Although the offseason is beginning a little sooner than we would've liked, at least we get to free up the time and money commitments to other pursuits. I've fallen into the questionable habit of putting off projects and other entertainments until the offseason. That time has arrived, so it's time to dig in. One of the first of those is this little nugget right here.
In what will (I hope) become a regular feature, I plan on sharing what I'm thinking about to the St Louis (and larger) hockey world. I don't want any delusions of grandeur, though. Frankly, this is already being done - better - by Elliotte Friedman of SportsNet and his "30 Thoughts" column. In my case, I can only hope to be 20% as ... thoughtful? So, as we head into the weekend, here's a sampling of what you can expect from me going forward.
1) Become a Better Blogger: Starting with this entry here, I want to "stretch my blogging muscles" a little. Aside from utility roles with the odd GameDay Thread or breaking news FanShot, my primary role as a writer here has been with the road game previews. I've been doing that since ... well, since the Blues started the season in Sweden. That's a long-ass time. I needed to do something different, so expect to see a different name attached to the road game previews. This'll allow me to do this and also focus on the podcast too.
2) Read At Least 1 Hockey Book: Last offseason, I had this as my goal, and I was able to finish 1 and get about halfway through another before the season began again. For what it's worth, last year's reads are highly recommended:
For this year, it will be
I don't read books as much as I used to, which was once quite a lot. Sadly, too much of that has been supplanted with Twitter. And the thing about Twitter - there's no. end. to it. You NEVER Finish. So, I save the hockey lit for the offseason. I know I'm behind the curve with these, but I've sat on them long enough.
3) Entertainment: Last offseason I challenged myself to watch every episode of NCIS on NetFlix before the new season started. What can I say, I'm a Gibbs fan. It actually took me up to the second week or so of the season to finish those off. Now, another season's gone by, and I gotta catch up yet again. Also, I'm a couple seasons behind on Arrow and I need to start The Flash. So, in other words I plan on regaining my geek cred. I've managed to avoid some other classic binge-worthy shows up to this point, but I don't want to over-commit by starting those now.
4) Start Planning for the Winter Classic: This year we are (finally) the hosts for the Winter Classic. For one day, we'll have the undivided attention of the whole hockey world. There will surely be some gatherings for the out-of-towners, and for one shining moment season-ticket holders will be the most popular people in their respective workplaces. By the way, I'm only a half-season plan guy, and no, I can't get you a ticket too. Sorry. However, I do expect to see a lot of "owe you a beer" IOUs getting cashed in around that time. I may have to take a second job. Anybody hiring part time?
5) Work on the Podcast: Hey, did you know we have a podcast? We're doing Beyond Checkerdome on a weekly schedule again through free agency. After things quiet down in July, we'll slow down to every-other week. But we will always have something to say, and beer to drink while we're saying it. Also before.... and probably afterwards too. Each episode will be posted here, and also to most podcast apps that you may already use. As fun as it already is, I want to devote more time to making it even better. The offseason is a great time to tinker. If you have any ideas or suggestions, feel free to pass them our way, @ByndCheckerdome or BeyondCheckerdome AT G Mail DOT com.
6) Become a Better Hockey Fan: Hey, did you know that there's still hockey going on, outside of the NHL? Last year I had good intentions of following hockey Down Under and blew it. I have a chance to try again this year with the AIHL. It's winter there, so it's perfect timing to allow us to continue watching hockey. Go ahead, latch onto a team and keep tabs. They're a little over a month in, and they finish at the end of August. Also in August is the Ivan Hlinka Tournament, and just after that the Traverse City prospects tournament. Then comes September and with it the women's leagues, the World Cup, and the beginning of the junior hockey leagues and eventually NHL training camp.
You know, this is almost like making New Year's resolutions. Hopefully, these plans will last a little longer. I'm extremely interested in what you'll be doing with your suddenly free time this offseason. If you plan on doing some reading this summer - even if it's not Hockey Lit - drop us a comment below and tell the class. What else will you be doing over the break? Maybe you have big travel plans. Maybe there's a kid on the way, or a wedding. Or perhaps you've wisely planned for that liver transplant that you've always talked about. We're not here to judge (OK, I think some of you are, but not me).
It's a good time to be a Blues fan; how are you going to spend that time?