Who *are* these people?? (via averagejoe)
Gallagher over on St. Louis Game Time wrote an op-ed that absolutely captured how I feel about the news media and the Blues' playoff push. Go on, keep ignoring it. Keep fawning over how well the Rangers are playing, or keep fixating on that absolutely fascinating race for the final playoff spot in the East that no one seems to want. Go on and promote hits and shots and whatnot on NHL.com, go on and focus on the Cardinals, St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Honestly, the only places that I've seen actually mentioning how well the Blues are playing are fellow hockey blogs (not all Blues blogs, of course) who actually pay attention to the whole league, and not just the usual TV-ready squads from the Eastern Time Zone (and Chicago). Words like "teamwork" and "team effort" always seem to work into these articles, mentioning how Brian Elliott being the Blues' only representative in the All-Star Game was super indicative of how the team is all chugging along together to the playoffs. It's true, you know. The Blues don't have an uberstar like Crosby, or Ovechkin, or Malkin. They don't have *that guy* who captures headlines, or that guy that when he's on the ice you know he's a big, flashy difference-maker.
The whole team is the difference-maker. Unfortunately for the Blues and fans who'd like some sort of recognition, they're also a team's team that plays in a market in the Midwest that isn't one of the bigger cities. David Backes, while he damn well should be, isn't known from coast to coast as a gritty powerforward who leads by example. David Perron, T.J. Oshie, Alex Pietrangelo, and Kevin Shattenkirk are basically unnoticed, especially in Norris Trophy voting amongst press for the latter two. I understand the frustration at them not being the lead feature on NHL Live every day, but as readers on Game Time have noted, this just helps the Blues' awesome ninja skills. Sure, they're under-estimated by fans who don't know about how great they are (and who apparently never look at standings), and they're still a teeny bit underestimated probably by some in the league, but Blues fans know. Oh yes, we know: they're good. They're damn good. And they're coming for you.
What we also know, however, is the history of our team and the fact that the Blues're third on the list for record for the most consecutive years making the playoffs at 25, and have 35 appearances overall. We're aware of the President's Trophy won in 2000, and we're well aware of that sweep by the Sharks. Basically, we're aware of the fact that the team's got a pretty nice history behind it even without a Stanley Cup. Fans were accustomed to success up until the lockout; it's only been the past six seasons where frustration's reigned, except for that one time where the Blues squeaked in in 2009.
That knowledge makes it frustrating then to see the Blues recent success not only treated like a fluke, but like a freak occurrence. When the media does notice what the team's doing, fans get to read things like this:
When the St. Louis Blues were a game under .500 in November at 6-7-0, dreaming about a playoff spot would have been far-fetched. Thinking about being the No. 1 team in the NHL would have been a pipe dream.
But after a coaching change, the Blues have done virtually nothing wrong in four months -- and here they are, atop the of NHL standings.
But even though the Blues are in uncharted territory, they seem to be humbled by the whole scenario.
Ok, good lord, media. Fine, ignore the team -- please ignore them -- because you treating them like perennial cellar dwellers who've finally made good is a bit insulting. These aren't the Bad News Bears. This is a team that could've made the playoffs the last two seasons had they not been near the top of man games lost each of them. This is a franchise that made the Stanley Cup finals their first three seasons. Being first in the league might be new and exciting for most on the team, but it's not for the franchise.
And really, one game under .500 after 13 games does not mean your team's a failure and will finish outside of the top eight. Calm down, NHL.com. I'm not saying cover the Blues 24/7 -- please, don't do that -- but don't imply that they were a bumbling team wandering through the wilderness until Ken Hitchcock came to town. Granted, the Blues don't have the glamor of the Penguins, or the powerhouse status of the Red Wings, but my goodness. Welcome them back to this standing if you're going to mention it at all.
Which, frankly, we'd rather prefer that you not.