Andy Murray is out. Davis Payne is in. Scratch “coaching change” off of your checklist. A change in headcoach is a major shift for a team, but odds are good that we won’t just see a new face behind the bench, but possibly some new faces and roles on the bench itself.
Davis Payne’s debut was a rough one with another huge defeat against Chicago, but it seems unfair to pin it on him. He had just a few hours to introduce himself to the team before they took on the Blackhawks that night. The first period brought a welcome wave of intensity and spirit, but unfortunately faded away as the game wore on.
A coaching shakeup came as no surprise to fans, but this likely wasn’t the last major move we will see this season. In case you haven’t noticed, the Blues are sitting at the midway point of their season with 41 games played out of the scheduled 82. No point in sugar coating it – things haven’t been pretty.
17-18-6 (40 points) – 12th in the Western Conference – 11 points out of a playoff spot.
11 points. That’s what lies between the Blues and the current 8th place team the Los Angeles Kings. Aside from 11 points, three teams lie between the Blues and their goal – Detroit, Dallas and Minnesota. Remember not too long ago when the gap was cut to four points?
For the fan and observer that has watched the Blues this year, it is obvious that the blame should not be pointed squarely at former coach Murray. At some point, the player’s share as much of the blame as he did/does.
Possible Trade / Roster Moves
That brings us to big change numero dos: a shakeup of the roster itself. Seemingly no player has been consistently solid or reliable this season. Just like the team itself, the roster has seen it’s ups, downs and stretches where different players disappear entirely. It seems like it is only a matter of time before either a trade or some other move gets the gears of this team in motion.
As I write this, Bob McKenzie reports through his Twitter account that the Blues have placed Yan Stastny on re-entry waivers. This move doesn’t signal any moves, but likely is to fill come as a response to Keith Tkachuk’s scary puck off the face moment late against Chicago.
However, as Payne adjusts and learns what exactly he is dealing with, don’t be surprised to see the team wheel and deal in the not too distant future. The change in head coach was only step one.
Payne brings a new system to this club and it will take time for the players to adjust to a new coach. It seems inevitable that some of the players that worked and were useful under the Andy Murray coaching scheme will simply not fit into this new scheme. Who exactly is anyone’s guess, but word is Payne’s approach is a much quicker, higher paced one so let your mind wander as to who couldn’t fit that bill.
The fans have called for it for some time and it seems like it is only a matter of time until the call is answered – Eric Brewer is not the ideal candidate to be the captain of this team. While I think he can be a solid option at defense, he simply does not seem to be a leader of this team. Granted, this is purely based off what we see on the ice, so he may in fact be a great leader off the ice. However, if it was my decision, I would shift the captaincy to a new face – possibly David Backes. A younger player that shows more spirit and determination may fit the bill better as captain than Brewer.