Greeting Kings fans! Jesse Cohen from All The Kings Men here!

I’m not much of a beer drinker. When I think of beer I think of beer commercials. When I think of beer commercials I think of  Budweiser. When I think of Budweiser I think of St. Louis. When I think of St. Louis I think of the Blues. When I think of the Blues I think of abject playoff failure.

The Blues were one of the six teams, including the Kings, added to the NHL in the 1967 Expansion. One of the 12 active NHL teams to never win the Stanley Cup, they made it to the Stanley Cup Final in their first three seasons and were swept in each of those appearances. Of the other 11 teams, 7 entered the league after 1990.


When the Kings and Blues faced each other in the 2012 Playoffs, it was said that the two teams were mirror images of each other. Both teams had prominent young defencemen taken in the 2008 NHL Draft, both had young American born captains, both teams had fired their coach during the regular season, both played  a defensive style of hockey (ranked 1st and 2nd overall in goals allowed) and both benefited from strong goaltending. The nature of that goaltending is where the differences begin to become more obvious.

By the time the Kings and Blues faced off in 2012, Jonathan Quick had played 266 regular season and playoff games for the Kings. The 249 regular season games he had played would place him 3rd overall in franchise history were he on the Blues. In contrast, Brian Elliott was in his first season with the Blues and had only appeared in 42 regular season and playoff games. Elliott had been signed as a free agent in the summer of 2011 to back up Jaroslav Halak.

After regaining his starting role from Elliot, Halak was traded last season for Ryan Miller. Halak had been acquired from Montreal in 2010, much to the surprise of the Blues starting goalie, Chris Mason. Despite leading the team to the playoffs in 2009 and posting respectable numbers in 2010, the acquisition of Halak, fresh off a remarkable playoff run in Montreal, meant the end of Chris Mason in St. Louis. Mason had been acquired to split time with and ultimately replace Manny Legace. Legace had been acquired from Detroit to stabilize the position coming out of the 2004-2005 lockout lost season. Prior to that the Blues had relied on former Red Wing great Chris Osgood, former Dallas Star Roman Turek, former Edmonton Oiler (and King) Grant Fuhr and… well I think you can see the pattern by now. For a city that’s home to a brewery with a domestic market share of almost 50%, St. Louis has a nasty habit of importing it’s goaltending.

Imports 1

The St. Louis Blues have spent the better part of 15 years trying to “fix” their goaltending to end their struggles in the playoffs. Every two years or so there’s a new solution between the pipes. The Blues have only one goaltender, Mike Luit, in their franchise history to appear in more than 300 games and only one more, Curtis Joseph, to appear in 250 games. Both were draft picks of the St. Louis Blues and bookend a string of 20 years that saw amazing stability in net (1979-1999). Since then, The Blues have seemed pathologically incapable of relying on one goaltender for more than 3 or 4 years.

Despite their constant attempts to bring in goaltenders from outside the franchise, there are two Blues draft picks currently playing goalie in the NHL for teams in playoff contention. Ben Bishop, the starting goalie for the Atlantic Division leading Tampa Bay Lightning, was drafted in 2005. He was traded to Ottawa in 2012 after Brian Elliott’s strong play deemed him “expendable”. Jake Allen, drafted by the Blues in 2008 began the current season backing up Brian Elliott for the Blues.

goalie beers domestic

After a disappointing playoff run with Ryan Miller, Elliot had finally laid claim to the starters role and was putting up the same strong numbers he had as Halak’s backup. Then in late November, Elliott suffered a knee injury. Would the Blues finally trust in a player they had drafted and developed in Jake Allen? Would they weather the storm while Elliott healed and trust the team to carry their young netminder through the bumps and bruises of a full season as a starter? Or would they desperately try and find another available netminder to further muddy the goaltending waters in St. Louis and further delay the development of another domestic goaltender.


Oh brother.





St. Louis Game Time
Frozen Notes



The only thing Jesse Cohen loves more than the LA Kings is talking to strangers about the LA Kings. You can follow Jesse Cohen on Twitter @KingsMenPodcast.