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The End of The GT Season.

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By Sean Gallagher

As Year Two of Game Time comes to a close, it’s time for me to throw around some words praising those who made this paper possible. This year is a little different because it really has been “Year of the Fan” as far as I’m concerned. Yes, that means you. But before I talk about that, let me get to the folks who breathe life into this paper. the tired editor's motto: SWYD.

First of all, I have to thank my every-issue columnists, starting with the guy you all read first â€" Brad Lee. Brad writes the front page match-up every issue, which is a tough assignment, as he has to be informative, funny and hit the points that you, the hardcore fan, will find interesting. If Brad was writing for the local rag, he could phone it in because of the mass audience. Here, he has to dig deeper and be more attentive to detail. On top of that, Brad also does the always-popular “Blues Record When” piece â€" bringing out certain statistical details that the analytical of you out there love to read. And when Brad isn’t spending several hours putting together those two major pieces every game, he’s knocking out several Top 11 lists for us to use. Versatile, dedicated, consistent and All-Star caliber: Brad is a franchise player on the GT team.Â

Brian Weidler, the head of the GT Prospect Department, is so dedicated to bringing the best and most accurate information about the next generation of Blues to you that I have to regularly reign him in when it comes to verbosity and detail. A vital asset to the paper, Brian brings us info that you literally can’t find elsewhere. Seriously. I have tried. Brian took his analysis and writing to a new level this year and I expect it will continue on in the future. In fact, I would not be surprised if we lost Brian to an actual hockey organization’s scouting department some day.Â

Chris Gift continues to be the steady workhorse of the organization, churning out article after article all year. In addition, Chris has become the warm, sentimental center of the GT world. In our paper, we spend so much time being sarcastic and bitter and mean spirited that Gifter has become the port in the storm for folks who want to hear about the nice side of sports. Chris did an excellent three-part piece with the parents of deceased NHLer Dan Snyder back in December and also took the lead on our own “Support The Troops” movement of sending copies to servicemembers overseas.Â

If GT is a distorted, twisted brain, Chris is our conscience. Kicked and beaten he may be, but he’s still the one who howls out against what is wrong in the sports world and promotes that which is right.Â

Next up would be the every-game contributors like Jeremy Pratte, Childhood Trauma, Kyle Meyer and the Answer Man. All four provide important and beloved parts of the paper and if any one were missing from any given paper, I’d definitely hear about it. From Jeremy’s cartoons to CT’s Trivia which continues to challenge even the most die-hard Blues fans to our two new additions. In a race for the GT Rookie of the Year, we have a dead heat between Kyle Meyer and his Fight Club and the Answer Man’s “advice” column. In the end, Kyle’s intricate fight stats and analysis brought back a much-loved piece to the paper, but he is unlucky in that he was called up to the big club too late to catch his fellow rookie’s stats. We look forward to the Fight Club every issue, but it is the Answer Man who takes the trophy this season. Â

As regular readers know, I’ve written an extensive piece about how we brought the AM into the fold, but he has brought a new dimension of interaction between GT and our readers. Bringing a unique view of the paper, hockey, fans and The Code, the Answer Man has become an institution. I get questions about him from readers literally every game. Yes, he’s real. No, he’s not me. Yes, he’s serious. Yes, the questions are real. No, I have no idea how he knows a guy from the Bronx, but that, too, is a real question.Â

Much as I fear we may lose many of our writers to bigger and “better” opportunities, I fear that I may someday lose the AM to some sort of sitcom development deal or some reality show in Hollywood.Â

I also really thank the irregular contributors who send us the odd bit of angriness, comedy or information. Whether it’s Jeff Fahrenkrog, Greg Gaz, or the GT message board guys, they all make the paper better. This year we even had some readers’ submissions that have made the paper and further broke down the barriers between “Staff” and “Readers”. Adam Duke, Eric Barbeau and John Baumgartner all won the GT Email Contest this year and all have contributed to the paper since that time, as well. I’ve always felt that this paper is a reflection of the hard core fans out there and that any of our regulars could easily be on our staff. Examples like this reaffirm that thought.Â

Which brings me back to the Year of the Fan. Â

I’ve been blown away by the dedication and fanaticism you all show. Whether it’s finding a way to come get a back issue or to buy an issue to a game you’re not attending, I appreciate it. When I get calls from readers about factual “bending” that may or may not have occurred, I am excited by your dedication. Emails wondering about the origins of an inside joke keep me fired up. When I get to see a guy like the Red Berenson Cowboy in Section 306 come to every single game and then realize halfway through the season that he’s a GT guy, I well up with pride. When it comes right down to it, when it’s two in the morning on Tuesday and we’re churning away on a paper for the visiting Columbus “Good As Blue Balls” Jackets for the 42nd time of the year, it’s hard to try to be motivated, original or somewhat funny. But the reason we do it is because we know you expect it. You don’t care if it’s the Blue Jackets or if it’s Tuesday or “kids up to age 29 free” night. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.Â

But here is your chance to get more involved with Game Time. We have a new and wildly improved website. It’s updated, as we say, maniacally. Sometimes we re-print material [Online Editor's note: cough, cough.] from the paper, but most of the time, we are commenting on hockey, the Blues, prospects and other diversions. But you have the ability to react and interact there as well. Every posted article has a “comments” section that allows you to look smart or just be a smartass. We also have a small but dedicated group of degenerates on our message board that would be happy to have you poke in and make a comment or two.Â

On top of that, we have another opportunity for you to intertwine yourself with the Game Time experience. Next season I plan to expand the paper by another four pages for every issue. For one, we’ll be going back to the ever-popular referee stats. This year was simply too difficult to track, but the recent Mr. Magoo/Mick McGeough incident has made us reassess the importance of these stats. If you are a stats-inclined person and would like to track such an item, please contact me via the phone number or email listed on Page 2. But the additional pages also leaves the door open for those of you out there who want to write about your favorite team. I’ve heard from several people in the last few weeks who want to be involved in Game Time. Now is your chance. Take the summer and think about what you want to do, whether it’s an occasional 1,000 words or an every game column, I’d like to hear your ideas. We’re going to get bigger. Can you make us better? This Turkey makes people go Wild.

And finally I must take the time to thank the people that have made this paper possible. First, our godfather, Jeffio. Once again, without the model of Jeffio’s Game Night Revue, there would be no Game Time. Without his encouragement and guidance, there’s no way we’d have made it through our first year, let alone the now-closed Volume 2. Many thanks, godfather. The Wild Turkey is on GT tonight [Editor’s Note: tonight only. I can't afford it more than once].Â

Of course, the last to be thanked are the first in support. My family, especially my wife, Liz, make this possible. Without her we’d probably put out about 10 half-assed issues a year instead of the full compliment of 41 three-quarter-assed issues a year. And a big thanks to my two eldest children, who are finally old enough to take advantage of the information available in what they call “The Paper”. Liam, I hope the stats and standings are up to your standard. Kelly, I apologize about the Jeffio Joke from Thursday â€" tonight’s version isn’t any better, so please avoid reading it. In fact, always avoid reading it. Until you’re in college. Or after college, even. And to the youngest, Cecelia: thank you, Chooch, for throwing up right next to the GT computer and not directly on it.Â

-Sean “what’s more than, like, infinity thanks?” Gallagher