In a Saturday showdown billed as their most important game of the season, the Blues seized a 2-0 lead at Arizona and retched it away over the final two periods, withdrawing from the competition for an incomprehensible 3-2 loss in another dismal day. After slipping into a coma, the Blues slipped into fifth place, a point behind the Coyotes. This team needs a psychiatrist. Or maybe they need goal scorers. Or maybe they need both.
Remember the Blues’ modest three-game winning streak that inspired a brimful of optimism? Just another delusion. Dismiss it.
Since Vladimir Tarasenko and other injured headliners began returning to the lineup March 6, the Blues have gone 5-10-4.
During this revealing 19-game phase they rank 25th in goals per 60 minutes at all strengths (2.26), 30th in goals per 60 at even strength (1.87) and 25th in save percentage (.894.)
And this is what the Blues are.
Their three straight wins was a spasm. Over the last 19 games they’ve been outscored by 17 goals at even strength. They’ve mysteriously disappeared in the second over this time, getting outscored 21-11. They’ve lost their last five road games. Combined score: 15-6.
The healthier the Blues get, the worse they are, and the proof is embodied in their 3-8-1 record in the last 11 games.
I don’t know why we continue to believe in this idea of the Blues rising up to finally become the team we thought they would be. That’s illogical. The Blues are what they are, and they confirm this unpleasant truth through performance. Since Feb. 4 the Blues are 12-16-5 for a points percentage of .439. That ranks 27th among the 31 teams. This isn’t a slump. It’s reality.
READING TIME 3 MINUTES
Free Dylan Carlson.
In his last 11 games Carlson is batting .306 with a .390 OBP and .556 slugging percentage. Over that time he’s 58 percent above league average offensively in park adjusted runs created (wRC+). For the season Carlson is second on the team to Yadier Molina in wRC+., slugging and OPS. He’s third in homers and tied for third in RBIs and OBP. And Carlson mostly bats 7th in this mediocre lineup? Simply preposterous.
The Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors played a fantastically entertaining game Saturday night, with the Celts prevailing 119-114. The game was highlighted by a scoring duel between Our Town’s Jayson Tatum and Warrior dynamo Steph Curry. After outsourcing Tatum 47-44, Curry embraced the young Boston star on the court. “I just told him he’s super tough, man,” Curry said. “He’s a supreme talent. Supreme talent,” … in his last 12 games Tatum has shot 51 percent overall, made 41.6% of his threes, and averaged 29.5 points, 8 rebounds and 7.5 assists … Tatum erupted for 53 points against Minnesota on April 9 … with Tatum leading the way, the resurgent Celtics have won six in a row and eight of nine.
CBS Sports did a piece on the best eligible 25 NFL players that haven’t made the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Greatest Show star receiver Torry Holt was listed at No. 7. Excerpt: “A seven-time Pro Bowler and member of the NFL’s All-2000s Team, Holt played an integral role on the St. Louis Rams’ 1999 championship team. The league’s leading receiver on two separate occasions, Holt was the Rams’ No. 1 receiver when St. Louis made a return trip to the Super Bowl in 2001.”
The Blues made no moves at the trade deadline, and ESPN.com gave GM Doug Armstrong a conditional C+ grade. “The Blues didn’t improve their team for the short term, thanks in part to the flat cap; or flip players for long-term help,” ESPN wrote. “If this ends up with St. Louis making the playoffs and making noise, then it’ll look like a shrewd move. If this ends up with the Blues missing the playoffs, or just being cannon fodder for the Avalanche or Golden Knights, it’ll look short-sighted.”
Jack Flaherty opens a three-game series in Washington on Monday night. The good: Jack has allowed only one earned run over his last two starts (11 innings.) The bad: the hard-hit rate against Flaherty (43.6%) is the highest of his career in a season. Mildly concerning: Flaherty has averaged no higher than 93.2 mph with his fastball in three starts, and that’s dropped his swinging-strike rate to 11.7, down from his career 13.5% rate.
During the Blues 5-10-4 fishtail since March 6, here are the even-strength goal totals of key forwards who simply aren’t finishing their scoring chances: Brayden Schenn and Robert Thomas have no goals; Zach Sanford and Tyler Bozak one goal; Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz, David Perron and Jordan Kyrou two goals. As for the defensemen Justin Faulk has one goal; Torey Krug has none … your offense is failing when forward Nathan Walker and defensemen Jake Walman and Niko Mikkola have scored more even-strength goals (one) than Schenn and only one fewer than Tarasenko, Schwartz, Perron and Kyrou. A word on Perron; at least he has 8 assists over the 19 games.
The Blues’ loving celebration of the career, life and good times of the late Bobby Plager was beautiful, moving and perfect. Great stories. Laughter. Many teardrops. The speakers who stepped forward to share their fond remembrances presented an ideal balance of sentimentality and humanity, grief and felicity.
If I may …
From the Irish Prayer of the Departed:
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other, That, we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes, we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
The Enterprise Center is the Plager House, and Bobby lives in the rafters, in our hearts — wherever the Blues’ family and fans gather.
Thanks for reading …
Please check out Bernie’s sports-talk show on 590-AM The Fan, KFNS. It airs Monday through Thursday from 3-6 p.m. and Friday from 4-6 p.m. You can listen live online and download the Bernie Show podcast at 590thefan.com … the 590 app works great and is available in your preferred app store.