Tuesdays With Hildy: Will The Lockout Cause Attendance Problems For The Blues? Uh, no.


I don't read Bleacher Report, but when I by chance see something inane on there insulting my team, I feel compelled to comment on it. This is one of those things.

Bleacher Report gets huge hits thanks to their bite sized content -- and slideshows! Oh, the slideshows. It's also fun when that content is combined with the slideshows and a dash of "I don't really feel like doing any real research." Mostly, that's 4/5ths of their content. They tend to not mention the Blues much because a mid-market team doesn't drive page hits, and that's what the're about. They're also about publishing whatever they feel like it.

Their latest post looks at eight teams that supposedly will have attendance problems after the lockout. Basically, what it consists of are teams that a) are mid-market or smaller market b) have attendance issues already and therefore will probably continue to do so later and b) who got socked after the last lockout. Foolproof way to compile a slideshow. Throw in some Islanders and Coyotes, with a dash of Nashville Predators (who have packed houses and super excited fans, who obviously will not return), some Florida Panthers (who very well probably have issues with momentum now), Avs, Ducks, and Stars.

Sure, the Avs, Stars, Coyotes, and Islanders have attendance issues that were well established before the lockout -- and they'll probably stay status quo afterwards, which will have nothing to do with the lockout and everything to do with their markets. The only team on the list that the Bleacher Report author compiled who legitimately will have problems that can be tied to the lockout are the Florida Panthers, whose momentum really did get screwed up. The Predators will have no issues whatsoever. And the last team he mentioned? The Blues? I don't think they'll have problems either.

The only reason that they were included in the list is because the last lockout killed their attendance, but not because it was a lockout. Attendance that year would have been terrible too, because in 2005-2006 they were the worst team in the NHL. It had more to do with quality of on-ice product than anger over the lockout. This time around the quality remains high and the anger at the ownership is minimal at best.

Frankly, having this article come out the day after a HUGE attendance at the Blues' first practice is hysterical. The Blues drew 5500 on Sunday, and drew over 1000 on Monday during a work day. Today they will probably draw around the same, and tonight's free scrimmage will draw a few thousand. Those're all indicative of a market that doesn't care, right?

I know some people aren't coming back, and that's their decision. As a whole, however, I don't see St. Louis being one of those towns who struggle thanks to the lockout. I really think that this city loves the team, and are willing to look past the business side of the sport to focus on what's important: hockey.

But hey, nice job, B/R guy. I hope you're enjoying the comment section.

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