Detroit Red Wings
St. Louis Blues
Game Time 7:00 PM CT
St. Louis. MO- I woke up this morning to the sound of my 5 month old letting me know it was time to eat. You may think to yourself, gee who the heck cares about that, hockey is back. Rewind back to this past monday at about 11:30 am when the same blonde haired baby girl and her daddy strolled through the front doors of Scottrade Center right in to section 101. Diaper bag, baby carrier and child in hand we sat down and a familiar sound tickled my ears. Not 50 feet from where we sat down there were these guys, dressed in different colored jerseys. Each one, stick in hand flying like the wind up and down the ice with one Ken Hitchcock looking on with hawk like attention. I knew right then as my daughter turned to check out what all the comotion was that things were right in the world once more. Here I was with my daughter at her very first Blues Practice. I will never forget that day and the smiles she had as she watched our St. Louis Blues getting in their work outs.
After 113 agonizing days of lock out we can now turn our attentions as fans to something other then calling Gary Bettman every name in the book. Lord knows I had more then one choice word or phrase for the man and the owners ( and by the end the NHLPA as well) but behind all of that anger was passion. Like many others my passion for this game made the work stoppage hard to take. The Fans of the greatest sport in the world unselfishly spend their time and money each season on their favorite teams. The green flows from their wallets to the tune of 3.3 Billion dollars in the years from 05/06 until sept 15th 2012 when the lock out began. Personally I can no fathem what 3.3 Billion dollars looks like but I can tell you what it does do, That fancy new car or toy that a young star has always dreamed about is now sitting in his driveway or in his new home. I often wondered if the fans would come back to the NHL after the third lock out in less then 15 years and one that threaten to take another full season. When news came in early january that the lock out was potentially over I can remember being so very excited. The boys of winter were coming back and another run at a cup was born. All be it a 48 game set ready to kick off this afternoon There will be more exciting hockey then ever before as teams know they have to go all out every night. In a shortened season such as this each and every point becomes that much more critical and the evidence of that will show up in the speed, animosity, and drive in the coming days at rinks all across North America.
Let’s turn our attention to the true reason for this thread, Game Day. The Detroit Red Wings begin their season on the road here in St. Louis a much different team then what was on the ice one year ago. With the retirement of long time Captain Nicklas Lidstrom the blues line for the Redwings has never been in more question then now. With the likes of Carlo Colaiacovo being dubbed as the teams number 2 guy one could make an argument that the Dynasty days of the Detroit Red Wings is fadeing quickly into the sunset. With Yuri Huddler, Tomas Holmstrom, and Brad Stuart among some of the those to leave Detroit it will intersting to see what happens the Wings this season. With a roster full of aging veterans and young up-and-commers Mike Babcock, head coach of the Wings, has an enormous task before him. Can Babcock keep the ship headed in the right direction in Detroit? The guy is a good coach but even good coaches need more then just bodies to fill the line up. Detroit needs to take s serious look going forward and be ready to do what they can to restack this team. Personally, I would love to see nothing more then the Detroit Battle Ship, which has sat at A-1 for over nearly two decades go down in flames. It is time for a new dynasty to begin in the Central Division. A dynasty for those who have stood by their team since its inception in 1967 with their hands held high. The chance for St. Louis Blues fans to chant “We Are Number 1.”
Post 2005-2006 lock out the Blues were in a sorry state. Enter David Checketts and Towerbrook along with John Davidson( former blues President). Now, most of you ( myself included) get redfaced and all pissed off when you mention the name David ” I Promise” Checketts but you can not deny if it were not for him and his group the Blues may not be in St. Louis anymore. The years that they were in control of the team were a period of needed rebuilding after the no brains Steve Lori gutted the team. Here in 2013 we look at our team with a smile. Great drafting, development, and coaching has lead us to some exciting times here in St. Louis. The thought of a Stanley Cup being paraded down Market street seemed like a distant mirage. Now, that very dream has never more been obtainable then it is right now. With a cast of young experienced players the Blues are braced to set the hockey world on fire. With their hard nosed, in your face, fast defensive play the Blues are on you before you have time to think. The puck is D to D and out of the zone in the blink of an eye and puck possession in the opponets zone plays on. Hitchcock has the men wearing the Blue Note believing in a few things. One is that if you play responsible goal line to goal line that the offense will come. The Blues pressure the puck no matter where it is and that was one of the key things that lead to their 109 point run in 2011-2012 which landed them second in the west and pushed them to a second round playoff birth against the future Stanley Cup Champs LA Kings.
With only 6 days to get his players up to speed and back in the saddle it will be telling of what the season will bring in the first few games for the Blues. Can they reach that lofty plateau that they did a season ago? Most think they can if they maintain their focus and keep playing the game the way the Blues play hockey. Something that may aid the Blues this season and for years to come is the addition of 2010 first round pick and Russian Phenom Vladimir Tarasenko. The 20 year old Novosibirsk, Russia native has an offensive skill set that the Blues have been missing for over 15 years. Tarasenko has speed, great hands, amazing hockey IQ, and the ability to snap a shot on goal and beat goalies in many different ways. I have a feeling that when you look back in Blues history years from now you will do so with a smile when you look over #91′s name in the history books. Tarasenko will be given every opportunity to take this team to a place it has never been before. Along with Captain David Backes and the cast of others the time is now. The time to win has never been better for the St. Louis Blues and it starts today. When the puck drops at Scottrade Center tonight at 7:00 pm central time history will begin. Blues fans, Do you bleed blue? Who among you will yel and scream for the boys in blue as they bring pride and glory to St. Louis once more? Every drop of blood and sweat will be counted in this shorten season. My only hopes is this team is ready to lay it all on the line for their fans. The ones who packed the house during the two preseason scrimmages… The ones who drove over an hour each way just to catch a glimps of a highly tauted youngster in Tarasenko… It is with great pleasure Blues fans I once more get to utter these words… LET’S GO BLUES!!!
Tonights Expected Line Combinations:
Perron – Backes – Oshie
Schwartz – Berglund – Stewart
McDonald – Steen – Tarasenko
Sobotka – Nichols – Reaves
Cole – Pietrangelo
Jackman – Shattenkirk
Russel – Polak
Oh, and to get you in the mood for some Blues hockey please enjoy this little video compliments of Jeeprunfast
From the BNZ Crew: See you at the game tonight!