By LOU KORAC
HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- Blues players were on hand Wednesday to clean out their lockers and belongings one final time after their season ended in the Western Conference First Round series against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Blues defenseman Barret Jackman, the longest tenured player in the roster, has been through six playoff seasons with the team. He answered questions on a variety of season-ending issues:
Simple fix or a process:
It's just having a team down 2-0 and the inability to score goals at the right time and bury a team that we felt we played pretty good, but pretty good's not good enough when you lose four in a row.
On having one of the best teams in the league, franchise-record for wins in a season, then the season ends immediately:
It takes a few days to sink in. But when you’re packing your bag and saying goodbye to everybody for the summer, it's tough. We felt that we had the team that was built for a long playoff run and after six games we're done and licking our wounds, looking at what we need to do for the next year to be in a better position.
Surprised the team lacked the killer instinct for the second year in a row?
Yeah, it's disappointing. It’s something we felt that we were in control of and then things just flipped. A couple of those games could have went either way and they were pretty close. But for us to not get the job done and not score goals ... we had a lot of empty nets, we a lot of opportunities and just didn't bury them. Coming down to it, that's what cost us the series.
What needs to change here to get team over the hump?
I think it's everybody collectively stepping up and doing more. Whether it's scoring goals, better defense. I think everybody to a man has to improve. Whether it's the off-season workouts or being on the ice, it's something (where) we all need to look in the mirror and see what we can do to get better.
On if changes are made:
That's not up to me. I come to work every day and Army's the one that has to make those decisions with the coaching staff. That's for him to figure it out.
Long term have to figure out a way to beat the Blackhawks, division, playoffs, etc?
Definitely with the format that we have now, Chicago's going to be I'm sure our first or second-round opponent for the next 10-15 years. We've got to find a way to beat them. We had some success early in the season and then when it counts, they had the better team. That's what happened.
Any risk of overreacting to the loss to defending champs, tight games, etc?
Definitely you can be very harsh in the first few days after a loss like that. That's why Army always says take a couple weeks to really take a hard look at everything. Do it in a better frame of mind than being very drastic and making comments and things that are maybe just a little heat of the moment.
Was the Blues D physical enough in the playoffs?
I think so. The defense probably could have played better, but it's a collective thing, the forwards and 'D' working together, the continuity with holdups and things like that. If you're playing well it doesn't matter if you're physical or not. The playoffs are a different animal but we definitely have the makeup on the back end to succeed.