The St. Louis Blues should be playing better, more physical hockey. That kind of goes without saying given their 1-3-2 record, but it apparently needs to be reiterated given the team’s shy play in the tough areas of the ice.
This doesn’t mean dropping the mitts and picking a fight, or playing dirty. This is all about a bruising style of hockey that the Blues should be capable of deploying, particularly with Ryan O’Reilly and Pat Maroon in the mix.
Specifically, the Blues are doing a poor job of making life difficult for the opposing team. That includes allowing opposing forwards in front of the net without punishing them or making them earn their space. This probably relates to the Blues’ current defensive approach that relies heavily on man-to-man marking. That philosophy makes it more difficult to clog the middle and make life hell for anyone entering the zone.
In the attacking zone, the Blues are just bumping off of defensemen instead of delivering heavy checks. It’s been too easy for the other team to clear their zone unscathed.
Perhaps worst of all, you’d expect players to jump on someone who plows into or hits Jake Allen. That hasn’t been the case. Allen has been ran a couple times this season and most Blues players stood around and watched. The same could be seen when Alex Pietrangelo was shoved down to the ice in a sea of players. No one moved. If you’re not going to protect your captain or your goalie, you’ve got some serious issues as a team.
We knew it would take time for this roster to find chemistry with all of the new faces. That extends to players standing up for one another, willing to at the very least face wash someone who is harassing a teammate.
The Blues have time to sort out this mess. It all starts with a new defensive approach and some physical play that makes the other team think twice before entering the zone.