Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Blues Limp Into Montreal and Ottawa - Murray in Purgatory - Kariya A Distant Memory

"When this vicious, nine-game road trip began, the Blues were still above .500 (28-27-10) and were 11 points ahead of the NHL's last-place team, the Los Angeles Kings.

As the Blues get set for Game 7 of their trip tonight at Montreal, they are the furthest below .500 they have been this season (29-32-11), and with the third-fewest points in the league (69), they're now just seven ahead of LA. "
There are a lot fingers being pointed in the gateway city. The coach Andy Murray is getting ripped by everyone and the incredibly shrinking superstar Paul Kariya can barely find the arena anymore let alone do anything on the ice.

"Kariya, whose career average is 31 goals and who's coming off 24-and 31-goal seasons at Nashville, hasn't scored since Feb.14 -- a stretch of 16 games. He has registered only five assists over that span.

The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder, who leads St. Louis with 204 shots, has only one multiple-goal game this season, scoring three against Dallas on Dec. 29."

Bernie Miklasz of the Post-Dispatch was writing about the hellish spiral of the Blues back at the start of March when he said this:

"Is Murray losing the locker room? The grumbling is intensifying over Murray's many meetings and other matters. For his part, Murray has publicly questioned the players' effort. This isn't a happy group. The players responded dramatically when Murray took over for Mike Kitchen on Dec. 11, 2006, but the charm has worn off. Since March 3, 2007, the Blues are 34-35-14. Since Dec. 9 of this season, the Blues have the fewest wins in the league. The talent level hasn't dropped, but the morale seems to be sinking. Can he pull his team up? "

Others have noted that Andy Murray-coached teams always tend to fade in the last half of seasons.

Murray is now in that realm of purgatory, between life and death, where the Islanders motivational speaker Ted Nolan, Flyers door opener John Stevens and Leaf stool-pigeon Paul Maurice reside. Chances are they're gonna get whacked but not until the fans and media have ripped every shred of meat off their bones first.

Of all four of those guys, only Ted Nolan and Andy Murray stand a real chance of getting hired elsewhere. Maurice will probably live on in agony for one more year because the organization can't agree to do anything in an expedient manner.

The very stoic (ie. marble statue) John Stevens will end up like John Paddock - NHL roadkill with no chance of resurrection.

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