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Patience paid off for the Blues

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13.06.2019

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With the Stanley Cup Final in the books, I wanted to use one last piece to praise the front office of the St. Louis Blues.

We see overperforming and underperforming teams every NHL season. That’s the nature of the beast with what the NHL is today – a hypercompetitive, yet highly random league where win-loss records in smaller samples aren’t always indicative of team talent. One of my favourite niche pieces ever from Phil Birnbaum showed how long – 73 games! – it takes for talent to overwhelm luck or randomness in the NHL standings. Contrast that with the NBA, which needs only 14 games.

There are a multitude of reasons for this (low-scoring games, standings points allocation and the incentive to play for overtime, et al.), but at the end of the day, the win-loss column is what front offices tend to consider when shaping their short and long-range strategies. The Blues’ story has been exhausted at this point: from worst to first, keyed by an unbelievable run from mid-January through the........

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