Feldman: Cautious optimism abounds with Blues

Feldman: Cautious optimism abounds with Blues

St. Louis Blues Alexander Steen skates for the bench during the first period against the Montreal Canadiens at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on December 19, 2013. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

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by by Brian Feldman, Hockey STL

KMOV.com

Posted on January 5, 2014 at 9:14 PM

Updated Sunday, Jan 5 at 9:14 PM

Make no mistake about it.  The Blues are playing some exceptional hockey right now.  They're off to the best 41-game start in franchise history with 63 points and they've done it lately without their best player - Alex Steen.

But don't let something like this fool you.  There is a different level of intensity in April and May than there is in January.  Playoff hockey just isn't the same.  It's a totally different animal.

And who are we to assume this year will be any different for the Blues right now?

They say this is the Show-Me State.  Well, I can't think of a better example than the professional hockey team is St. Louis that needs to SHOW US something before we believe.  This is a franchise that has never won a Stanley Cup.

Not a one.

So excuse the fan base for being a little bit pessimistic when it comes to the prospects of making a deep run this spring. 

Sure, everything looks great right now.  They're second in the NHL averaging 3.6 goals per game.  The power play is in the top five at 23.4 percent.  The penalty kill is even in the top ten. 

But remember how things change in the postseason.  You can almost use the St. Louis Cardinals an example.  They rarely play great baseball during the regular season for a consistent period of time.  2013 was better but in 2011 and 2012 they hardly resembled anything close to a World Series contender.  But when it came down to it, the Cardinals took it to another level.

The Blues have been the opposite the last couple years.  They're great when things don't matter all that much.  Put them in a pressurized playoff environment in, say, Los Angeles?  Crickets.

I'm not saying this year will be the same.  They look good.  I'm just suggesting a little bit of cautious optimism given the history.

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