ST. LOUIS, MO
The St. Louis Blues season ended in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals getting eliminated by the San Jose Sharks last week. It was a wild ride for the St. Louis Blues and especially for the fanbase, that grew as the postseason carried on. It was disappointing to see the Blues get this close to appearing in the Stanley Cup Finals and fell two games short. They were 4-6 at home and had the home ice advantage. The Blues just got beat by a better team flat out. The Sharks were more physical and they wasn’t giving the Blues much room to operate. The first two rounds of the playoffs the Blues were flying through the neutral zone creating several scoring attempts, sometimes controlling the puck at even strength and looking as if they’re on a power play. Well not this round. Then center Joe Pavelski of the San Jose Sharks just owned the series scoring 8 points in the last five games of the series. As a whole he has notched 22 points in 18 games better than a point a game with a plus/minus rating of 3.
As the playoffs continue on without the Blues, they have some business to tend too with pending free agents. Unrestricted free agents David Backes and Troy Brouwer, both 32 years of age, and ranked 6th and 9th respectively by Frank Seravalli of TSN top 30 list of NHL free agents. I was also told that the Philadelphia Flyers have eyes for Backes and could offer as much as 25 million for three years. I could see him getting something like that; he had a great postseason and this was the most spirited I’ve seen him play since the 2002 Winter Olympics. Backes had finished with 14 points in the playoffs. He’s someone the Blues can’t afford to lose, but this could be his last chance to cash in. Troy Brouwer was second on the team with 8 playoff goals and he is in similar boat as Backes, we’ll find out in a couple of months how this will play out. Because, the Blues have to think ahead to 2017 free agency too, and head coach Ken Hitchcock contract expires next month.
But, I consider this a good season by the Blues for a few reasons. First, they appeared in only their third conference finals in the last 30 years. They knocked off the defending Stanley Cup and hugely disliked Chicago Blackhawks. Then followed that by beating the number one seed in the Western Conference Dallas Stars. The Blues were able to do this with a roster that had only two players over 20 goals or 50 points. They just ran out of gas. Two straight best of seven series caught up with them. The good that came out of it was the growth of the fanbase which is as diverse as ever. Quite honestly this might not have happened if the NFL was still in town. The Blues playoff run actually made many of us appreciate them more. It’s always nice to have playoffs outside of the baseball Cardinals, who’ve spoiled us so much with long runs into the start of the next hockey season.