The St. Louis Blues wrap up their 2016-17 regular season with an evening game on Sunday before everyone’s attention shifts to the playoffs. Before closing the door on the regular season, let’s take a quick look back at just how bizarre the regular season was. Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the craziness of it all and it’s only when you step back that things fall into perspective.
The 2016-17 regular season was one in which…
- The Blues kicked Ken Hitchcock to the curb and promoted Mike Yeo early. Maybe this move should have been made at the end of the 2015-16 season, but it finally came as the Blues were in a downward spiral.
- Remember the Winter Classic? Seems like ages ago, but that was one of the clear highlights of the year. Unfortunately, a streak of mediocre play followed that huge win against Chicago.
- Jake Allen and Carter Hutton were horrible and that’s being generous. Then, along with the coaching change, the duo took off and became one of the league’s best.
- The fourth line was awesome and contributed some huge goals. They shed the fourth line label and gave the Blues two solid third lines.
- Doug Armstrong gave Patrik Berglund a significant extension.
- Magnus Paajarvi transformed from a joke into a legitimate offensive threat. His shift into a real contributor is a story which may deserve more attention because it was pretty unexpected and may have gotten lost in the shuffle of the playoff push.
- The rise of the youngsters. The injuries the Blues suffered could have been devastating. Instead, the callups all played well and may have earned permanent spots – particularly Ivan Barbashev.
- The Blues were awesome at home which helped mask a road record which straddled the line between average and needs improvement.
- Vladimir Sobotka came back. For real. This isn’t one of those rumors that we all heard for years. The dude actually came back.
And those are just the ones which first came to mind.
So many big and significant moments happened in 2016-17 that it was difficult to remember them all and difficult to appreciate each moment on its own merit.
In a normal year, the firing of a head coach would be the dominating story. Same can be said for the Winter Classic, the ascension of so many young players or the fact the team’s goaltending was a disaster early in the year. Instead, with so many big stories popping up so quickly and so frequently, the year turned into a blur and it will only be when the dust settles that the 2016-17 year’s ridiculousness will be truly appreciated.