KMOX – The only thing standing between the St. Louis Blues and what could be an exciting second half and playoff run is luck. With that luck comes the most important thing and that is health. If the St. Louis Blues are lucky enough to not just get healthy, but stay healthy, they could have one of the more memorable seasons in a long time.
As the “2nd half” begins tonight at home against the LA Kings, the Blues are awaiting the return of Alex Steen and Andy McDonald. Kent Huskins is also getting closer to returning. Steen and McDonald will return and find themselves in a top 6 role. Who sits when Huskins, a Stanley Cup Champion, returns? The result is depth at forward that would create difficult match-ups for anyone in the league, and more importantly, internal competition. The internal competition created by a healthy group will keep the Blues sharp in the second half. Players will be self-motivated for the limited amount of quality ice time and internal competition works. That competitiveness in practice will pay dividends on the ice.
Health has been an issue for the Blues for a long time. Key injuries to guys like Fuhr, MacInnis, Pronger, the flu hitting the entire team in Vancouver, and more have kept the franchise from long playoff runs. Doug Armstrong has built a team with good NHL depth and it will continue to be tested. The Blues play 20 of their final 33 games on the road and the Blues position in the standings means they will be the hunted rather than the hunter. This Blues team has been growing and developing for a few years and they are about to find out just how nasty it can be to stay at the top as a season wanes on.
Since Ken Hitchcock took over this team has been on a run. It has been entertaining and fun to watch. Imagine how much more fun and entertaining it will be if the Blues are lucky enough to have a healthy team for a long stretch of time. Fans are excited. The team and players know that they are in the middle of something big and potentially very good. They key to that success will be a predominantly healthy group. And to stay healthy in the NHL, a bit of luck won’t hurt.