Mike Claiborne

So you think the Blues are a playoff team.  Really?

Just kidding. I think they are a team that can make the playoffs, but don’t we want more than four more games?

Now I may be getting ahead myself here, but I think the Blues have a lot of work to do. More work than some of you think.

Oh, I get the buzz — and winning at home is cool — but Ken Hitchcock hit the nail on the head a couple of weeks ago when he said the team needed another gear.  While they have been winning, I am not sure if they know how to win… that is, against teams when it really counts. You know…trying to one day beat Detroit and have a back-to-back against another good team.

Let’s start with Detroit for a minute. A Blues pain-in-the-butt from the 90’s. Rival, you say? Not even close.  A rival is a team you win a few…and lose a few against. The Wings realized the Blues had won three games in a row dating back to last year and said: “hold the phone.”

With that, the Wings went back to business as usual and put the Blues in their rearview mirror. This about the Detroit Red Wings just being better. It makes no difference who the coach is.

Scotty has moved on. Dave Lewis did not fare well, but when his team needed to get healthy, there were the Blues on the schedule. And now Mike Babcock has the assignment of making sure the tradition stays intact with Yzerman, Fedorov, Hullie, Shanny, Maltby, Draper and anyone else who wore the sweater. It goes both ways as Hullie, Shanny, Cujo and any of your other favorites came up short.

Lets face it, folks: the Wings have the Blues’ number. What can be done about it?

The other problem is that this team struggles to score. Spare me with the talk that you do not need a goal scorer. The Boston Bruins are what the Blues want to be. Young, tough and the ability to spread the scoring around so they do not have a long drought. Not a bad template to follow.

One problem: the Blues have a lot of work to do. They have to deal with adversity more than what they have done. The old line of “we just have to go out and work harder” has been around as long as they have been skating on ponds in Canada. Ask yourself the question of what team that wins that doesn’t work hard.   

Only they do not have keep telling themselves and the media. They just go out and do it, no questions asked. Enough talk, go play.

 The Blues have work to do. Bad penalties and poor play at the Joe is par for the course — pick a year. The names have changed, but the results remain the same. For the Blues, getting to the playoffs should not be where it stops. Beating the Red Wings in the playoffs has to be the end result. No ifs, ands or buts about it.

So what do you do about it? Ken Hitchcock gives the Blues as much hope as they have had since Joel Quenneville left…and that was three coaches ago.

Hitchcock gets it.  So far, the Blues haven’t.

Mike Claiborne hosts “The Dave Sinclair Ford Sports Hub” weeknights from 9p-12a on KMOX.


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