St. Louis Blues chairman Tom Stillman wrote a heartfelt letter to fans and season-ticket holders this weekend. In it, he came awfully close to apologizing for the team's playoff performance without actually using the words "I'm sorry."
Stillman took out a three-quarters ad on the back page of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Sunday sports page to showcase the letter, wherein he admits that the Blues "fell short of expectations -- yours and ours -- in the playoffs." He also sent the letter to season-ticket holders via e-mail with the subject "Thank you for your support."
The Blues made a brisk exit from the playoffs after losing four games in a row, including one at home, to defending Stanley Cup champions the Chicago Blackhawks. To make things even more depressing, the Blues pulled off an odd repeat of last year's disappointment: In 2013, the Blues beat defending Stanley Cup champions Los Angeles Kings twice at home before four back-to-back losses ended their playoff run.
Though 2013 was bad, says Blues general manager Doug Armstrong, this year's loss to the Blackhawks was even worse, and not just because of the Midwestern rivalry.
"I felt last year that we were coming off of a year where no one expected us to be good the year before, and we wanted to prove that we were a good team," Armstrong tells the Associated Press. "I expected us to take it to a higher level this year, and the higher level was going to be a consistent regular season followed by a longer playoff run. So, this year, there's a true sense that we have squandered an opportunity, and opportunities don't come a lot in this league."
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Despite winning 52 games this year, a record for the Blues, Armstrong and Stillman both say this season ended in disappointment.
"Our ownership group, management team, coaches and players share in everyone's disappointment that the season has come to such an abrupt end," Stillman says.
Here's the text of Stillman's note to fans:
Thank you very much for your tremendous support during the 2013-14 season. Our players took pride in leaving everything on the ice night after night, not only for each other, but also for each of you. Blues fans played a huge part in helping the team win a club record 52 games, with 28 of those wins taking place on Scottrade Center ice.
Despite many memorable moments this season, the bottom like is that we fell short of expectations -- yours and ours -- in the playoffs. Our ownership group, management team, coaches, and players share in everyone's disappointment that the season has come to such an abrupt end.
The entire Blues organization is committed to improving our playoff performance next season and beyond -- and to bringing St. Louis its first Stanley Cup. We can't thank you enough for the years of passion and dedication you've given the St. Louis Blues. We greatly appreciate your support.