By Sean GallagherÂ
[This article originally appeared in the Mar. 6 edition of St. Louis Game Time.]Â
In the past, Game Time has been caught flat-footed when the organization decided to make a personnel move after our print deadline. Last year, for instance, both the Doug Weight and Mike Sillinger trades happened after every copy was printed and ready to go. There wasnâ€™t much we could do about it except feel bad and take heart in the fact that we were about 95% correct for those days.
But you folks let us know that weâ€™d missed the boat, which we appreciate. Believe it or not, we like to hear when we screw the proverbial pooch and get something wrong. If you donâ€™t tell us weâ€™ve gotten it wrong or cut your favorite feature or are being just too mean to Larry Pleau, then in some cases weâ€™ll never know.
This year, the NHL trade deadline, or as itâ€™s known in Canada, â€œThe National Holiday Known As The NHL Trade Deadline Day!â€ happened to fall on a day when the Blues had a home game. We had little choice with what to do. We owe it to you in exchange for your hard-earned four bucks: we took the day off from our day jobs and sat around tracking trades, drinking Molson and saying, â€œwild trade, eh?â€
We became, for a few hours anyway, Canadian. And Iâ€™d do it again next year, too, even if the big day doesnâ€™t fall on a Blues home date. Thanks to a GT fan, we were slipped an internet feed that allowed us to watch The Sports Network in Canada. TSN, as it is better known, had a nine-hour show dedicated to the hockey trade deadline. They had three different groups of about three guys each that were tracking rumors (or rumours, as we called it that day) and calling their contacts in agentsâ€™ offices, NHL front offices and the NHL headquarters. It was amazing to watch as Bob McKenzie literally spent about 85% of the time click-clacking away on his Blackberry, only to periodically look up and interrupt whatever was going on by announcing (usually with his microphone off), â€œI have it on good authority that Ryan Smyth has been traded to the Islandersâ€.
These guys had their cellphones blowing up constantly on camera and off.Â One guy had his set on vibrate and you could hear its loud hum whenever he got a call. Fascinating stuff if youâ€™re an American hockey fan. Iâ€™m sure that Versus (or whatever theyâ€™re calling it this month) couldnâ€™t rival the amount of information or the timeliness of the reporting â€" they simply donâ€™t have as big or as connected a staff.
Likewise, Iâ€™m sure the guys over at the World Wide Leader in Sports would laugh at it and call it unprofessional. But for a full-blown hockey fan playing hooky from the paying job, it was a little slice of heaven. Right, eh?
On top of that, we had a little bit of a content contest going on over at the Game Time website. With our new format, any of our writers can access the front page and add stories at any time. It makes for a fresher page and a dueling battle of wit and opinion. On â€œDeadline Day, Eh!â€ It became a place for us to add new Blues information. A lot of the rumours flying through cyberspace made it on there, but we also tried to add some sensibility to the truly stupid ones. For instance, at one point a TSN guy, probably stretching for material during one of the down periods, reported that the Blues were negotiating a trade of Jamal Mayers to the Leafs for a 1st round pick and Jiri Tlusty, whom they had drafted in the first round last year. I like Mayers just fine on this team, but if that deal had been on the table, it would be gross negligence on the part of the Blues to not take it. We noted as such on the site, but it was fun to post the cockamamie report anyway.
In the end, for the paper we did a pretty good job getting all the new Blues updated on the rosters, Franchise Foundations and on the front page story. We missed a couple late trades, but as I said to the godfather, Jeffio, â€œwho gives a shit about Nikita Alexeev going to Chicago anyway?â€
Next year, whether the Blues play on that day or not, Iâ€™ll be home watching everything transpire again. It was way too much fun for a junkie like me. Hell, maybe next year Iâ€™ll look into getting some of this poutine I keep hearing about, too.
-Sean â€œI think I need a sick day next week, bossâ€ Gallagher