The first thing I did was read St. Louis Game Time editor Brad Lee's brilliant "Concussion" centered article while I waited for my friend Max Foizey to arrive. This is how any Blues fan should start their live game experience. Seriously, for four dollars a fan can read commentary, records, stats and much more. Do it next time because our vendors sell in the pouring rain.
As a man who gets to watch 2-3 games per season down in Little Rock "Fox Sports Midwest Blacked out hockey" Arkansas, this was a real treat. I had to make the most of it. So here are ten things I saw and appreciated on Saturday night.
10. Former Blue Terry Yake sat next to us. He used to be a hockey player, played for the Blues and scored the first ever Mighty Ducks goal. He was surrounded by women and is supposedly a big deal. I did NOT get out of my seat to greet him.
9. The power play dance still sucks. Do people not understand where this dance originated from? Yeah, keep doing it and suck the whole time.
8. Kevin Shattenkirk has skills. The kind of skills that make power play execution better. Maybe it's the fact that he keeps the puck in the zone or the fact that he doesn't seem to force a shot or pass, but the Blues power play no longer ranks last in the NHL with his help on the blue line. The Blues have gone from last to 6th in the league in power play efficiency. In that time, Shatty has assisted or scored on nearly every power play goal. Give him some rogaine for that performance.
7. Intermissions go by too fast. Especially when you have bad cellular reception(Sprint sucks) and are trying to meet fellow STLGT peeps.
6. Some Blues fans are stupid. Sure, Jori Lehtera, Dmitri Jaskin and David Backes don't take shootout chances often but they all scored Saturday night. According to a fan behind me, Backes was supposed to lose the puck before he scored the eventual goal that led to the extra point the Blues received. Each scored on moves and didn't just stop and try to wrist one by a tired goalie.
5. Nine shootout rounds is a little much so let's toss out shootouts all together and go with 3 on 3 overtime for an extra 3-5 minutes. Seriously, there's nothing more thrilling, blood pressure rising and mini seizure inducing than 3 on 3 hockey. I want more. Shootouts suck. Goalies agree. Do you want evidence...well....
4. Jake Allen did allow unofficially six goals on Saturday night. No big deal. I think. Allen wasn't enthused.
3. I am sure there is a method to the madness but having Vladimir Tarasenko not start overtime was ridiculous. Why save the best player on the ice for a minute after overtime starts? What if the other team strikes and scores and Tarasenko is left watching? You play pickup style hockey and there is no time to waste. It wasn't until I screamed "Send in the Russian" that he appeared and nearly won the game. The best thing about the kid, apart from the easy available 70 million reasons to admire him and buy his jersey, is his quick release. It may be faster than Alexander Ovechkin. Next time, put him out there to start 3-3 hockey.
2. Magnus Paajarvi sure raised his trade value Saturday, didn't he? His shot stinks. His ice awareness is average and all he has is speed, speed, speed!!!! His David Perron impersonation in the shootout was laughable.
1. The Blues scored a slick two points by scoring seven goals total and saved ZERO for Sunday's shutout in Dallas.
Hey, look how great Brian Elliott played in Dallas Sunday. He once again got little to show for his valiant efforts. Look for him again in two weeks. It's a shame.
My first Scotttrade game revealed three things:
First, there is still nothing like live hockey. I told Foizey that playoff hockey is the greatest thing on the earth but when you see any level of hockey live, it feels like a playoff game. Seeing the Blues and Stars trade blows like heavyweights inside the Scottrade bowl was a thrill. Max's home game attendance record is still perfect in the Blues favor(Haha Hitch's Hat).
Second, the Blues have two very good goaltenders. One barely works but when he does, the results aren't pretty but his play is above average. That guy's name is Brian Elliott. His comments after Sunday's game could have ran like this, "Yeah, I piss excellence in the net lately but that smooth end of the bench is where I call home all the time." Once again, I am an Allen guy but with a crowded December, Ells deserves more games.
Finally, this is a very good team and they deserve more sellouts at home. As Art Lippo elaborated on Friday, this home attendance performance is still shitty. The next person who says "I want a Winter Classic" gets a stick to the shin. Take a look at those attendance numbers Papa New Guinea home slice. If you say, "well, they choke come playoff time", you were never a fan to begin with. There were empty seats on Saturday. A lot of them. Rain doesn't matter. The holidays don't matter. The Blues deserve better. Go to more games. And when you do, buy a St. Louis Game Time paper.
Now go away.