Well, at least the parade is free. That could be a soggy party Saturday, but fun. Fans who bucked up figured this was a once-in-a-lifetime deal. If the Hockey Gods allow the Blues to make another deep run, fans may not be quite so willing to mortgage their house to buy tickets.
As I just noted, they made big change last summer when things went bad. They made big moves during the offseason as well. Under Bill DeWitt Jr and John Mozeliak they have made some big plays before. Of course, what happens this summer will depend on what other teams are willing to do. As to their mindset, I don't DeWitt ever broadcasting his intentions they way Phillies ownership did during the offseason. As always, he and his people will try to be opportunistic.
Yeah, fans in Toronto are discombobulated. They'll take the NBA title, of course, but they really want another Cup.
I believe this team is simply not good enough. And I wrote that a few weeks back. In part due to injuries, the pitching has not panned out -- and that was supposed to be the team's strength. There is nothing special about this offense, which is why Mike Shildt has tried to jolt it into motion by calling hit-and-run players and green-lighting steals.
Home court means more in basketball than hockey. At home, basketball players are more comfortable shooting in their home arena and they feed off the crowd. In hockey, road teams can simplify their game and toughen up in the face of a hostile crowd.
They Blues made plenty of dough during this run -- and they also got a big head start on selling premium seats for next season as well.
Maroon is a tough case. The league is getting faster. I am not sure what market will exist for him in free agency. He didn't have a great regular season. And the Blues have a LOT of young forwards. The team had Robert Thomas and Robby Fabbri sitting out at the end of the postseason. Then there is Jordan Kyrou too, and Mackenzkie MacEachern. But clearly Maroon is a key piece of the chemistry here. He wants to play here. So maybe he could stay if the dollars were friendly enough to the cap.
Tough question. In Kerr's case, his coaching career added to his earnings so that's a tiebreaker. Guys like Karl Malone and Charles Barkley would do anything to have multiple rings, but they have lived really well because of basketball.
Well, maybe. There are two distinct types of hockey: Regular season with one set of rules, playoff hockey with another. Teams tend to make free-agent investments with the regular season in mind, since winning enough to reach the bracket is Job One. As for copying the Blues style, I believe a lot of GMs will see this Blues season as an anomaly. I believe many GMs will keep seeking speed.
Then you throw in the fact that Jose Martinez and Dexter Fowler have both scuffled for several weeks in right field -- and Kolten Wong had two bad months as well. Goldschmidt has suffered long power outages. So there are't easy internal answers.
The Blues will be decide which players they can keep under the salary cap restrictions, not which guys to go get. Doug Armstrong made his big plays last summer and lost his flexibility moving forward. So their one realistic player addition might be Jordan Kyrou, seeking production from him while he still earns low entry-level pay.
Backes is in a tough place. He did NOT enjoy getting scratched from the lineup while his buddy Alex Pietrangelo was going for the Cup. And he knew that a buyout might be next -- forcing him to either shop around for a tryout next fall or retire. Again, the game is speeding up.
Since hard body checks have all been eliminated from regular season hockey -- they result in boarding, charging or interference calls -- fans are startled to see the Blues play the body hard shift after shift. Some of those hits were over the top, like Brayden Schenn leaving his skates to crush guys in the Winninpeg series. But the Sharks and Bruins were both guilty of targeting Blues starts with leg-on-leg hits and that is the dirtiest play in hockey.
The owners have no lockout-worthy labor concerns. The industry is booming. Expansion has created a cash influx. A lockout would spoil Gary Bettman's legacy, which looks good today. The CBA could always use a few tweaks, but it is working well for both sides.
Tyler O'Neill is doing a great job of build Marcell Ozuna's value in St. Louis. After a hot start at Memphis, he reverted back to his Poor Man's Randal Grichuk form. And given how little the Cardinals are getting from right field these days, it would be tough to let Ozuna walk. If there was money for Miles Mikolas and Matt Carpenter, then why not Ozuna?
This is not a terrible team, but it's just stuck in so-so mode. The worst element is the offensive inconsistency. Injuries help explain the pitching woes, but the hitters have no such cover. They are falling into ruts for several weeks at a time.
Well, Parayko did take the one penalty. Those who caught my "Net Front Presence" podcast with Jim Thomas before Game 7 heard me warn about trying to play the puck off the glass when it is skipping on bad ice. My warning was not heeded! Otherwise, Colton was fine. The Blues quit pinching in as aggressively once they got a two-goal lead. That is one of 55's strong suits, coming in on the wall to keep pucks in. The Blues D-men stepped back and clogged up the ice instead and that worked well.
I still believe the Chicago Cubs can put it all together. Getting Craig Kimbrel up to speed will play a big part in that.
Before my time the Blues had crazy depth in 1980-81. But that team ran out of gas in the playoffs. This team kept finding ways to improve. When they needed a Next Level performance, they somehow mustered it.
That could have bought you a couple of upper deck playoff tickets earlier in the Cup Final . . .