(Photo Credit: Associated Press)
Get The Power Play Going!
It’s no secret that the Blues are struggling on the power play. Honestly, that’s an understatement. St. Louis is ranked 29th in the league in that category, capitalizing on just 15.5% of their opportunities with the man-advantage. That’s not even close to good enough. In my opinion, the coaching staff is to blame just as much as the players that are on the ice. This is a trend that needs to change quickly if the Blues want to make a legitimate run into the post-season. It’s crunch time.
Ranked Among Others
The Blues have scored a total of 180 goals in 66 games played. That’s good for 23rd in the league. Also, the Blues rank just 25th in goals for per game, averaging 2.68. Winning close to 57% of their games; The club sits in the middle of the pack at 16th when it comes to point percentage. The Blues may be struggling on the power play, but there’s much room for improvement for 5 on 5 play, too.
St. Louis does have one thing going for them and that is the penalty kill. They’ve actually been able to kill 81.5% of their penalties. That’s good for 13th among other teams, but it’s not far off from the San Jose Sharks NHL leading percentage of 84.7% either. Most of the time the Blues are scored on, they’re at full strength. That’s not easy to accept when a club is so good shorthanded. It just doesn’t add up.
At The Faceoff Dot
So far this season, the Blues have won 50.3% of their draws. I feel this number will drop since Paul Stastny is gone. He was a very important piece of this team when it comes to winning big faceoffs. Lately, Mike Yeo has been having to put 4th line center, Kyle Brodziak, out there for big draws when he’s able to. Unfortunately, the Blues are thin up the middle. I see it eventually taking it’s own toll on this club. Draws are an important part of the game.
I want to point out that I’m very embarrassed. We all watched Blues Captain, Alex Pietrangelo, get completely disrespected by Dallas Stars Captain, Jamie Benn. I personally think it’s completely unacceptable that Alex did not retaliate. I understand that he’s not looking to go to the box, but there’s a line that you do not let an opponent cross. Blues fans everywhere are very disappointed in what they saw.
Alex simply laughed at the incident. Brayden Schenn, however, did have words with Jamie. I think that particular situation really said a lot about the St. Louis Blues leadership problems. I’m a big fan of Alex Pietrangelo as he is a very skilled player, but there are certain responsibilities that come along with wearing the C. One of those responsibilities is to not only stand up for your teammates but to stand up for yourself and the logo on your jersey.
The Blues have lost 31 of 66 games. To be honest, it’s getting scary for St. Louis. They’ve dug themselves quite a hole. With a goal differential of just +4, I have a hard time believing that this club will do any damage if they do make the post-season. That is unless they have some magic switch that they can flip. It’s definitely possible this team can get hot, but it might end up being too late by the time they do.
Alex Pietrangelo must lead by example, and not just with his stick. I am not sure it’s necessary to strip Pietrangelo of the Captaincy. I just feel that he is having some growing pains. Blues fans aren’t used to not having a tough captain. I know I’m not. As far as leadership goes, I’m confused just like everyone else. I’m in Alex Pietrangelo’s corner, but sometimes I consider that his example might not be good enough across the board. I do feel he meets most of the requirements.