By LOUIE KORAC
ST. LOUIS -- Veteran defenseman Barret Jackman just completed his eighth season with the Blues. Read what he has to say after the conclusion to the 2010-11 season:
After a promising start and a terrific finish, why is this team on the outside looking in aside from the injuries you suffered?
I think we had the second-best record the last part of the season. That in-between, the inconsistency killed us again this year. We're past the growing pains, we're past the getting experience for the young guys. We have to translate things to wins now.
Why was this team so streaky? Winning streaks are good, but why did this team struggle to nip losses in the bud?
Everything kind of compiles on each other. The injuries ... you're missing a lot of key guys, whether it's defense or if it's one of our top forwards. Any time you get in a losing streak, the sooner you can snap out of it the better. We just weren't able to do that. We were never really out of games, but we just didn't do enough to win. A lot of one-goal games, two-goal games ... maybe we had a lead at some point in the game that we didn't close out. Things like that kind of put you in the position you're in right now -- talking about what ifs and looking at other teams in the playoffs.
How do you see this team moving forward?
I think our young guys are very talented. I think even the nucleus of older players are driven as much as anybody. A couple guys that have that experience in Conks (Ty Conklin) and Andy Mac (Andy McDonald) that have been to finals that really bring a lot to the table. I'm very excited what we have going forward. We just have to improve that much more through the season to set ourselves up to put us in the playoffs and give that opportunity to really show what this team is made of.
Management will do its part to improve this squad. What do the players have to do to bridge that gap between the outside and one of the 16 teams fighting for the Stanley Cup?
Everybody has to step up and be that much better, 5-10 percent better. When we get into streaks where we're not playing well, we've got to be able to snap out of it sooner. If there is somebody that's maybe struggling, then everybody else has to pick up their game to compensate it. It's a team game and that's the way winning teams do it. ... You can look ahead and be very excited about this team and what we have in the locker room right now.