When the St. Louis Blues beat the Chicago Blackhawks last year in the first round of the playoffs, they thought they had finally gotten the monkey off their back
When Troy Brouwer and the Blues went up 3-2 late in the third period against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 7 of the their first-round playoff series last year, ’Hawks fans everywhere took a big gulp. The Blues had been nipping at heels of the ’Hawks for the past few seasons, and they finally got past their bitter rivals.
’Hawks fans are all too familiar with overcoming a team that had dominated them time and time again. The ’Hawks battled with the Detroit Red Wings for years until they finally got past them in the playoffs. But like the Blues, the Blackhawks needed to learn to lose before knowing exactly what it took to surpass a rival.
But since the Blues advanced past the Blackhawks, they failed to reach the Stanley Cup Final and have changed drastically as a team.
Brouwer who was great for the Blues in the playoffs has since signed a contract as a free agent with the Calgary Flames. The Blues also opted not to sign longtime captain David Backes, who is now in Boston. Alex Pietarangelo has taken his place as captain, which might not be a bad replacement, but the edge the Blues had with Backes as captain seems to be missing.
Next, let’s go over the obstacles the Blues have faced this season that may count them out as a contender this year.