Statistically, this isn’t the worst start the St. Louis Blues could have had to start the 2018-19 season. It’s a sad state of affairs when that’s what we have to tell ourselves to feel better.
The Blues have stumbled out of the gate to the tune of an ugly 2-4-3 record. Immediately following their game on Thursday against the Columbus Blue Jackets, they’ve allowed the most third-period goals in the NHL (18) and the third-most total goals in the league (36). Their dismal defending has wiped out their decent offensive start (12th-best in the league).
About a week ago, I said that the Blues have to play more physical. That’s an extremely broad thing to say about a team loaded with issues, but it focuses more on the players supporting one another and actually showing some anger on the ice. We all know they need to be better on defense and actually hold a lead when they find one. At the very least, when everything is going wrong, the Blues have to still show some heart and stand up for each other. It’s ridiculous that there are multiple examples of a Blues player getting ran (the most recent being Oskar Sundqvist) and no one doing anything about it. Those examples do a nice job of telling the overall story. The Blues are spineless. They don’t look like a team.
Here’s where we are at after nine games.
Fans feel the same way about watching whatever it is the Blues call their current product on the ice. This sounds more like a team that’s about to start rebuilding, not one that had high expectations to start the season.
Is a coaching change imminent? It may not be immediate, but it’s not far off if this continues. The Blues overhauled their roster. A huge chunk of the players weren’t even on the team last season. There’s no excuse for them to be coming out with the same mental weaknesses that fans have seen year after year.
Yeo recognizes his job is on the line.
Some of Yeo’s decisions have been highly questionable. Why give Jay Bouwmeester important minutes when he’s clearly struggling? Why bench Vince Dunn earlier in the year when Dunn was one of the better defenders? Why does this team always look unprepared? Why do they get rattled so easily? Who do we blame for the lack of punch and the lack of fire on the ice? The answer almost always comes back to the head coach.
Meanwhile, attendance at the Enterprise Center wasn’t exactly thriving to start the year prior to things spinning out of control. These performances aren’t helping. Look for plenty of empty seats (and rows) over the next couple home games.
In a league where making the playoffs and missing out can be decided by a point or two (Exhibit A – the Blues last season), the Blues are digging themselves into an early hole. That’s a big deal, but it wouldn’t feel quite as depressing if they weren’t embarrassing themselves out on the ice.