By Brad Lee
Welcome to a new feature here at St. Louis Game Time: Why We Hate Your Team. We may not hate every team in the NHL, but it has sure felt like it the last two seasons with the Blues at or near the bottom of the league. We'll start off easy and tell you why we can't fucking stand the
Kansas City Nashville Predators.
What a little prick. Jordin Tootoo's story is nice and all. He was the first Inuit ever to play in the NHL. There's a tragic story with his late brother's apparent suicide. He's an undersized guy who plays with a lot of grit andÂ determination, traits hockey fansÂ usually find endearing. Not with this waste of space-aged, less absorbentÂ uniform material. Tootoo plays physical with intent to injure and little regard for his fellow player. He hits late, he hits high, he hits with his elbows. He had a whole nine points last year. He was a -11 (worst on the team) with 119 in 65 games and averaged an emberassing 8 minutes, 24 seconds of ice time.
Last March, Tootoo and Mike Modano were getting into it and the Stars' Stephane Robidas was skating in to help his mate. Tootoo saw Robidas approaching, turned and caught Tootoo with a punch square in the jaw, knocking Robidas cold. When Kermit Washington did something similar, he got what amounted to a two month suspension. Tootoo got five games.
While Predator fans might tell you on their break in the sequins minesÂ that Tootoo's schtick is working because teams worry about him and forget that the Preds have much less talent than last year. Plus, the guy isn't afraid to drop the gloves and can handle himself in a fight. Fine. But Tootoo has another positive attribute: he unifies fans that couldn't normally agree on anything.
Red Wing fans (who have even cheered on Chris Draper, Kirk Maltby and Darren McCarty) hate Tootoo. Capitals fans who blog about the NHL in general dislike Tootoo. Read the comments at Kukla's Korner. And of course, Stars fans.
Before the lockout, Blues fans didn't give a shit about the Predators. They were the little hillbillies to the southeast that had shiny sweaters and little chance of beating the Blues. And then after the lockout, the Blues had no chance. It was horrible. The Blues were winless in 14 straight games up until Feb. 16 when the Blues finally had a 1-0 victory over the visiting Predators. About. Damn. Time. And with less talent in Nashville, the Preds might be back on the wrong end of a loosing streak.
Now that the series is competitive, there's actually a rivalry. Fans for the first time look forward to Predator games, which is nice. It's good to hate another team. The Blues can't play the Hawks or Red Wings every night.
Besides, we have another new reason to look forward to games with Nashville.