I’ve been reasonably quiet concerning the impending NHL lockout, but I can’t hold my silence anymore.
I call bullshit.
Bullshit to Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr for not spending June 12 – Sept. 16 working on a new contract. Bullshit on players and owners for not believing that $3.2 billion dollars split wasn’t enough for either side. Bullshit on Gary Bettman, who makes more then Marian Hossa, Henrik Zetterberg, Rick Nash and Sidney Crosby. Actually, only 15 players out of the nearly 1000 under the NHLPA make more than Bettman, at $7.98 million in 2011-2012. Bullshit to the thousands of fans who spend their hard working money on season tickets, suites and nosebleed seats to bring their dad, son, daughter or friend with the hopes of seeing something amazing. Bullshit to the bars, restaurants, parking garages and scalpers trying to get by. Bullshit to the ticket reps, mascots and concessions workers with resumes on Craigslist. Bullshit to every former player, executive, owner and coach who has their name forever engraved on Lord Stanley.
And mostly bullshit to me, for still believing in a league that has done so little to keep me in mind.
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 🙂
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!
(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.
After tonights game seven match ups (Florida & New Jersey, New York & Ottawa), we’ll have a full schedule for the Western Conference Semifinals, including the St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings. This is going to be an incredibly well-matched series (although LA won the season series 3-1), and hockey fans should enjoy the fast pace, low scoring games that are bound to ensue. While watching (on CNBC, i’m sure), I’ve got a few guys to keep an eye out for:
1. Andy McDonald, 10, St. Louis: I think it was apparent in the first round against San Jose that little McDonald (listed as 5’11…yeah, right) has quite a bit of speed. Scoring 4 goals in the first round and racking up 8 points total to lead the team, I can’t see him slowing down anytime soon. Look for him to be one of few who can get something by Jonathan Quick. Speaking of…
2. Jonathan Quick, 32, Los Angeles: That Vezina nod wasn’t a fluke – 26-year-old Quick is here to stay. His 1.95 GAA may seem in like with the Blues tender tandem, but it was through 69 games (Jaroslav Halak played 46, Brian Elliot, 38). Not to mention, he just held the President’s Trophy winning Vancouver Canucks to 8 goals in 5 games, maintaining a 1.59 GAA. He’s not your average goalie.
3. Jeff Carter, 77, Los Angeles: After a deadline deal sent former Columbus Blue Jacket Carter to LA for Jack Johnson and a first-round pick, it was apparent that what Carter needed wasn’t a big contract, but a set of line mates to help push him (Mike Richards, Dwight King). It may not have been his best year (21 G, 13A), but he hasn’t had a chance to explode in the playoffs yet. He will.
4. Scott Nichol, 12, St. Louis: Go ahead, call me crazy. Nichol is not cut out to be a first line top scorer, and he knows that. Which is why he is so solid on the fourth line. Averaging 9:19 on ice time (mind you – he’s a fourth liner!), this little guy is not afraid to make big plays in the defensive end, and is not afraid to bring the puck down the ice, regardless of who he’s facing. Plus, he’s got a little mean streak in him!
5. Brian Elliot, 1, St. Louis: I’m a firm believer in going with the hot (and healthy) hand, which is what Elliot has. With Jake Allen on the bench for games 1 and 2, Elliot can truly shine against one of the leagues finest. Between him and Quick, you can rest assured that there will not be a similar situation to that in the Philadelphia Flyers/Pittsburg Penguins series.
As the Blues take on the San Jose Sharks this evening for the first round of the NHL Playoffs, I’ve noticed an influx of “fans.” I can’t step on the toes of Miss Gabby Bladdick, who’s blog covers Being a Blues Fan 101, but I can make sure you don’t get dirty looks at Scottrade Center.
1. Do not question our goaltending. If I hear one more person question which goaltender is better, I’m going to flip. As a fan, you place all faith in your coach (Ken Hitchcock, if you really didn’t know). If the biggest problem we have as a team is deciding which kick ass goaltender to put in the net, there is NO need to question it.
2. Barret Jackman is the scape goat. Related: Pietrangelo is a saint. If there is a defensive mistake, it is always completely acceptable to blame Jackman. Extra points if you can come up with a clever “he’s better than Brewer” comment.
3. Keep horn honking outside. Yes, it sounds cool when you honk your car horn three times and people respond “Let’s Go Blues!” It’s not cool to hear it for 15 straight minutes while trying to leave the parking garage from 6 different cars.
4. Learn your history. The Blues lost to the Sharks in the first round in 1999-2000 after we won the Presidents Trophy (the award for most points in a season). It’s been eight years since we’ve had a playoff win. Joe Thornton (#19) is the spawn of satan, and caused David Perron’s 94 game absent. Boo every single time he touches the puck.
5. Stadium Manners:
Do not under any circumstances get up during play.
Related: do not return during play. If there is not enough time for you to get to the middle of the row by puck drop, wait.
Do not stop in the middle of the concourse. I don’t care if you just saw your frat brother’s cousin that taught you how to play beer pong in 1985.
If you have purchased a souvenir cup, remove the lid before requesting a free refill. It saves us all time.
If you don’t know what you’re talking about, don’t talk. You’ll just sound incredibly stupid to the true fans, and you’re cover will be blown immediately.
The National Anthem ends: “And the home of the BLUES.” This is non-negotiable.
Via Andy: Don’t yell “SHOOT!” the second a player crossed the blue line. There is a reason why they are the pro’s and you are sitting in the top row of section 312 in the upper bowl. They can’t hear you anyway.
Keep this handy guide close, and you may be able to pass as a real Blues fan!
our father, who art in saint louis, hockey be thy name. thy will be done, lord stanley will be won, on ice as in the stands. give us this day, our hockey sticks, and forgive our penalties as we forgive those who cross check against us. lead us not into elimination, but lead us to victory. amen.