The Blues haven't been playing well. We all know that. It's been an issue for the month of December, and the slump was beginning last month. Slumps happen. It's a universally acknowledged fact, and not one that I think anyone around these parts or any Blues fan would dispute.
What is under dispute, though, is how some people are reacting to the team, coach, and general manager, and that's also to be expected. Most folks were unhappy after yet another early playoff exit. Many people were disappointed with off-season player moves, and more than a few folks weren't happy that an opportunity to get a new coach was squandered.
Absolutely none of that reflects on people's abilities to be fans, or right to count themselves as a Blues fan.
Frustration is fine. Annoyance is fine. Getting annoyed at being unable to differentiate between when Ken Hitchcock said what quote after a loss is fine. "Gee, was that from 2012's playoff loss or last December's slump, or maybe this December's? NO ONE KNOWS!"
Things like that are fine.
What isn't fine is to say that people aren't good fans because they're not rah rah go go Blues after every loss of a game that the team should've at least put up a fight in. No one's a bad fan because they wonder why the team consistently has taken a period of play off in almost every game for the last two seasons, if not longer. No one's a bad fan if they get tired of the on-ice leadership mumbling excuses after an embarrassing loss that is so similar to previous embarrassing losses.
And no one is a bad fan because they think that this off-season did somewhere between jack and squat to address problems in play.
Would it be more fun if people were positive? Yes. It'd also be more fun if the team'd give us something to be positive about, too. Why isn't Game Time a positive place right now? Because every single person here writing, and every single person who writes for the paper sold outside of Scottrade on home game nights (buy one, dammit) absolutely lives and dies with this team. Some of us have done so for decades. Some of us have done so before we were old enough to string two words together. Some of us have parents who have been Blues fans since literally the first puck drop.
Do you know what my lifelong dream is? For the Blues to win the Stanley Cup while my mother is around to see it, because she has been waiting since 1967 and would like for it to happen at some point, preferably in the next 20 or so years. What the Blues are doing right now, what they have been doing, has gotten them no closer to that goal. They're treading water, and people are losing patience. Look at the attendance. Fewer than 15,000 people showed up for Chris Pronger Bobblehead Night. Attendance Saturday night was down. These aren't people giving up on their fanhood, these are people who are tired.
And it's ok to be tired. It's also ok to have optimism, and I don't begrudge anyone who has it. If you think that the Blues have what it takes this year, you keep on thinking that. I hope that you can laugh your asses off at the rest of us in June.
I'm not going to tell someone who is positive about this team, and who always has been, what they should and should not think. But I do think, that as we try to not begrudge each other's opinions, that it's important to actually not begrudge each other our opinions, either in discourse on this site, or on Twitter, or Facebook, or over a beer. No one should be an asshole to someone who is positive, and no one should blow off someone who is disillusioned as being a fair-weather fan.
All of us here at Game Time live and die with this team. If we didn't, we wouldn't work so hard at what we do. But many of us are tired and frustrated by seeing the same thing night in, and night out, with no signs of improvement and no reason to be optimistic. I'd like nothing more than to be optimistic about the team that I've loved since I was a child. I don't like being cynical about everything in my life. If the Blues could take a step toward giving me a reason to fix that, that'd be great.