As the long winter of our discontent comes to a close and the NHL season finally gets underway, it is time to consider where the St. Louis Blues are going from here. All during the lockout of 2012, I had a hard time thinking about hockey and how my team would do, because I did not know if such thoughts would be in vain. I was frankly amazed that they managed to pull it together at the last second. Now I am free to think about it I am happy to say, so here is why I think the Blues improve even more this season and win the Stanley Cup.
The Blues finished second in the Western Conference last year with an astonishing 109 points. They took the NHL by storm and are predicted by The Hockey News to win the Western Conference. Will they maintain and surpass what they achieved last year? The answer is a resounding YES. This team has changed very little from the defense heavy, corner battling, young and energetic team of last year. Furthernore they should have key injured players like David Perron, Andy McDonald and Alex Steen to chip in on offense in a way they were unable to last season. Add that to the incredible goalie tandem of Jaro Halak and Brian Elliot and you have a recipe for even greater success. Young Russian phenom Vladimir Tarasenko is also starting the season with the Blues and he has made a reputation for scoring in the KHL. Of course, it remains to be seen how he adjusts to the NHL game, however he could be a key factor for this Blues team. Perhaps the summation of Blues Coach Ken Hitchcock can enlighten us on this matter:
"I think you score in the NHL by committee. The formula for winning is the same. It's three competitive center-icemen, good depth on defense and great goaltending. That what wins in the NHL. You look at all the teams that did well this year, that's what they've got. We've got it within our group."
I guess we will see, but for Blues fans now is the time. Go Blues!