Blog Entry

Blues take over top spot in NHL

Posted on: March 8, 2012 10:43 pm
BluesBy: Adam Gretz

One of the most incredible stories of the NHL has seen has been the rapid development of the St. Louis Blues, especially since Ken Hitchcock took over for Davis Payne behind the bench earlier in the year.

Thanks to their 3-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night, combined with the New York Rangers 3-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators, the Blues took over sole possession of the top spot in the NHL standings with 93 points, and it's not a stretch to say that nobody saw them coming at any point this season.

Entering this season there weren't many expectations for the Blues, and they had made the playoffs just once in the previous six years, getting swept in the first round of the 2008-09 season by the Vancouver Canucks. And now they're in a position to be contending for the Presidents Trophy (which goes to the team with the best record at the end of the regular season), something they've won just one other team in their existence, taking it during the 1999-00 season.

In recent years the Blues have had a pretty strong collection of young talent, and this season everything has come together for them and they've been, by far, the best defensive team in the NHL, allowing fewer than two goals per game. Entering Thursday's game the Blues had allowed just 1.88 goals per game on the season. Since the start of the 2000-01 season, no team has finished a full season allowing fewer than two goals per game.

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Since: May 18, 2009
Posted on: March 9, 2012 8:20 pm

Blues take over top spot in NHL

Ahh, anyone remember the last time a President's Trophy winning team won the Stanley Cup? Detroit back in '08. Before that, Detroit in '02. That's 2 in the last 10 years. Like always, it's not a guarantee for the most points being a good thing. Mind you, this is happening while the Wings have over a third of their lineup being injured and not playing. Ya I'm a Wings fan, so what! lol.

Since: Oct 21, 2006
Posted on: March 9, 2012 7:03 pm

Blues take over top spot in NHL

The blues are 37-11-7 under Hitchcock. What the hell are you talking about 'doing well over the last third of the season'? 55 games is just a 'flash in the pan'? I'm not annointing the blues the gods of hockey here, but your argument is horrible. Blues have been very consistent since Hitch has taken over. I agree, well see if the blues can handle the playoffs, but this isn't some fluke of a season. STL has been building this team for 6+ years now and its finally coming together. Start getting used to the blues consistently at the top of the NHL, along with the Preds. Great rivalry about to become a phenomenal one.

Since: Apr 3, 2009
Posted on: March 9, 2012 5:07 pm

Blues take over top spot in NHL

*pigs are flying

Since: Mar 17, 2008
Posted on: March 9, 2012 3:55 pm

Blues take over top spot in NHL

They are a young team, coming together and starting to realize their potential.  Congrats to John Davidson, Doug Armstrong for staying the course.  Checketts deserves credit for bringing this franchise back from the dead.  And no one should underestimate what a good job Larry Pleau did; he worked through all the adversity, drafted well and never rushed the talent to the NHL so they could develop, and gave Armstrong some chips to work with to make the trades for Halak, Shattenkirk, etc.  Hats off to all of them for a job well done !!

Since: Feb 15, 2008
Posted on: March 9, 2012 1:19 pm

Blues take over top spot in NHL

I am not ready to hand the Stanley Cup to the Blues just yet. Yes, they have been doing very well over the last third of the season. Add to the fact that the first thrid was not bad puts them in a good position. The last third of the season makes or breaks some teams, and right now the Blues are one of the hottest teams in the NHL. So were the Bruin and the Coyotes and the Rangers at one point in the season.
My point is this: Let's get to the playoff where they will test their meddle. Only then will we see if there is staying power or flash-in-the-pan power.

Since: Mar 9, 2008
Posted on: March 9, 2012 1:01 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Oct 8, 2010
Posted on: March 9, 2012 12:40 pm

Blues take over top spot in NHL

I concur with hockeyob's theory that the underdog often chokes when under the glare of the spotlight but, honestly, I don't see it happening to the Blues.  I'm re-stating my opinion from way before the all star break that I expect the Blues to make it to the semis.
Considering the Blues were 6-7 when Hitch took the helm and have lost only 11 games since November 6, inarguably, his impact on the team's confidence and style of play has been substantial. No matter what happens in the playoffs, in all probability Hitchcock will be hoisting the Jack Adams trophy come the end of June.

Since: Jun 24, 2010
Posted on: March 9, 2012 10:14 am

Blues take over top spot in NHL

remember not that long ago the blues were rated as having the best young players in all of pro sports, at any level. we are just now beginning to see the outcome from harboring all of that young talent for so long. and it will get even better. we will have the russian tank join the team next year to provide at least 25+ goals and 20+ asst. add that to perron, oshie, berglund, shattenkirk, and petro getting more experience and maturity, and that is the start of a winning tradition that should last at least a decade. who wouldve thought that trading away eric johnson would have improved our defense so much?

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: March 9, 2012 9:58 am

Blues take over top spot in NHL

C'mon Bob... Give credit where credit is due. They are starting to show real maturity. I don't see a couple points changing them, or their approach to the game. Coach Hitchcock won't let them loose the focus they have developed since he took over. Are they truly the best team in the NHL? Probably not. Do they have the most talent? Probably not. Do they play flawless hockey? Nope. But what the do well is play as a team all headed in the same direction, with determination, and spirit. The Blues are growing up, and I think there are quite a few teams in the West that are sorry to see the little boys of the Central Division get past that "awkward teenager" stage they were stuck in for a few years.

I'll be honest, I'm blown away because I never thought the Blues could do this. I think they have a very good team, but nobody predicted the Blues to be fighting for the presidents trophy with around 15 games left in the season.  I don't even think one Blues fan predicted that....

I get what hockeybob was saying though.   There is a massive difference between being an underdog and a favourite to win games or a playoff series.  Back in the day, around 17 or 18 years a go the Wings were called the chokers of the league for doing well in the regular season and losing in the playoffs.  And even to this day people still say it....  6 finals appearances in 19 or 20 years and 4 cup wins isn't enough they say.... Wings do so well every year they should win more often.

That's the pressure that goes along with winning.... that being said I think Hitchcock can keep them focused...... it'll be interesting and fun to see what the Blues do in the playoffs this year.  I'm certain of one thing though, expectations are going to be very high. 

Since: Jul 1, 2010
Posted on: March 9, 2012 8:03 am

Blues take over top spot in NHL

C'mon Bob... Give credit where credit is due.
I wasn't taking any credit away or trying to diminish their accomplishments.   I was only pointing out that the perspective is different from the top.   The Blues have earned that spot.  They've played consistently well and improved in a number of areas as the year has gone on.    No matter what happens at this point, they've had an excellent year and there is nothing to take away.     They didn't get to that spot this late in the year because of some fluky scenario, they are one of the better teams in the league.    Their record proves it.

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