For a day that started with seemingly bad news, today was a pretty good day for St. Louis hockey fans. And I'm not talking about all those phony hockey fans that are going to be coming up to you tomorrow with their fake-ass, regurgitated, "hey, pretty good effort last night" bullshit.
Nah, I mean a good day for the hockey fans like you and me who are still wearing the gear and still going to the games.
It started right around the time I sent the final edition off to my printer at around 2 this morning. Just as everything was finalized, I got the email that any publisher (small or not) hates to see.
"Did you see that Sillinger got traded?"
Great. Well, that part is gonna be wrong. Someone's gonna call me on that.
Then the phone call I got around two in the afternoon.
"Dude, have you been on the internet in the last two minutes?"
So, the Weight thing is all wrong in the paper, too. Plus all the resulting moves from Peoria. Timofei? Sorry, he didn't get in the paper. He was that #20 out there. So, sorry to all you bluebleedin' GT folks. We try, but sometimes....
Anyway, so I wasn't feeling too promising about our potential sales or about the Blues' potential chances in the game tonight as I made my way down to the rink.
But once we got going, a strange thing happened. I noticed that the fans that were pouring in were all basically, well, giddy. It was bizarre. What should be a damn wake was being treated like a field trip to the East Side. Evereyone wanted to stop and talk about the moves and the loss of our two top scorers.
"Hell, someone has to score by default, right?"
"Everyone thinks that if they score tonight they'll get traded too."
"Want a jersey for a former player? Every one I've got is for a guy who is gone."
The last one was from one of the GT regulars wearing a Weight jersey. He also has about four more, all from players who play in other cities now. Such is the way with the personalized gear. In a few years, he'll be fine. Those jerseys will be either 'vintage' or 'ironic'.
But all the same, the fans were upbeat. They knew the team was going to lose, but everyone seemed pretty happy to be heading in.
It wasn't like it has been for the last few games. I don't know what it is, but everyone was, seemingly happy. I decided that it's got to be one of three things.
1. The Happy to Sad continuum is not a straight line, but instead it's a circle. That way, when you hit rock bottom on saddness, you inexplicably appear at the heights of happiness. The fans have simply gotten so sad they're happy now. I had a friend who had a whole tan-to-white theory, but I didn't really believe that you could get so tan you became white, so I don't really believe the circle continuum theory either. Plus, that guy was from Florida, so he could easily be like a meth freak or on 'Cops' or something.
2. Sometimes when you beat the crap out of someone long enough, they start to actually like it. Maybe Blues fans are just starting to like the taste of shit. Or maybe we are just growing a weird sense of pride about our suffering.
"Yeah, they traded the top two scorers today? Pfft. That's nothing. I nailed my dick to a log and threw it out the window of my car out on 40. What else you got?"
It's like a defense mechanism where no matter how hard Bill & Money Laurie and the soon-to-be unemployed Larry Pleau pound on us, we have to smile back at 'em and say, "and?"
We're the Breakfast Club's John Bender to management's Prinipal Vernon. You want another one? Yeah. You got it. You done yet? No. Another....
And so on. We've come this far, we might as well see where the bottom is, right? Keep heaping it on and we'll keep laughing and asking for more. We're like cockroaches in little tiny Blues jerseys you mother f'ers. The more of us you kill off only makes us survivors that much tougher. And sooner or later, we're gonna move into your house and shit in your bread.
How you like me now?
3. We're just so starved for any good signs, we'll convince ourselves that ANY sign of management activity is a sign that good things are on the horizon. The rumors are that Checketts (and by extension, John Davidson) is back in the mix as an owner and that we're days away from an announcement. The rumor is that Doug Weight wants to re-sign here this summer after being rented in Carolina. The rumor is that The Visor could be moved soon.
And so, we assume that if one rumor comes true (Sillinger getting traded) and then another one comes true (Weight waives his no-trade and gets moved), well then all the other rumors must be true too! Huzzah! Larry Pleau even managed to get pretty good return for a rental player like Weight (even though that first rounder is going to be a virtual second round pick). So, we can start to look forward to something good happening, right?
Hell, I don't know. But I do know that the giddiness is fun. I really had a great time at the game tonight, mainly because of the buzz in the building once the kids tied it at two. We were waiting for some bad Blues luck to take over, but it didn't happen.
Flames v Blues
The game itself was a blast. I got in thanks to a Dead Penguin League guy, Lonnie Smith, to whom I'm grateful. He told me that Section 314 was "the best section here" and based on the many copies of GT I saw up there, I have to agree with him.
Anyway, Lonnie and I had a good time, mainly because his smart assy comments also rang true. Plus, he's not afraid to jump up and down and slap hands with strangers when a kid I like to call Dutchie scores a couple big goals.
GT Official Rookie
This year, on a whim, I selected Lee Stempniak as the Game Time Official Rookie. There was no real reason, but it's turned into a pretty fun excursion. Along the way, we've self-applied a weird nickname (Dutchie) and we've had plenty of staff discussion about whether he really is any better or worse than other rookies that I gave no praise to (Gamache). I started a manhunt for the first personalized "Stempniak" jersey spotted at the rink (we found it). I've also tried to create a buzz for the Blues and the Rook by trying to draw a parallel between him and his Ivy League pedigree and the Rams and their Ivy League rookie, Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Rams' kid from Harvard and the Blues' kid from Dartmouth were both late round picks and guys who had shown flashes of talent and... well, I'll leave it there for now.
But despite our efforts, he was sent to Peoria.
When the Blues recalled Dutchie late yesterday, I got several emails about it. The kid is the GT rookie, and people are watching him.
After tonight, he got some more fans.
In fact, as he closed in on the shootout with the potential to win the game, I actually said aloud, "come on, kid."
Then, when he scored, I thought, "the guys on the GT message board are gonna love this!"
And here's the thing about the Official GT Rookie; we're going to do it again next year, and it'll be subjective again. And the best thing about the GT Rook? I don't even care if he is the best rookie on the team (he's not this year, Wideman is, by a long shot), I just want a kid that brings us something interesting. And Dutchie has done that. He's scored some nice goals and he's played hard. That's all I care about.
But I do like it when my guy scores a game winner, too.
The Peoria Rivermen and The Visor are headed to Detroit to take on the Wings on Wednesday. I wouldn't recomend setting the TiVo on that one. But the next night is home against the Hawks, who currently suck. While I'm sort of enjoying the perverse pleasure of having the Lauries order their servants to kick in my teeth day in and day out, I think the boys in Blue could get a win against those goddamn Hawks. So, let's go Blues.
Also, after that, the Note plays a 1pm game against the Stars on Saturday and then they are gone until March.
If you want to see a Shishkanivovivoc and a Dutchie and a Wideman sometime before Spring, now is the time.