After a blowout of the Red Wings, confidence must be riding high in the St Louis Blues locker room. Really though, nobody out there really suspected the Wings to be much of a challenge this year, so the players (and even us as fans) shouldn't get too far ahead of ourselves. As surprising as it is to hear, the greater divisional challenges will be the next two games (NAS and CHI).
In the quirks of scheduling for 48 games, the League has given us 5 games against Detroit and Chicago, and only 4 against Nashville and Columbus. Over a third of the season will be in-division. To borrow from a previous Blues ad campaign, Every Game Counts. Division-heavy, no meaningless Eastern conference games, and tough tough travel, this is going to be a
The Enemy: The Nashville Predators had one of the more interesting (read: drama-filled) offseasons in the League. Most notably, they lost top-pairing defenseman Ryan Suter to free agency, and nearly lost his partner, too. Alas, the owners of Smashville took out a second mortgage, laid off a few people at the rhinestone mines, and borrowed some money from a guy called "Boots", and matched Philadelphia's offer sheet to Shea Weber. Now, all that remains to be seen is whether Shea Weber can be the same Shea Weber without his trusty sidekick. The likeliest person to fill that role is Roman Josi, who only played 52 games last year, his rookie season. Good Luck with that.
Another addition that Nashville made was the return of Chris Mason. I have no doubts that the Preds will start Pekka Rinne in goal. But, remembering how well Mason stepped up his game against former teams, I'm a little thankful for that. Rinne started the previous game, Nashville's home opener, where they lost to the Blue Jackets 2-1 in a shootout. No, really!
Final Verse: Today being MLK Day, the game starts at 5:00 St Louis time. The TV broadcast will be on FoxSports MW, and the radio call will be on KMOX 1120 AM. Also, if you haven't already heard, NHL Center Ice is free through the end of January, so you might be able to get in on that. Of course, we'll have the GDT dropping just ahead of the puck as well.
Until then, this is your pregame skate. Crack open a cold one, ready your redneck jokes, and enjoy this year's opening video. This is played on the Jumbotron before each game, and is pretty well-edited.
2012-13 Opening Video (via stlouisbluesnhl)