A Christmas wish for Blues coach Mike Yeo is that his team can avoid a late Decenber and January slump. (File)

By Nicholas Hand

As the Blues begin the NHL’s Christmas break, here is a list of wishes for many members of the organization:

For Blues Chairman Tom Stillman and team president Chris Zimmerman – No more hurdles in the Scottrade Center renovations and the development of the Blues new practice facility in Maryland Heights.

It looks as if the headaches regarding the financing of the Scottrade Center renovations have passed, and a new practice facility in Maryland Heights will continue to foster the growth of hockey in the St. Louis region.

For coach Mike Yeo
– A late December and January as an NHL head coach without a significant collapse by his team.

December and January have not been kind months to Yeo in his NHL coaching career. When coaching the Wild, Yeo’s clubs suffered long losing streaks and spiraled out of control. The third straight occurrence in 2016 cost Yeo his job in an eight-game losing streak as the Wild lost 13 of his final 14 games behind the Wild bench.

Yeo’s tenure in St. Louis is out of the honeymoon phase. His message and tone were a refreshing change for the players after Ken Hitchcock’s departure last February. However, coupled with injuries and stagnant play, Yeo now faces his toughest task as head coach of the Blues.

For General Manager Doug Armstrong – A healthy stretch that allows him to fully evaluate his roster before the NHL’s Feb. 26 trade deadline.

Blues fans are growing impatient regarding the team’s offense. Armstrong has shown his biggest strength as a general manager is his ability to take a long-term perspective when evaluating the Blues. That foresight has proven useful in making the correct player personal decisions without handcuffing future flexibility.

Minus Robby Fabbri, Armstrong’s Christmas wish is likely getting his forwards healthy - including the return of Jaden Schwartz and Zach Sanford. The Blues will still likely be looking for additional secondary scoring at the deadline, but the need might not be as major as projected with a healthy top nine.

For Vladimir Tarasenko – A little puck luck to regain his confidence.

December has been a rough month for Tarasenko. His lack of production is starting to affect his play away from the puck. Tarasenko has been getting scoring chances, but the 40-goal sniper isn’t hitting his corners.

Tarasenko needs a couple of shots to find the back of the net to return one of the league’s most elite scorers to his dangerous self between the circles.

For Alexander Steen, Paul Stastny and Tage Thompson
– Ten games of keeping that line together.

Steen was in the midst of one of the longest scoreless streaks of his career -17 games – before scoring an empty-net goal that sealed the Blues’ 3-1 win in Vancouver Saturday night. Stastny’s December has also been sluggish with only one goal and four assists. Thompson’s call-up has provided young legs to the two veterans and the line has developed some chemistry in the last week. The Blues need to give that line a chance to build on that chemistry with consistency.

For Dmitrij Jaskin – A reminder each night to keep his skates moving.

When Jaskin keeps his skates moving, he’s productive no matter which line he is on. He has the size, he has the skill, and he has the legs to be a 20-goal scorer in the NHL. But for whatever reason, his skating comes and goes depending upon the shift.

For Jay Bouwmeester
– Health in the second half.

Bouwmeester was just getting back up to speed after returning from his broken ankle to start the season when another lower-body injury further derailed his season. Bouwmeester has a bigger impact for the Blues than most realize. In addition to his strong penalty-killing, a healthy Bouwmeester allows St. Louis’ blueline to be properly slotted and alleviates hard minutes from young players Colton Parayko and Joel Edmundson.

While not an offensively gifted defenseman, Bouwmeester plays a significant role in the Blues transition game out of their zone. Under both Hitchcock and Yeo, the Blues offense only works when their own zone play is in order.

For Colton Parayko – A quicker trigger on his slap shot.

Parayko has one of the hardest slap shots in the league. He’s also hesitant to pull the trigger and when he does, it takes him forever to get it off. The more he fires it, the more respect he will earn around the league. This will have a two-fold effect on the Blues. First, it will open other lanes for the offense. Second, when opposing forwards realize that Parayko has removed the safety from his blast, their willingness to jump out to the point when he gains the puck will slow.

For Jake Allen and Carter Hutton
– Goal support.

St. Louis’ goaltending has been terrific this season and is the largest reason the Blues are currently in a playoff position in the Central Division. Hutton is statistically the best backup goaltender in the league with a 1.67 goals against average and a .948 save percentage. When Hutton starts a game to spell Allen, two goals have been enough for two points on most nights.

Further, Allen and Hutton continue to deliver big saves at critical times in the game. They have masked many of the Blues defensive issues in the first half, and it’s time for the skaters to reward both with greater goal support in the second half.

The Blues are off until Wednesday night, when they will host Nashville at Scottrade Center. The Blues enter the Christmas break on top of the Central Division by one point over the Predators, but Nashville has played three fewer games than the Blues.