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sports

2012-2013 Blues Schedule – A Fans Perspective

The St. Louis Blues have just released their 2012-2013 schedule, and it leaves me, the fan, with some observations.

(1) Home Opener: Thursday, Oct. 18 vs. Detroit – No one wants their home opener on a weeknight. While the opponent is desirable, it’s our third game of the season, which will cause a stir among fans (3-0: It’s our year! 0-3: Tickets for sale!). Bummer.

(2) Only 8 Saturday Home Games: OK – I have a 10-game weekend pack. While I’m pleased to see the Senators (I love hearing Oh Canada) and the Flyers, I’m curious to see how they will fill out the rest of the plan. For ticket guys reading this – I’d love the home opener. Thanks 🙂

  • 10/20: Wild
  • 11/17: Predators
  • 12/1: Senators
  • 12/15: Blackhawks
  • 12/29: Flyers
  • 2/23: Sharks
  • 3/16: Hurricanes
  • 4/13: Blackhawks (last game of the season)

(3) “Happy” Holidays: 10 back-to-back games in the month of December. Merry Christmas?

  • 12/1 vs. Senators
  • 12/2 vs. Flames
  • 12/8 at Rangers
  • 12/9 at Blackhawks
  • 12/14 at Flames
  • 12/15 at Blackhawks
  • 12/20 at Coyotes
  • 12/21 at Stars
  • 12/26 vs Blue Jackets
  • 12/27 at Avalanche

(4) Spring Fling: 9 home games in the all important month of March. Good news!

  • 3/1: Devils
  • 3/3: Penguins
  • 3/5: Avalanche
  • 3/12: Oilers
  • 3/14: Stars
  • 3/16: Hurricanes
  • 3/26: Coyotes
  • 3/28: Kings
  • 3/31: Ducks
I’ve got a feeling Big Walt wishes he was this size still.

(5) Welcome Back, Winnepeg: Tuesday, Feb. 19 the Jets will head to St. Louis for the first time since the two faced off in a Central Division match up on April 8, 1996.

So, take a look at the schedule, and let me know if anything stands out to you. Let’s all cross our fingers for a not-so-awful slogan this season.

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Parks Picks sports

Top 5: Reasons the Blues are Contenders

Image via KSDK.com

The Blues, currently sitting at 4th Place in the West with 60 points, have had their best season to date in years. And folks, that’s not a fluke.

1. The coaching is there: Not discounting what Andy Murray and Davis Payne brought to the table, but Ken Hitchcock has truly been able to take the rains and get players to play. Halak has taken his spot back as the number one goaltender, while TJ Oshie has proven why he belongs on a top line – all with Hitchcock’s help. The early-season move was a bit unexpected, but could not have been placed at a more opportune time.

2. Home is where the heart is. The Blues have the best home record in the league at 19-3-3. That’s not a coincidence. Scottrade Center has become one of the more difficult rinks to play at, and with an ever expanding fan base (yes, even those bandwagoners), the team knows the 6th man will make a difference. That big blue bear helps, too.

3. The Central Division: Let’s not discount the fact that the Central division, with the exception of the Blue Jackets, is arguably the best division in the league. Seeing Detroit and Chicago six times a year is a challenge, as well as Vezina Trophy hopeful Pekka Rinne and the Predators. Unlike many college teams, no one can say the Blues have an “easy schedule” (14 back-to-back series this season).

4. We’re not afraid. You won’t meet another team that uses their size like St. Louis. From 6-3, 225lb. David Backes (who has it out for any man who’s ever stepped foot onto a Team Canada roster) to “5-10, 198lb” (talk about exaggeration…) Vladimir Sobotka, this is a team that knows how to play rough. The physical presence on the ice extends from forwards to defensemen, and (almost) always stays within the Shanaban rules.

5. It’s about damn time. The last playoff run the Blues had in 2001. The last cup appearance was in 1970 with Scotty Bowman as our head coach. This is a team that has been in a rebuilding phase for 5 years, and it’s time for the team to be built. This is a group of guys who want to win, and that determination will take them as far as they want to go. Hopefully, that will be at a parade on Market St.

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sports

NHL 2.0 – Realignment Edition

In case you’re living under a rock, are buried in snow or are your typical, inattentive hockey “fan,” you know that that last night the NHL approved a 4-conference realignment for the 2012-2013 season (that’s next October, folks). Above states the realignment (via CBC). Let’s point some things out.

There are 4 Conferences: Clearly the most obvious change. The West has been split in to two, 8 team conferences, while the East holds two, 7 team conferences. Note that Winnepeg, currently an “Eastern” team due to Atlanta’s demise, will move to the west, leaving the old East with 14 teams instead of 15.

Holy Rivalries: The new schedule will produce home and home games with every team in the league (great for fans who want to see Pittsburgh, Boston, Detroit, ETC. more than every other year). This also will provide each team with 6 conference match-ups. That means Ovi & Crosby, 6 times a year (NBC Sports is glowing at this idea.) It also keeps strong rivalries like Detroit/Chicago and Boston/Montreal, while fanning the Canadian rivalries (aside from Winnepeg, three Canadian teams will be battling it out each season for the final four spot in their Conference). Not to mention, playoff rivalries will be reborn. Who thinks Vancouver will have a yearly riot when Boston comes into town?

Travel Convenience, unless you’re from Florida:  Sure, Detroit and Columbus will be playing away games in Central time, but think how convenient it is for Washington to play Philly and Pittsburgh. The only down fall here is the Florida teams, who are stuck in the upper Northeast conference. Why they didn’t move the Devils & Islanders up there is beyond me. Note the image below from Puck Daddy and Cassie McClellan.

Playoff Picture: Now here’s where it gets a bit tricky. The league will stick with a 16 team playoff, taking the top four teams from each conference. These teams will battle it out, leaving the “final four” if you will, who will be either re-seeded or randomly matched to create our final teams. This could be awesome, considering we can have a Bruins – Flyers final, or a Detroit – San Jose final, but it also can diminish TV ratings. With the “new” NBC Sports (Versus’s new alias as of Jan. 2), this may not be an issue since more games will be televised in prime time on national television, however, it is a concern. There is also a bit of bias when you think of it, because the east coast teams only need to beat out 3 other teams to advance, whereas the west has four. There is also the argument that the fifth place team in conference A may have more points than the third place team in conference C.

Overall, I like the idea. I was never keen on moving Detroit to the East and ruining an original six rivalry with the Blackhawks, nor did I want them out of the Blues reach. The battles in each conference are strong. Sure, they’ll be you’re typical “East is better then West” argument (the conferences are yet to be named), but the concept is strong. Now, if only the Jets could make their vintage jersey their third before they come to St. Louis…

Feel free to comment with your thoughts, concerns and questions!