Time For Blues to Step In?
Somewhere Allen Iverson can be heard saying “we’re talking about practice”?
The Blues have suspended forward T.J. Oshie for missing practice on Monday but in reality this has little to do with practice.
There’s an obvious problem here and it’s going to take a collective effort from both the team and the player to rectify it.
Somehow the organization must try to determine what’s driving the continuous pattern of irresponsible actions by their marquee player? Whether it’s the issues that took place at the University of North Dakota, forgetting his passport before the team took off last season for Sweden, or missing Monday’s practice, there’s an issue and it’s time for the organization to wrap their arms around it. It actually goes beyond just these instances and the organization is well aware of an ongoing problem.
Does anyone think the other 22 players on the Blues roster want to put up with this? Countless players and members of management have tried to intervene but only to see little results.
I keep hearing the Blues lack leadership in the dressing room. If you think that’s the issue you’re barking up the wrong tree? Many of the veteran players have their own kids and families to focus on. No one is interested in babysitting a grown man who has the world wrapped around his fingers.
This isn’t about T.J. Oshie being a bad person. He’s a great person, but if he doesn’t figure things out off the ice he’ll realize how quickly it can all be taken away.
The Blues and the fans have pumped up his tires so much since the day he arrived he’s almost become bigger than the organization. How are the Blues going to finally deal with it? The organization has been aware of the issues plaguing Oshie since the day he signed his NHL contract.
Any organization obviously prepares internally for how they want to handle these types of situations. Is it time they step away from managing the PR and focus on managing the player?
Oshie has real ability and brings a lot to the table as a hockey player. He may not be a superstar but he’s pretty damn talented. When you have too much fun away from the rink it can stunt to your progression as a player. There comes a time when your focus in practice everyday becomes more about getting through as opposed to getting better.
Is that where we are today?
I was certainly surprised Oshie wasn’t at the rink today to face his teammates and the media. One would think having him at the rink and riding the bike during practice would make more sense than having him sit at home.
If Oshie doesn’t make a change he’s going to realize eventually it all catches up with you. This obviously hurts his chances of earning a long-term deal this summer as he’s set to become a restricted free agent at the end of the season.
There’s been a perception following the Blues around for a few years now and we’ve reached a boiling point. Can the organization show they have the ability to control it and do something about it?
They had no problem embarrassing Keith Tkachuk by suspending him coming out of the lockout when he showed up to training camp overweight. Even last year Patrik Berglund was suspended for a game without pay in the heat of the playoff race.
Word is former Captain Eric Brewer approached GM Larry Pleau telling him he can’t let Berglund get away with missing practice.
Sunday could very well be the last day off of the season for this group. Can Head Coach Davis Payne trust his players by giving them another full day off?
The bottom line is it’s time to grow up and start to be accountable. These guys are no longer kids. Their counted on to carry the organization to the next level and if they continue to hit bumps in the road they will realize how replaceable they are.
There are people in the community, namely former NHL players, who are resources the organization shouldn’t turn their back on. They can help young players get through the ups and downs of playing in the NHL. The Blues might want to think twice about tapping into these resources.
There’s a reason why Oshie was passed over by Alex Pietrangelo and wasn’t given the “A” after the trade deadline. The last thing the Blues need to do is turn their back on a kid if in fact he needs some assistance on fulfilling his responsibility to his teammates and the rest of the organization.
Truly showing you understand the value and privilege of playing in the NHL would be a good place to start.
More to come,
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