Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 12/19/13 at 10:26 AM ET
from Benie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Take 5 on the Blues:
1. No one can explain the Blues' slow starts. The mystery continues. Coach Ken Hitchcock is flabbergasted. The players all say the right things. Everyone vows to get it turned around. But no one can really explain this disturbing pattern. It could be random. It could be a weird stretch. It could be just an example of an extreme fluctuation that's part of a long season. But I think these lethargic starts are creating distrust.
We've seen this act before from the Blues. The lack of effort and urgency. An upset coach. Players saying the correct things … and then repeating the same, unacceptable form. Just the latest tease. When this stuff happens, it brings up the old questions that have dogged this Blues' nucleus for quite a while now: in framing their Stanley Cup chances, is there a legitimate basis for taking the Blues seriously? I really want to. But right now, I can't.
2. A potential problem for the Blues: dealing with the more elite competition presented in the Western Conference. Blame it on injuries, slow starts, goaltending, or disappearing acts by the usual suspects. But the recent trend isn't good, with the Blues losing four of their last five games against Western Conference rivals.
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