Dude, protect yourself outside the crease. I'm worried about you. (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
I'm a worry wart. It's just part of my nature. I look at this Blues lineup, the schedule, the ownership situation and I get excited. Well, excited and nervous. Mostly nervous. Let me explain.
I've recently taken up running. If you've met me, I don't look like a runner. Never have. I'm built more like a football lineman. Maybe tight end these days. But out running, on part of my route I will run on the street because I often run at night and the sidewalks in my neighborhood are a death trap. The trees block the street lights and you can't see what sections of the sidewalk are pushed up or are sunken down. So I worry I'll trip and get hurt and be stuck on the side of the road. So instead, I run on the side of the street against oncoming traffic. That way, I can see each car...and take a split second to think each time one passes how I can jump out of the way. At the top of one hill, I do hit the sidewalk, but I always plan ahead of time that someone making a turn there might force me to the grass. I worry about skin cancer, the bills, my grass, my kids, my wife when she travels, the food being good in the refrigerator and a certain hockey team we know a lot about but are still just getting to know.
I have a list of things I'm nervous about with this team. These are the highlights. I stopped just short of 1,000 words.
I'm worried about Jaroslav Halak making the jump to the next level. Goalies are a fickle breed. You don't know when they're maturing or getting ready to crap the bed. The Blues have a poor track record of figuring out which guys are going to be good and the other kind of goalies. Roman Turek, he was the goalie of the future. At least he was before Brent Johnson. And that Chris Osgood was going to be good. Before Patrick Lalime. Few believed in Curtis Sanford. There are other names, but the lesson is that more than a dozen goalies have been given chances to succeed for this franchise the last 12 years. And here we are, still hoping a guy with one sparking postseason on his resume has it in him to be the No. 1 guy here. That worries me.
I may think I'm always on the verge of being sick or hurt, but the Blues are literally on the verge of being hurt all the time. Andy McDonald is a great player when he's in the lineup. T.J. Oshie has a ton of potential when he doesn't have a cast or walking boot. Barret Jackman can be an effective defenseman when he's able to dress and skate full speed while having the ability to raise both arms above his head while his jaw isn't broken. Chris Stewart, I worry you don't drink enough milk.
Maybe it's me, but I'm worried about the ownership situation. So maybe the guy from Calgary who claimed he offered $167 million for the team is actually a phony or crackpot or both. Are we to the point where only pretend rich guys want to buy the team? I'd worry more if the team really humored the not legitimate owners. I'm going to give myself a deadline until Saturday to not worry about this. I could push that deadline back without warning.
I worry about that Oshie kid. So much expectation, so much potential, so many false starts to stardom. All signs say he is taking his career more seriously and is in the best shape of his life. I worry he'll remember how to get back to some of the watering holes on Washington Avenue. I'm worried. Allegedly.
I shouldn't worry that the young defensemen Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk will takes steps back during their second seasons in the league, just because it's their second seasons. I shouldn't, but I do. If they struggle, those are two of the guys being counted on most to play important minutes on the blue line. If they take a step back, you should be worried too.
I worry too much about this website. It don't pay the bills. I don't really know you people. Well, most of you. Yet here I am worried about writing something good for you to read while you should probably be working.
I worry about the economy while you should be working.
Most of all, I worry I care too much about this team. Gallagher has written before that it's the players who you would think would take the games more personally, but they can't allow themselves to do it. They have to go play again. If they obsess over every game, they'd never be able to relax and play. If they agonized for long after losses, they'd be paralyzed on the ice. Meanwhile the people paying for tickets and jerseys and beers and other crap will listen to an out of town radio station to catch an update on a road preseason game from Minnesota or Tampa. I worry that too much of my happiness is built upon this team developing and performing well.
I worry this team will let me down. Because that's never happened before.
Maybe that's why I'm sometimes a pessimist around here. I'm excited about the season, can't wait to tailgate before the home opener (more on that next week). Can't wait to watch the first road game on television. I'm anxious to teach my son the game and see my daughter's excitement when she recognizes Jackman on the ice, her favorite player. And then I start to worry. And then you read my worrying. And anger. And new curse word combinations including the city of Detroit.
So, fine reader, what are you worried about with this team/season/franchise? Let us know down below.