Monday, April 20, 2009

Future Blues

-As I mentioned on my Facebook page today, I'm not about to get disappointed in the Blues during this playoff series with Vancouver. There's just no sense investing that kind of emotion in it. Sure, I'd like to see them win, but we all know that with this team right now its all about the future. And the future is not yet now.

I'm of the mindset that whatever happens Tuesday night and beyond during the playoffs is a bonus to St. Louis fans. We all know that when we moved from 2008 to '09 there was no believing in a chance for this squad to even make the playoffs. Everyone was talking about what the roster would look like for 2009-10...and was excited about that. So the improbable stretch of games in January, February and March was thrilling and way more cake icing than was expected.

Now, we have the comfort of knowing that even the players that were counted on little to be high-calibre NHL talent have proven we should re-think that. I don't need to name names know who I mean.

The playoff experience alone will be invaluable for our youngsters. Coming back in September for training camp guys like Oshie, Berglund, Perron, Backes, Polak et al will have the experience of a Cup series to draw upon. They will know that its a different game come playoff time. They'll go into each regular season game next year with an understanding of what hockey at its highest level is all about. They'll know that regular season games are simply played to get there...and that's what ultimately really matters. They'll also know that no matter how great they think they are in the regular season... that the level of play there is not where you are ultimately judged in the sport. You must be able to produce in the playoffs or it will follow you around forever...much like it has the Sedin twins up until now.

The job going forward, if anything, becomes more difficult for JD, Pleau, Armstrong and the player mangement personnel. Yes, the pipeline is full of highly thought of prospects. But this now becomes a high-stakes game of sports Monopoly. Who stays? Who goes? Which guys do we see as cornerstone players for the future. Which guys are expendable in return for a veteran who may help us book a Market Street parade in a few years? Which of the young guns about to come to training camp later this year (Eller, Sonne(pic), Palushaj, Cole, Pietrangelo etc.) really have a shot at turning heads in the NHL? Who do you pay the big bucks to stay? Who do you let walk away? The answers to these questions now will be of most interest to me.

So, I'm hoping for the best in '09...but I'll be more concerned about '10-'11-'12 etc.

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