHL realized they surrendered by trading Kevin Shattenkirk to the Washington Capitals. No matter how you spin it, the Blues are a tremendously weaker team without Shattenkirk. Even worse, the franchise wasted a tremendous opportunity this season to build off of the excitement they generated with a magical playoff run last April and May."

When you are paid to give opinions, you're bound to be wrong once in awhile. I still think legendary coach Ken Hitchcock was set up to fail when Armstrong let veteran leaders David Backes and Troy Brouwer leave via free agency and failed to bring forward Vladimir Sobotka back from Russia in time for the start of the season.

Sobotka, by the way, finally re-signed with the Blues and joined the club Friday. …

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