I know you guys already covered this back a few weeks ago, but I never got a chance to tell my story here at the game time... So here it is.
I was probably about 13 or 14 years old, and the Blues were in vintage form... The Blues / Blackhawks rivalry was at it's peak, the likes of Kelly Chase, Basil McRae and the Sutter brothers were patrolling the ice, and of course, the Shanahan / Janney / Hull line was alive and well.
I was just getting into junior high I guess, and the only things I really cared about was sports, sega, and trying to look cool (I failed miserably).
So, how did I finally learn about the Blues? Well, aside from my dad's casual watching of the games on television, I really came to know my Blues through good old fashion video games, mainly the sega genesis. NHL '94, like many of you, was probably my first real introduction to my future obsession. Being a teenager, the first thing that drew me into the game was the violence of the sport... I mean, I could actually make Federov's head bleed? How many times can I take out Jeremy Roenick in a season? How many times can I hit the guy after the whistle? Of course, my fondness for the edge of hockey drew me to other parts of the game... Those sweet, sweet one timers. The slapshots from the slot, Brett Hull style. The superb goaltending of Cujo. The forehead smashing antics of Kelly Chase, Basil McRae, and later on, Tony Twist. Murray Baron, for God's sake!!! Good, solid, hard working hockey. Oh, and trying to score 20 goals in a single game using all one-timers.
Of course, as time went on, my passion for the game grew stronger. I started to follow the Blues on television more closely. I started to make use of the device known as the "VCR", and often ran out of tape before the end of the game, which would lead to violent shoe throwing fits of rage. I played street hockey every day, and eventually, roller hockey. I was able to go to several hockey games at the arena & the Kiel Center. I was absolutely thrilled when we got Al MacInnis, even though I didn't know much about the guy. Man, that was a good move. I was FURIOUS when Brendan Shanahan was traded (he was one of my favorite players, due to his scoring ability AND fighting with passion), and had no clue about this dumb kid they brought in by the name of Chris Pronger. Of course, in hindsight, that was a pretty good move in my opinion, but those were my direct thoughts at the time. I hated Keenan with all my might, as he piece by piece, tore down our beloved Blues team and replaced them with the St. Louis Rangers. Stupid, stupid Keenan.
There was a small point during high school where I was pretty much Tony Twist.'s biggest fan.. He was an absolute legend in my eyes. The dude could do no wrong, and I had all the fight tapes to prove it. I actually put together a fight collaboration using two VCRs and a Karaoke machine, and I believe I still have that video to this day. What soundtrack did I use to go along with the video? The Rocky IV soundtrack, of course!!
Anyways, you can pretty much see where this is going. Fast forward 10 years, and things are pretty much the same. The glorious Center Ice package has reignited all the passion for hockey that I built up as a teenager. I have a much greater appreciation for the game now, but I still play all the NHL video games. I still try to make Roenick's head bleed. I still always create myself in the create-a-player mode, as a hulking 6'11" 350lb. defenseman by the name of "Robzilla", and try to take out the entire Detroit roster. The only difference is that I'm 500 miles away now. I'm still throwing stuff around the room, but it's evolved into beer bottles instead of shoes.
The best part, though, is that I've actually found some other crazy mother fuckers that share the same passion for these lunchbox warriors we like to call the St. Louis Blues. Yes, I'm looking at you, St. Louis Game Time.