After a disappointing start to the 2011-2012 season, the St. Louis Blues have really changed things around for the better. The once bleak-looking season has turned into a record-setting one. The Blues have faced a number of adversities so far this year, but each time they have come out on top. And they do not appear to be slowing down any time soon.
October was not a very good month for the Blues. With a slow 6-7 start, their performance was less than exciting and caught the attention of management. The Blues hired Ken Hitchcock as the new head coach and have not looked back since.
After beating the Phoenix Coyotes 4-0 on Mon. March 25, the Blues’ advanced their record to 47-20-9 and putting up a total of 103 points on the season. The win extended the Blues’ lead to 7 points over Nashville in the Central Division. Not only are the Blue Notes in first place in their division, but also they currently hold the top spot in the Western Conference. In fact, the team with the most points in the entire NHL is your St. Louis Blues.
So far this season, the Blues have gone 29-4-4 at home and have gone 6-2-2 in the last 10 games. These staggering numbers are due in part to the coaching of Hitchcock, and the other part should be attributed to the men on the ice.
Just as any hockey team, the Blues have experienced their fair share of injuries this season. At the end of December, Alex Steen suffered a concussion, but he finally made his return Monday night. February came with another injury, but this time it was Jamie Langenbrunner. After sitting out for a month with a broken foot, Langenbrunner has returned to the ice.
Andy McDonald has not had a smooth road the last few seasons. A pair of concussions forced him to be sidelined. He finally made his return in early March, scoring two goals in his first game. His stint back on the ice was short-lived. A check into the boards injured McDonald’s shoulder in the middle of March, and he has not played in a game since.
David Perron also suffered a concussion last year. Sitting out and resting for over a year helped Perron heal enough to return to the Blues. Similar to McDonald, Perron scored in his first game back.
With injury also comes success. The Blues signed 19-year-old Jaden Schwartz in March. Critics may have thought he was
rather young to be playing in the NHL, but Schwartz proved he was read to compete with the big boys. Schwartz scored a goal in each of his first two professional starts. No, this does not happen very often, especially for teenagers playing among men. The last player to score in each of his first two starts in the NHL did so in 1992. If 20 years isn’t a big enough gap, I don’t know wha
The once injured and newcomers are not the only ones making a splash on the ice. The tag team of goalies in net for the Blueshas performed remarkably so far this season. The win on Monday against the Coyotes was the eighth shutout for Brian Elliot, which tied Glenn Hall’s record for the most shutouts in a single season. Combine Elliot’s shutouts with veteran Jaroslav Halak’s 6 shutouts this season and that makes 14. This may be simple math, but it is a big deal in the Blues’ organization because it broke the record for the most shutouts in a single season by a Blues duo. Halak is also tied at number two for the most shutouts, just three behind the number one spot.
With only 6 games left this season, the Blues have clinched a spot in the playoffs and hope to make a commanding run at the Stanley Cup. Let’s Go Blues!