And for that fans ridiculed him. The fact he was playing hurt was well-known.
If he plays like he did in San Jose for the rest of the season he could be an asset. Of course, if he does that the Blues will want to keep him. He is at a prime age and his contract is moderate. He is a middle-of-the-pack NHL goaltender right now, but there is a lot of failure out there these days. Assessing trade value at that position is impossible because it is more unsettled league-wide than I can ever remember it.
Poor Mike Yeo is trying to scrounge up just two scoring lines, never mind rolling four lines. So he is asking Tarasenko to prop up Barbashev. Meanwhile, in Winnipeg Stastny is flanked by Ehlers and Laine. What a difference with those two teams. Winnipeg has Wheeler, Scheifele, Little, Perreault, Kyle Connor . . . that is some show there.
As I mention every week and have explained numerous times in stories, the peak time for the Blues could be 2019-20. That allows time for some young forwards to develop into productive players while still on entry-level deals, which is gold. That also allows time for contracts to cycle our and other trades to occur before Pietrangelo and Schenn get raises on their next contract.
I don't see a whole lot of sugar-coating of those late-season downturn. The failures have been well-chronicled.
The team collapsed, management through in the towel for this season and guys are just playing out the string. Tarasenko has been more engaged than some of his teammates, but even at his best he won't have the in-you-face style of a Crosby or Ovechkin.
With the Blues likely to miss the playoffs, that likely closes the door on the kids in junior. As for Kostin, he won't play in the NHL until he can become an impact player in the AHL. First things first.
NFL in St. Louis. It is never coming back. Missouri is relevant in basketball again and the Blues have been one of the more consistently competitive NHL teams in the recent cap era.
Assessing the staff will be an interesting process after this season. The power play never worked, so that tactical piece must be addressed. The team's effort just sort of faded away. So that will be addressed too. Will a staff shake-up suffice or will a head coaching change occur. I'm not a big fire-the-coach guy, but downturns this severe are telling -- even when injuries are factored in.
The plan is in place and Armstrong will around to execute it. He will need to make a few more changes than expected with his veteran group, but otherwise the course has been set. As for Yeo and the coaching staff, there could be adjustments there too.
This hockey can do that to you!
Again, there will be hard evaluations to make. The fact the team must hire a minor league staff plays into this too, since somebody on the current NHL staff could be involved in that.
Yeah, Allen and Hutton would win with the Predators and Lightning because those are highly talented teams. So are the Jets. The problem all season for the Blues has been a lack of offense. I believe it's more that -- using placeholder guys in key roles game after game -- than a personal character flaws.
As far as guys taking the guy in front of the net, it depends where the puck is. The coverage shifts accordingly. Job on is to play the puck. Check the guy, block the pass, block the shot, whatever can be done to break up the play.
Stillman approved the rebuilding plan, which takes time. So he locked Armstrong. If the Blues let Armstrong go, he could be working elsewhere the next day.
Kovalchuk will be interesting. Martin Brodeur has a pretty good line on him. That could be a nice free agent pickup if he has some miles left. Jagr came back from the KHL and was great for a couple of years.
Of course. 2-0 could be 8-0.
And he is just a kid, so the Blues can only hope he takes his struggles to heart and comes back determined to play at the pace needed to stick with the big team.