Archive for the St. Louis Blues Category

Stan Musial is What Made St. Louis Sports

Posted in MLB, Sports, St. Louis Blues, St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Rams on January 20, 2013 by Travis Green

You hear it in every city. “We have the best baseball fans…” “We have the best football fans…” “We have the best hockey fans…” or my favorite “Home of the best sports fans…”

Well obviously one will never know who has the greatest baseball, hockey, basketball, or football fans. Nor will we know what town is home to the best sports fans, but one thing is for certain if you grow up in St. Louis it is hard to avoid the lunacy that is St. Louis sports.

St. Louis is a decent size city with a small town feel. If you go over on “The Hill” you will walk into shops where regulars are known by name, go to “the Landing” and there will be a beer sitting at a spot in a local establishment waiting for their regular 5 pm visit from a local. Walk into a gas station wearing a Blues, Cardinals, or Rams jersey and instantly a conversation will be struck about the latest news surrounding the team. This city loves its sports.

Opening Day in baseball should be considered a local holiday in St. Louis, because you can guarantee the city will be decked in red, Keiner Plaza will have the red dye in its fountains, and every radio station will be talking Cardinals.

Jump about month ahead to May, and the town will “Bleed Blue” if the Blues are in the playoffs. Let’s Go Blues will be chanted all over town, signs will be hung from buildings and businesses supporting the team. The buzz will be all about the city, with everyone asking “is this the year?”

And finally head north down Broadway, and listen to the screaming faithful every Sunday cheer on their Rams, and in times of struggle the paranoia of their beloved Blue and Gold leaving town in favor for a West Coast dream.

You can’t escape it. If you don’t like sports in a town like this at one point in your life you will be consumed. Rather it is the dominating performance of “Mr. Goalie”, Glenn Hall between the pipes, the beloved Cardiac Cardinals, Whitey Ball, The Greatest Show on Turf, the heroics of a hometown hero David Freese, or the genuine loving nature of one of their own Stan “The Man” Musial, you WILL be consumed.

Athlete’s come and go in this town like many other, but one thing seems to be consistent…they all want to stay and call St. Louis home. Many athletes such as: Keith Tkachuk, Jim Edmonds, Marshall Faulk, Ozzie Smith have all found St. Louis too good to move away after their playing career.

Why?

Because St. Louis embraces you, but the key is to embrace them back. St. Louis like many cities love athlete who will work hard,  fight for their team, and of course win championships. But St. Louis is a city that expects more, they want to see you in the community, treating life outside your sport like a normal human being.

Stan Musial created the path for athletes in St. Louis. Everyone you talk to that knew Stan will tell you, “He was kind, gentle, and genuinely cared for the people of St. Louis.” For that matter he cared for everyone he came in contact with, “you won’t meet a nicer person than Stan” is something that is stated all around town.

He was “The Man” for a reason, no one will replace what he meant to this city. But also no one can replace what this town meant to Stan, It was a match made in heaven.

Being too young to see Stan play I can only go off what I’ve heard and learned over my years about Stan, and that is Stan is St. Louis sports.

Growing up in this city, attending opening days with Stan in attendance, being involved in the many standing ovations Musial was showered with, there is one thing that is a fact after yesterday’s loss of an icon: St. Louis will never be the same.

I am blessed to grow up in a town where the love of sports is impressed upon you, and where idols such as Stan Musial were present, and help create in my mind: The World’s Best Sports Town.

Time For The Fireworks

Posted in Sports, St. Louis Blues, Uncategorized with tags , , , on June 30, 2011 by Travis Green

The heat of summer is upon us, Lord Stanley’s Cup has been lifted, and Independence day is almost here.

And for many NHL teams tomorrow the fireworks will start early.

July 1st is the official opening of NHL free agency, and team will look to start off with a bang! Last 46 signing were made on the first of July, some resigning with their team of the past season, such as Alex Steen did with the Blues, and others high tailing it out-of-town in search for green pastures, such as Olli Jokinen moving from Calgary to New York.

This year I don’t expect to see as much action, however I see the Blues being a bit more active than last year.

I know this may seem a little crazy especially with recent reports of a dull market, and the franchise being for sale, but look for the Blues to see a few situations they like and go after them.

