Feldman: What can make this year different for the Blues - KMOV.com

Feldman: What can make this year different for the Blues

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St. Louis Blues David Backes raises his arms after scoring a goal against the Edmonton Oilers in the first period at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on January 13, 2015.    Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI By BILL GREENBLATT St. Louis Blues David Backes raises his arms after scoring a goal against the Edmonton Oilers in the first period at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on January 13, 2015. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI By BILL GREENBLATT
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (HockeyStL) -- Forty six games into the 2014-15 season the Blues are right where they usually are in the standings.  High up.  Only Nashville and Anaheim can stake a claim of having more points than them in the Western Conference.

If the postseason started today the Blues would the #3 seed in the West and hosting a 1st round series.  They’d be favored.  Expectations would be high.

But we’ve been here before haven’t we?  Every single season we find ourselves asking the same question over and over and over again.  Why is this season going to end up any different than previous ones?  Why are the Blues going to make a run in the playoffs unlike past attempts?


Which team poses the biggest threat to the Blues' Stanley Cup chances? Share your thoughts.


Experience is a big part of it.  The recent play of Brian Elliott is another.  The unquestionable stardom of Vladimir Tarasenko is yet another.

You’d have to imagine this team has learned – or they better have learned – a lot from their past failures.  Losing to the Kings (twice) and the Blackhawks in the playoffs the last few years better have struck something within them.  It’s one thing to make mistakes and not achieve your goals.

It’s quite another to make mistakes, not achieve your goals and not learn from it.

The experience factor is huge here.  This isn’t a young team anymore.  Sure there are some young players.  But David Backes (30), Jori Lehtera (27), Paul Stastny (29), Alexander Steen (30) and T.J. Oshie (28) are well within the peak years of their respective careers.

Every single one of them, save maybe Lehtera because he’s been in Russia before this, has gone through some awful postseason experiences.

Learning from that will go a long way in determining the direction of this franchise.

The other is the play of Tarasenko and Elliott.  A fast way to win is to get dominant goal scoring from a super star and dominant goaltending.  That’s about as good of a combination as you can.  We all know the pure talent Tarasenko has and what he brings.

Twenty four goals and 23 assists in 46 games is pretty darn good.  

That was about as future-saving of a 1st round pick in 2010 as the Blues have made in its history.  Without him the future looks far different that’s for sure.

Elliott is another wild card.  Is this the real Brian Elliott?  Is this the guy that’s going to continue playing like this for the next few months?  Or is this just a nice hot streak before everything regresses to the norm?

If the Blues – and Elliott – knew he’d be rocking a 1.86 goals against average and a 93.0 save percentage at this point in the year (albeit after missing several weeks with an injury) he’d be making far more money than he is right now.

Elliott’s current GAA is far above his career rate (2.43 to 1.86).  Does that mean at age 29 he’s finally turned the corner into a dominant goalie?  Or is this just a nice run by a nice goaltender?

That will go a long way in how the Blues play in the 2nd half of the season too.

So…experience…Tarasenko…Elliott.  Those are the three keys for me in finding out whether this season will be different than seasons past.

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