St. Louis Struggles Create Conflicting Storylinesby Sean Gallagher | January 15, 2018, 1:50 AM ET
The season isn't quite half over but it's over a third of the way complete. And while most SICHL teams are still figuring out just what they are and what they might become, the notoriously fickle fans of St. Louis are, to be polite, losing their ... religion about their Spartans.
The team has been as high as third in the standings. They currently are sitting in ninth. In classic St. Louis fashion, fans have gotten "SICHL CHAMPS 2018" tattoos and posted them on social media at the high point, and they have called for the firing of the GM and the trading of everyone on the roster and in the minors at the low point.
But what is this team, really?
"Our trades have been for the near term," said GM Gallagher, "And we didn't trade futures to get them. They were all hockey trades. It's not like I've bankrupted the future for today. We've added pieces that I think make us more dangerous."
The problem, really, boils down to chemistry, as the roster has never really found consistency. There are three lines that have scored, but none have dominated. The defense is solid throughout, but can still get victimized. The curse of the Spartans seems to be in the division they play in - there are no easy nights - so every game is a close one.
In 33 games played, 26 have ended in a two-goals-or-fewer margin of victory.
"Struggling teams get up to play us, good teams know they need to beat us and great teams won't look past us," said Gallagher, "This schedule has no soft spots."
Currently outside the playoff picture, Gallagher was promoting a Stay The Course manifesto to the media due to the fact that the team is still early in the schedule and has recently made trades to add players like Fedor Tyutin, Artem Anisimov, Andrei Markov and Chris Kunitz.
"Making moves mid-season is difficult. The new guys come in and have to find their fit. The vets have to help them assimilate. They're all old pros, so I think they'll gel at some point. If not, we'll deal with that. But I think we're in a good spot."
Rumors continue to swirl that the Spartans are still stalking the trade boards of the other teams in the league. Depending on the source, they're either pursuing depth defensive specialists or top-six scorers. With this team, who knows - maybe it's both.