With the blue note only losing a few players from last year, mainly Ty Conklin, Cam Janssen and possibly Matt D’ Agostini if he chooses to play hockey elsewhere, it may seem as if the Blues don’t have a lot of holes to fill. However, you add in the loss of Winchester and Boyes to trades last season, the Blues have more holes to fill.

Players such as Scatchard, Cracknell, and Porter are not everyday players as they were forced to be last year, especially towards the end. So the Blues will look fill those voids.

Does that mean players such as Brad Richards, a trade for Zach Parise, or another high valued player is in the cards for the Blues? No, not even close, but the note will be looking for diamonds in the rough like they have found before with D’ Agostini.

Matt D' Agostini will hit the open market Friday.

Assessing the Blues is a tough task, as it has been for the last few years. The questions you must ask include: Is David Backes that elite forward, and presence that can score you 25-30 goals? Can T.J. Oshie be a second line contributor? Is Andy McDonald going to play like he did last year, and cease all the worries that have haunted him for years? Chris Stewart is he for real? Will we see the return of a healthy David Perron?

Those are just a few of the offensive questions, not counting a young defensive core, and a goalie who’s inconsistencies hurt him last year.

As decipher through the questions it leaves me with a few conclusions, the Blues will add at least one middle of the road offensive player with a nice ceiling, they will look but not quickly and actively pursue a defenseman. And finally the Blues will talk to some agents for a few NHL goaltenders.

The Blues have to find something on the offense, with the arrival of Stewart the Blues offense soared at the end of last season, but they still need a guy who can put the puck in the net around 20 times a year, especially if Dags is gone. They will have guys such as Phillip McRae and Evgeny Grachev competing for a spot on the roster but for management to expect that kind of production from those players would be foolish.

A few names to look for on the offensive side:
Ville Leino – He may be a bit of a hot commodity, especially with the down market. Don’t know what kind of deal his agent is looking for so it may be a long shot for the Blues, but I love his grit and determination to get to the net, and put the puck where it belongs.

Michael Ryder – Another possible long shot, but he is someone who could jump on the ice and fill in the number two-line. Would be a perfect replacement for Perron, if you are without him for a while. Plus brings that veteran leadership, and Stanley Cup presence to the team.

Andrew Burnette – This is a very realistic choice. He brings a veteran leadership to the team, a very smart player who can put the puck in the back of the net and find the stick of other players. A good second or third liner.

Tyler Kennedy – The Penguins are continuing to work on a deal with Kennedy, but I could see Kennedy being a player that would like to see more ice time, and the Blues have that for him here. Last year Kennedy saw more ice with the Malkin and Crosby injuries, and he put up some respectable numbers with 21 goals and 24 assists.

Ville Leino I believe would be one of the best options for the Blues

Those are some of the big candidates I see the Blues making a run after, a few honorable mentions are Chris Higgins, Michal Handzus, and the Doug Armstrong connection to Jamie Langenbrunner.

Notice there is no Thomas Fleishmann on there, and that is because his stock much like Leino’s stock is rising, and I believe he will sign a lucrative deal elsewhere.

As for D-men, I am not as sold on the fact that the Blues need a defenseman on this team. As I look at the roster the Blues already have seven legitimate contenders for six defensive slots, adding a veteran to the mix would be cheating guys like Nikita Nikitin and Ian Cole out of a chance. Unless the Blues are looking for another Darryl Sydor type signing. Names being bantered about are Jan Hedja, Steve Montador, or even Andreas Lilja.

Goaltending is the interesting topic. Many thought with the departure of Ty Conklin the Blues would hand the job to Ben Bishop, but in the last previous days and weeks that has become less obvious. I see the Blues pursuing a goaltender to help backup and possibly start in case of an injury or mishaps by starting goaltender Jaroslav Halak. So with that being said many like the possibility of a Josh Harding, but I believe he is headed to a place in need of a goalie split. Two goalies I see as legit contenders for the backup job Mathieu Garon, and my gut feeling Mike Smith.

As many begin to wind up their work week and get ready for an extended weekend with fireworks, NHL GMs will be working their free night

s and weekend minutes up as they look to set off a few fireworks of their own.