ST. LOUIS -- In his final regular season game, Blues goalie Jake Allen did all he could to give his team a chance to win and advance to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
It didn't turn out the way Allen and the Blues wanted and thus ended the Blues' pursuit for a seventh straight postseason berth.
Allen's season had similarities to his 2016-17 season that saw a number of ups and downs. When Allen was on, he was on, and when he wasn't, he wasn't.
|Blues goaltender Jake Allen|
Allen went 27-25-3 with a with a 2.75 goals-against average, .906 save percentage and one shutout as the No. 1 goalie in his fifth season in the NHL.
It'll be an interesting offseason as the Blues reconvene and formulate a plan for the franchise moving forward, and Allen will be a topic of discussion moving forward. He has three years remaining on a four-year contract at a $4.35 million cap hit.
Allen talks about the disappointment of the season being over, his desire to stay in St. Louis and how his workload was handled, among other topics:
Is it hard to believe that it's over?
Yeah, it's tough. It's been a tough couple of days just thinking about it and disappointing to me because we're just so used to being in the playoffs. It's crazy to think you lose by one point, and you think about how many things you could've done different. Throughout the years things could've gone differently, could've got that point somewhere else. It's tough to take, especially the way that essentially we went out.
Why were you determined not to come out of the last game despite injuring hamstring?
We had to win the game. We had to get it to overtime at least anyway. That's my job, that's what I'm here to do. I had an honest feeling that we were still gonna come back in that game, guys were gonna lay it on the line. It didn't go the way we wanted, but it was a unique situation to be in, in a game where both teams are do or die to still get in the playoffs. It was tough. It was a tough one to take. We gave it our all. They played well. It's gonna be a stinger for a little while.
How is your hamstring now? If you were still playing now, would it have been a problem?
It might've been. I don't know. Playoffs might have been a tough stretch right now, especially the first round.
People want to lump your last two years together regarding your dip in play. Do you find any similarities?
I definitely need to be more consistent as the starting goalie for the St. Louis Blues. There's no question in my mind I'm capable of it. I've shown it. It was a tough stretch, no question, for us all. But I started extremely well. I finished extremely well. I've just got to find that middle consistency. And it doesn't take a whole lot. We were right there. I think if we all had that middle part of the season back, we would've been not only in the playoffs, probably in our division second or third somewhere. We were that close. So that said, it's definitely a big objective for me that I'm gonna take a lot of accountability into next season and go from there.
Can you put your finger on your play?
I think we tried to change maybe a few things at times during the season and myself personally on the ice in a game, when I think I realize I don't really need to change much. I'm a pretty good goalie, I know deep down. I think just stick with it and trust myself and the games will come, the wins will come. I think really just the latter half of the year, I can't give an exact date, but really created a pretty good blueprint for success there. It was basically reiterating what I did at the start of the year, and I think that's something in the summer you definitely have to just go back to and rely on, and base your summer work around those points.
Safe to say that sometimes for you, it was mental? Is that dangerous thinking too much out there?
Yeah, I guess. You gotta be thinking a little bit, but just going back to just being yourself and trusting yourself. I think that goes for all of us in this locker room, especially me. I take a lot of responsibility this year for not getting us into the playoffs. It's disappointing from my end, because I'm the guy. 'Hutts' [Carter Hutton] stepped up when he needed to, but I definitely take a lot of ownership on it.
Hoe much did that final home game against Chicago sting the way that went down?
It sucks. Eight seconds, maybe nine seconds. That would've got us in. And that's how close and how tight the league is when you look at it. You look at 82 games, grind of a year, long year. Guys are battling hard. You can look at it and say that eight seconds could've gotten us into the playoffs, but there were 75 other games that could've changed as well. So that's just the way the year goes and at the end of the year, I think when you look back on it, we've never been in a situation like that here. We've always sort of solidified our spot early, which is great, but I think next year every single point we've learned is crucial. Even if you lose a game in overtime, so be it, you made positive ground and you're moving forward. I think that's something that I don't know if we really understood, but now we do, and we're gonna have to turn things around pretty quick.
Sometimes you hear a skater say a simpler, more basic approach is necessary. If that true for a goalie too?
Yeah, I think that's probably true for everyone. Sometimes you're your own worst enemy. If you can just go back to keep things simple, and being confident in yourself, more than likely, things go your way. We're all good hockey players to get to this point, you've just gotta know that.
Are there one or two things this club needs in your mind?
We have the talent, there's no question about that. We just have to, like myself, be a bit more consistent as a group and bring it every single night. It's not gonna be great all the time but we just can't have the lulls. And like I said about myself individually, we can't have 'em as a group either. Right from early October when we start next year, to the end in April, we need to have those points. Yeah, there's gonna be ups and downs but we've got to minimize them and I think that's the biggest thing, is making those peaks and valleys small.
Do you feel like you have plenty of room to grow your game?
I think growth is a term. But I think it's really right now, I've proved that I can play. It's just more consistency in finding ways to win games and that's really it. Obviously this is the longest summer I've had for a long time and probably dated way back to my first couple years in the minors. I can specifically work on certain things. Get in the gym quicker. You've got to find a way to make the positives out of all of it. It's gonna be a long summer mentally. I'll probably be bored by next week. But you've got to find a way to get better and we can still get better as a group here and myself especially.
Do you like your summer routine or do you feel like you can change anything?
No. I wouldn't change a lot for the summer routine. I feel like I always come in in really good shape. I'm an honest guy that way. I think now with Dave [Alexander's} help and being around with Dave through the year, and he's known me in year's past, we can specifically hone in on some fine-print details and come back in a great state of mind and just ready to go. I think that's the biggest thing is to come back healthy, if you're not healthy in training camp you're behind the 8-ball already, so I think that's the main point for me.
Did you ever get your luggage back from Denver?
I did [Monday] night (after the final regular season game).
Anything you do about the details in your game?
I've created a pretty good blueprint for my game over the last month of the year, and just gonna with those, specifically drive all the drills you do into those specific areas and just try to almost perfect it. Nothing's gonna be perfect, but be the best you can at those.
Any techniques you'll look for in your game this summer?
I can't see it changing too much.
Players talk about you as a level-headed guy, but when team announces you need a mental break, fans come up with the question of what's his psyche like. Do you think if people say you're a head case?
If someone called me a head case, they might be the head case. I think from a mental side, if you're classifying it as a mental break, I'm not sure when that term was delivered, but if you're playing 13 or 14 games in a row, yeah, sometimes you do need a night off. You need a mental break, because it's not your physical aspect, it's your brain as a goalie. It's preparing all day, every day, knowing you're starting the next day. It's a non-stop battle. You're always on your toes. You try to be as light as possible in there and keep your brain loose, but at the same time, you do need breaks at times, no question. Going forward, 100 percent it will, too. That's just the life of a goalie.
Do you want to be here moving forward?
I'm a Blue and this is where I want to be. I want to make sure I'm going to be secure for a while.