Struggling Blues captain O'Reilly calls himself out: 'I've been absolutely horrible'
St. Louis Blues captain Ryan O'Reilly called out his own performance on Wednesday, one day after general manager Doug Armstrong met with the team amid its current five-game losing skid.
O'Reilly has one goal this season and is minus-11 through eight games as the Blues have dropped to 3-5-0 after winning their first three games of the year.
"It's time to figure it out. Myself, I've been absolutely horrible," O'Reilly said, per The Athletic. "I'm not really doing anything, got to fight to stay in this league. I've got to do a lot more leadership-wise... my own play. If I can do that, that will make a big difference.
"Doug's message was clear. This is unacceptable, what's going on, and he's absolutely right. We all have to look inside and find our own way out of what's going on. But yeah, for myself especially, it's pretty pathetic."
The 31-year-old centre, who is in the final season of his current contract, had 21 goals and 58 points in 78 games last season and added seven goals and 12 points in 12 playoff games.
Armstrong said he gave an honest assessment to the team Tuesday, the day after a 5-1 loss to the Los Angele Kings.
"(It wasn't a) fire and brimstone meeting, but just a reality check," the general manager said. "I went through some stats. We're in the bottom quartile of anything that matters in the NHL right now. And that's the best we are. Goals for, goals against, goals-against average, we're in the bottom. You look at our goal differential, we're in the bottom. Our special teams are not special. We need to make sure this is ground zero and we start building our way up.
"What I said to the players… obviously we're in the winning business, but what we need to see is a competitive level that is higher than what we have now."
Armstrong put the pressure for the Blues to turn their season around squarely on the shoulders of the players, reaffirming his faith in head coach Craig Berube.
"One of the things I told the players is that if this continues, in my 30 years of watching the NHL, it's going to be okay, well then what happens - the coach? I told the players the coach is not going anywhere because the coach came from the American Hockey League, where he coached young players and made them better. And he coached veteran players and made them win here, so he can do both," Armstrong said. "So, he's going to be here… I believe in the coach; I believe in the system. This isn't a system issue, it's a competitive issue."
The Blues will host the Islanders on Thursday as they look to end New York's four-game winning streak.