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Blues GM praises his team for making the neutral zone “like seaweed”

Mar 16, 2012, 3:31 PM EDT

Doug Armstrong AP

The St. Louis Blues might be first overall in the NHL, but it’s safe to say they don’t lead the league in high-flying entertainment.

The Blues boast a 1.86 goals-against average and could become the first team since the 1955-56 Montreal Canadiens to finish with a GAA below 2.00. They’re also one of the few teams whose games average fewer than five goals.

Wins are wins, however, and St. Louis has 39 of them since coach Davis Payne was fired on Nov. 6 and defensive-minded Ken Hitchcock took over behind the bench.

“They work so well together,” GM Doug Armstrong told the Globe and Mail, describing his team under Hitchcock. “The neutral zone, it’s like seaweed.”

Globe writer Eric Duhatschek calls that “a good analogy, but also a grim way of looking at how they play the game.”

It also begs the questions, is the Blues’ success good for the NHL? Because it’s pretty tough to market a brand of hockey that’s “like seaweed.” (All-you-can-eat sushi nights?)

The Blues’ success is good for the Blues though. Yesterday the team announced it was raising ticket prices 9.8 percent, a move that (by our math) could raise regular-season revenue by over $3 million if current attendance remains consistent. And then there’s all the additional playoff revenue that comes with a winning team.

The risk is more and more franchises, particularly those with limited budgets that can’t afford superstar scorers, copy the Blues’ style and we end up in another dead-puck era.

  1. busieks - Mar 16, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    Clearly you haven’t watched them play… Just because it’s described as “like seaweed” doesn’t mean thier games are bland… They are exciting, and have tense and even joyous moments just every other hockey game. I mean hey, the blues don’t have anyone named Sydney, or Evgeni so the games cant be that exciting, right?

  2. ruffridin - Mar 16, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    Blues and Canucks play boring hockey but they win. Only fans of them find it entertaining.

    • kitshky - Mar 16, 2012 at 5:04 PM

      Canucks play boring hockey … you mean the team that’s 6th in League scoring? Have you watched Van play hockey the last couple years or are you just talking completely out of your ass?

      • haterzgonahate - Mar 16, 2012 at 6:47 PM

        i’m going to go with “completely out of his ass” for $500 Alex

        * daily double sounds *

  3. sknut - Mar 16, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    Its the rub of playing a system that may not always look pretty but gets the job done. If the ref’s would call penalties when they should it might discourage teams from playing a certain way and open up the ice more and bring in more casual fans.

  4. chiadam - Mar 16, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    Winning is winning, but Blues games are horrible. It’s like watching the 90’s Devils: clog up the neutral zone, score under two goals, win.

  5. killerpgh - Mar 16, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    Just be thankful the Lightning and the 1-3-1 trap has not been successful. If it was and 29 other team tried to copy that it would be the end of the NHL.

  6. paperlions - Mar 16, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    Honestly, I don’t know what the GM is talking about….I see a LOT of fore checking and a LOT of back checking….I didn’t know hockey was supposed to played with a “oh well, we turned the puck over, we better just skate back to our end and give up some shots on goal” style.

  7. paledevil - Mar 16, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    The gentleman was speaking about the striking way some types of seaweeds (kelp) move with a synchronicity that rivals any pole dance or nutcracker rendition, LOL whar r ya guys ignorant ? thang of beauty …. hehe could not resist …

  8. haterzgonahate - Mar 16, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    i was still watching hockey during the dead puck era…

    Hockey is hockey, and it’s all strategy. real hockey fans can appreciate that. i think it’s more frustrating to watch than boring… probably because your cheering for the team the Blues are trapping against.

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