Adversity, meet the St. Louis Blues. Not only did the Blues suffer one of the worst drubbings in team history (or at least within the 24 years that I've been a Blues fan), but they added yet another name to the list of the walking wounded. Already having to do without Carlo Colaiacovo (concussion), Barret Jackman (knee), Brad Winchester (wrist), and Roman Polak (wrist surgery), the team will now have to do without spark plug T.J. Oshie.
Oshie, if you haven't heard, or didn't read the title, had his left ankle snapped when Samuel Pahlsson of Columbus fell on him. It was agonizing to watch how Oshie just laid there, and how he couldn't put any weight on the leg after being helped up and off of the ice. As fans, we held our collective breath. Then the news came about the break, and how "Osh" would need surgery.
This is really a worst case scenario for the Blues. Already without Perron, and struggling to score, they now find themselves without one of their best assist men, and a real leader on the ice. While Oshie had not exactly been on a scoring spree himself, he was an extreme physical presence, one of the biggest parts of the penalty kill, a demon in the shootout, and great at setting others up.
Word out of St. Louis right now is that Oshie had successful surgery today, and the most optimistic estimates have him missing six to eight weeks. So, it looks like he won't be back until after 2011 becomes official, and even then he won't be back at full strength right away.
It's really a shame. Oshie became an instant fan favorite for his high-energy play, and bone-crushing hits. Personally, I've always liked the kid; he's always reminded me of a hybrid between Scott Mellanby and Theoren Fleury.
So what's next for the Blues?
While the strength of the team this year (at least until last night) has been preventing goals, the offense is in desperate need of some help. It's one thing when defensemen have gone down. After all, that's where the depth for this team is. Several years were spent drafting defensemen with the higher picks. Only recently has the team begun to draft centers and wingers. While Jaroslav Halak has been nothing short of a beast, the trade for him did hurt the depth up front. Lars Eller would've made a suitable replacement, but he's in Montreal now, scraping for playing time.
No matter what way you spin it, the offense needs to step it up. It's been alright up to this point to overlook the relative lack of scoring from Brad Boyes, David Backes, Patrik Berglund, and And McDonald. That can't be the case anymore. These guys are going to have to up their game and get back to scoring like they have in the past, otherwise it's going to make for a very long couple of months.
If Boyes, Backes, Berglund, and McDonald can't rise to the occasion, then GM Doug Armstrong and Team President John Davidson may have to consider making a trade. If that ends up being the case, then hopefully the don't jump the gun, and pay too high a price. The rest of the league knows what position the Blues are in, and they're not going to be sympathetic in terms of their collective asking prices.
The fact of the matter is that this is a very different team without T.J. Oshie. This is gut check time for the Blues, and we can only hope that they're up to the challenge.
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