As a completely devoted fan site and a completely independent group of fans, we've had (more than) our share of advice for the management and owners of the St. Louis Blues over the years. Some of our advice has been misguided (the strippers-as-ice-dancers plan) and some of our advice has been spot-on (immediately suspend the 1,001 Uses For The Other Team's Jersey bit). In all (biased) honesty, we think we've had more hits than misses.
Seriously, there is really no reason that the Blues' brain trust shouldn't have us involved in some sort of Think Tank that they could bounce ideas off of. Except, of course for the term "Think" right in the title. Maybe a better name for the group would be like "Opinion Tank" or "The Jackasses" or even the "They're Demanding More Beer Before They Talkers."
But whatever. The point remains the same: the Blues and their current group of not-paid-enough-to-disagree sycophants need us. Because clearly no one is telling them what they need to hear.
For instance, a few years ago when the Blues decided to retire Brett Hull's No. 16 to the rafters, what game did they choose? A weekday game against Detroit. We have no idea how this date managed to become "Brett Hull Day" but we knew immediately that it was the wrong call. Why? you ask. Here's why in two simple reasons:
- Most Blues fans refuse to admit that Hull ever played for Detroit, why shove their noses in it?
- Blues vs. Red Wings games always sell out, regardless of the day of the week they are played on.
Had the team management asked us, we would have said something along the lines of this:
"Yeah, no. First of all, you're going to sell that game out anyway. Save Brett Hull Night for a Tuesday against someone shitty, like Nashville or Columbus. How nice would it be to sell out a Tuesday against Detroit and then also sell out a Tuesday against Nashville? That's how we make the money, boys.
"Besides, Have you seen this roster? Do you really think that Mike Kitchen and this group of Timofei Shishkanovs can beat the Red Wings? You're going to honor Hull and then watch as his team gets slaughtered on the ice."
Alas, they did not ask us our opinion. As we all remember, the sub-Blues got run out of their own building that night and Mike Kitchen got fired later that week. Personally, we wanted Kitchen fired later that game, but no one listened to us on that one either.
The Blues, unwisely, didn't ask us this year, either.
A quick check of this year's promotional schedule (and excuse us for being late to this party, but holy shit did we need some time off) pointed us to the most glaring mistake of the season right off the bat. On Oct. 8 the Blues will be dedicating the new Al MacInnis statue. It will clearly become the pair of the existing Bernie Federko statue, which, when dedicated, resulted in a sell-out crowd during a down year.
Yes, Allan deserves his own statue. Yes, it should be an exciting night. No, it should not be on October 8th.
Seriously, are the Blues kidding? October 8th? That is a Thursday night against the Atlanta Thrashers. And while it does hit two of our three prerequisites for "Special Nights" as a weekday night against a fairly-uninteresting opponent, it fails miserably on the third. The third parameter is the most important of the three in that it incorporates a night that is already a guaranteed sell-out. October 8th, of course, is the home opener.
As someone who sells a fan-based paper for all home games, I can tell you for a fact that if you're only going to sell out two games in a year, one of the two will be the home opener. Why throw a guaranteed sellout event on top of a pre-determined sellout night? The Blues sold out their home opener in 2005 when everyone in town knew they were a nightmarishly shitastic team.
You want our advice, Blues? Here it is: leave the home opener alone, it'll sell out just fine. Stick Al MacInnis Statue Dedication Night onto a dog in the middle of a week. Here are your best two choices:
- Dec. 15, Tuesday against the Calgary Flames: Al played for only two teams in his career and this night features both. On top of that, this date falls right into the slot before all the college students come home and take advantage of your "Students Half-Price Nights" and after the point where the new season has started to wear on the season ticket holders and other hardcore fans who start skipping mid-week games.
- Nov. 15, Thursday against the Calgary Flames: Second only if you don't want to wait this long to honor MacInnis, this is a game that will likely not sell-out and it happens to feature the visiting Flames, the team that MacInnis won his Cup as the Conn Smythe Trophy winner.
In the end, either of these games would make more sense than the game that was actually chosen, not only from a monetary perspective, but also from a competitive advantage perspective. Since the Flames were a team that MacInnis played for, they're obligated to stand on their bench and watch the ceremony, despite the fact that none of the current players ever took the ice with No. 2. The Thrashers, on the other hand, will likely stay in their visitors' locker room, partially undressed and riding bikes, rubbing icy-hot on one another or punching the clown in a bathroom stall to relax before the game.
The bottom line, once again, is this: We're easily bought. If the Blues' owners, management or marketing teams would like some simple, no-nonsense, non-yes-man, non-sober answers to some of their most pressing (and money-making) decisions, we're here. In fact, in case they haven't noticed, we have a huge pool of opinionated, intelligent readers, too.
Please Blues, ask us next time. We're here to make you money. And get ourselves some free beer along the way.