Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Blues Lose, but the Future is Still Bright

Posted By on Wed, Apr 22, 2009 at 7:13 AM

Okay, so it wasn't all that surprising, to see the Blues get eliminated last night. You get down three games to none, and you're going to get eliminated. It's just going to happen. I was hoping that they could avoid the sweep, but it wouldn't have mattered anyway. The Blues were toast. 

It was, however, more than a little sad to see, not only because I now have absolutely no interest whatsoever in watching any more hockey games, but because the Blues finally played their game last night. 

I wrote yesterday about how tentative the Blues looked, how they looked downright scared of making a mistake. They played back on their heels, letting Vancouver dictate the tempo and tone. In short, the Blues didn't play what we've come to know this season as Blues Hockey. 

Last night, they finally did. They crashed the net on Roberto Luongo consistently all night long, forcing him to make save after save, putting traffic in front and attacking, always attacking. The net result? Well, Luongo did what great goalies occasionally do: he stood on his head and stopped everything that came his way. 

In the end, though, I can stand to lose like that. Luongo is the top goaltender in all of hockey (Martin Brodeur be damned; he gets caught out of position handling the puck way too often for my taste), and he played like it. You play your game, and you get beaten, hold your head up high. Tip your cap to your opponent, and go home proud. It happens. The way the Blues played in the first three games of this series is fit only to serve as a lesson as to what happens when you forget who you are. The way they played last night, they can look at that game and have no regrets. 

So congratulations to the Blues. They made an historic run to make the playoffs when everyone had written them off. This is a young team, just now on the rise, and there will be better days ahead. Congratulations also to Andy Murray, who was recently named the Coach of the Year by Phil Esposito on his radio show. (It's funny, but that sentence somehow makes it seem like not a real honor at all, when it actually is.) He's probably the favorite to win the Jack Adams award as well, which is the official NHL coach of the year award. 

At the very least, the Blues and their ownership can be proud of one thing, if nothing else: after the lockout, and the awful end to the Laurie ownership era, and a couple years of truly brutal play, hockey is back in St. Louis, and in a big way. 

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