Sometimes, being a Western Conference team is tough.
Take the case of the 2009-10 St. Louis Blues, for example. If geography were a little more friendly and the Blues were in the East, they would've finished in seventh place and they would've made the postseason. Instead, as a Western club, they finished five points out of the playoffs.
Tough break. But things aren't all bad in St. Louis. Two years ago, the youth movement led the surprising Blues to the postseason. While they were likely playing over their heads, as evidenced by the fact that they did miss last year, the experience was invaluable.
Now, a bit more mature, the Blues are looking to make a triumphant return. With help from the boys at St. Louis Game Time, we examine Five Burning Questions surrounding the team.
SLGT: It's a little odd that there's so much turnover and upheaval with the organization and yet there's a popular opinion around St. Louis and in hockey media that the Blues will probably make the playoffs. The Blues could be on the cusp of becoming a contender for a long time. Yet the front office isn't being aggressive. It's frustrating to see the opportunity there and not see a full effort to go after it. Yet.
SLGT: The organization has already put him out front with the TV advertising campaign. He and Erik Johnson were silver medalists with the U.S. Olympic team. He can play a physical game along with scoring goals. If he's not the future captain, and the future better not be far off, by the way, then I really start to question this team.
SLGT: It's an interesting situation where they chose the easy way with Murray where as a group they decided to cash out. There are a number of players who are sold as character guys. Players that do the little things and are good dressing room guys. Some of the veterans who were in charge in that room are now out of the game. You may have heard of one, his name rhymed with Keith Tkachuk. I think at some point the players will realize that their future is tied with the future of Payne. Sinking him sinks them all.
5. Can the Blues be better than Detroit this year? Chicago? Nashville? Columbus?
SLGT: While the Blues weren't the most active team in the division, you could argue they tried to take the best step to improve with Jaroslav Halak, as long as he lives up to his potential. They didn't really dumpy anyone really worth worrying about. They're not old and on the down slope. They didn't have to deal with salary cap issues (that'll be the day). And they have a lot of potential that's hopefully set to mature. Of course I could be dead wrong. It's the Western Conference after all, a meat grinder during the regular season.