It's funny how good teams come together. When everything seems to be going wrong for the moment; when the skeptics, and mainstream media, doubt your capabilities and your ever-precious heart; good teams still emerge.
I would say that the St. Louis Blues had to overcome the same feelings in the 2008-09 season.
As the season began injuries starting changing the Blues line up. The Blues traded a great player Lee Stempniak to Toronto for forward Alex Steen, and defensemen Carlo Colaiacovo.
The Blues were minus Eric Johnson the entire season. They never really had an offensive threat on defense the whole season. They dearly missed Johnson in the season, and playoffs.
But with Manny Legace being sent on waivers. Chris Mason took over, and took control of the last half of the season. Which in turn led their team to finish 3rd in the Central Division, and 15th overall with a record of 41-31-10, for 92 points. That's so much better than last year, when they ended the season with a 79-point record (33-36-13); and did not make the playoffs.
They finished the season scoring 233 goals, and allowing the same of 233 goals. They ended with a 20.45 percent on the powerplay, and 83.42 percent on the penalty kill.
The Blues had many fortunate accomplishments:
- Keith Tkachuk played in the All-Star Game for the Blues, and Patrik Berglund [rookie team] and David Perron [sophomore team] were also invited to the weekend's activities.
- Andy McDonald scored his 300th NHL point on Oct. 13th vs. Toronto
- Brad Boyes scored his 100th NHL goal on Dec. 8th VS. Nashville
- Patrik Berglund scored the Blues 10,000th Franchise goal on Nov. 1st vs. Pittsburgh
- Chris Mason recorded his 16th career NHL shutout on Feb. 13th vs. Chicago
- Keith Tkachuk recorded his 1,000 career point on Nov. 30th vs. Atlanta
- Coach Andy Murray secured his 300th career NHL team victory on Feb. 19th vs. Nashville.
The big surprise for most hockey fans was the fact that the St. Louis Blues made the playoffs. They were noted many times as being the underdog of the NHL.
St. Louis proved many people wrong, and they showed so much to their fans, and their community. These guys are very generous with their time, and they sponsor many charities that have helped many people in the Missouri area. I tip my hats to the team for giving back.
Here's a quick rundown on the team leaders for 2008-09 season:
Goals - Brad Boyes (33)
Assists- Brad Boyes (39)
Points- Brad Boyes (72)
PP - Brad Boyes (16)
SHG -Jay McClement (3)
GW - Brad Boyes (11)
+/- Patrik Berglund (+19)
PIM - David Backes (165)
Chris Mason finished the regular season with a 27-21-7 record, a 2.41 goals-against average, a save percentage of .916, and six shutouts. Despite the 0-4 record in the playoffs, he had an impressive 2.34 goals-against average and .916 save percentage.
The St. Louis Blues 2008-09 season was filled with many players that showed up to win. The rookies proved deserving including names like Patrik Berglund (21 goals, 26 assist, 47 points, and +19 for the 76 games played), and T.J. Oshie (14 goals, 25 assist,39 points, and +16 for the 57 games played).
David Backes was the most surprising scoring threat on this young Blues team. He netted 31 goals which ranked 2nd best behind Boyes (33). Backes was one of the four players (Backes, Boyes, McClement, Jackman) that played the entire 82 games of the season. He finished with (31 goals, 23 assists, 54 points) in the teams Top five shot percentage ranking at 14.9 percent.
Brad Boyes (33), Keith Tkachuk (25), David Perron (15), Andy McDonald (15),and Patrik Berglund (21) kept the Blues scoring. These players all reached 15 goals or more by the end of the season.
Brad Winchester (13), T.J. Oshie (14), Jay McClement (12), B.J. Crombeen (12) also had a huge part in the Blues success. They all had twenty or more points for the season. These guys also provided the well known gritty style play that the Blues have always established throughout the years.
I think its safe to say that next year is a whole new year. This Blues hockey team means business. As they opened up their hearts to hockey fans all around the globe. They play a fast, physical, edgy style of hockey that is contagious with youth. Not to mention they have plenty youth.
I think it's a lesson learned knowing how bad it felt for them to lose in the 1st round of the playoffs. They were fortunate to be their, and their spirits were high.
The Blues organization is aware of the things they need to improve on. They need defensemen that can score like an Eric Johnson. The team has many young players in the minors that will eventually fill these voids. Alex Petriangelo, and Ian Cole will definitely see ice time in a Blues uniform sooner or later.
I send a salute and a cheer out to the St. Louis Blues! They were the most entertaining team to watch this year. They didnt have the 50-goal scorers, or the top-ranked goalie, but they had the biggest heart of them all.
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