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Watching hockey as a fan again is fun

Leave the hockey doses, take the bourbon

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at St. Louis Blues Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Disclaimer: This is not a post about St. Louis Blues hockey. Well, not entirely.

I haven’t watched enough games, periods, or shots to scream at people in a legit manner for even uttering the phrase, “fire Craig Berube.” All I will do is be lazy and head over to Hockey Reference and tell you his record as coach of the Blues is 90-45-18, with a points percentage of 65%. Above average, so please stop saying those three hysterical words.

What I have noticed about this team is that they could really be something if the roster stopped dropping like flies. Carl Gunnarsson is gone for the season. This follows last week’s news that Ivan Barbashev is out for six weeks. Colton Parayko has a bad back. Vladimir Tarasenko is coming back sometime, I guess. Tyler Bozak and Sammy Blais have missed a lot of games. Remarkably, Zach Sanford has played in 18 games. They are walking wounded, so don’t expect a ton of wins. Resiliency only comes in waves. (Just wait for Sanford to score six goals in a week and turn the tables.)

But I am here to tell you that hockey content coming from my desk is going to be far less than usual. A quick tweet didn’t tell the whole story, so allow me to inform you of the boring reason for why I have only written two Blues-related articles this month: I don’t have time.

Don’t have time for Blues hockey? No. I have caught at least a little of each game, sometimes even a period or two-but not enough to form opinions, put them on the internet, and deal with useless social media day-long arguments and finger-pointing contests. If you’re going to step into the suck, be prepared. I am not in the 2020-21 season.

Priorities lie elsewhere at the moment, and that includes film critic work and baseball commentary-the things people actually look to me for. There were Jordan Kyrou and Justin Faulk pieces for my new day job, St. Louis Jewish Light, but even those felt like I was going through the motions. The words were genuine, but the passion was depleted. When my articles feel more like reports and not like a unique take, a red light is blinking. That’s not what I do, or like to do-unless there’s money involved.

I prefer to rant, step into the shoes of the outsider, and say what I want. There was a time when a platform was enough for me, but bills and life can be the harshest editors in town. I also don’t like to be called what I am not and cast out like some demon for writing something that I thought was earnest (still waiting on that email response). Believe or not, two of the biggest flaps I have gotten into occurred on this Game Time. Let’s detail them because no one like taking a shot at me more than the guy typing.

Anton Andersson gate. Oh my. Don’t forget to check names. Never trust a rumor, even from a reliable friend. A day where I made enemies and new friends, with Jeremy Rutherford being one of my new allies oddly enough. He could have come down on me for putting out a rumor that set Blues Twitter on fire, and had Buffalo sports talk radio stations making fun of me while begging me to come on their show. But JR didn’t, and that’s why he’s the best.

For a guy who likes attention, it was a visceral experience. One former friend compared my reporting mishap to a terrible shooting tragedy at the Maryland Capital Gazette. You know who you are. That was a DUMB move. Bad tweet. Bad everything. Sometimes, stopping and thinking is the sharpest tool in the shed. Double check, triple check, quadruple check sources.

Next up was this year’s “man who should never be mentioned ever on SB Nation” debacle. The second time one of my articles was ghosted inside a year (aka deleted forever) from a website, even if there were good intentions on both occasions. Sometimes, people look for the evil element in writing, even if the other 600 words were noble. That’s how it works. If i had to do it all over again, I would have changed asshat’s name to Darth Vader or Mike Matheny, or something.

But it all comes back to passion and time for. I don’t have the passion to write about hockey these days, and no one is racing forward to pay me for it. There’s nothing worse than reading an article written by someone without passion for what he/she/they are writing about. It’s boring and diluted, so I won’t be doing that. The #1 rule I set on myself when this prose operation began was either get paid to do it or have passion for it.

So, I will enjoy hockey as a fan again. Tweet things out that anger, influence, or get people talking. I LOVE doing that. Sparking conversation that doesn’t result in three former high school hockey players, four armchair coaches, and the Crash Davis of Rec League hockey screaming at each other on Jack’s website. I will not miss St. Louis Blues Lounge name-calling fests. It’s all just hateful and wasteful of everyone’s time.

As far as the Blues are concerned, I still believe this team can get healthy and take a run at the Cup. But if not, just enjoy the sport. It’s back, teams are skating again, and the game is breathing easy again. COVID-19 isn’t strangling every genuine thing in the world, and that needs to be celebrated. For once, don’t ask for a coach’s or player’s job. Try to come up with a better solution than just firing and releasing people. Once upon a time, I offered to drive Jay Bouwmeester to the airport. These days, I wish his heart was stronger and he was still playing.

That’s sports for you. Players rise and fall. The puck slides in mysterious ways. Goaltenders are great and are then merely stuck behind a weary defense. Just be patient and see if there’s a turnaround. Remember what Jimmy wrote and Robert sang: “Good times, bad times, you know I’ve had my share.”

I may write more. I may not. It may be here, or it may be at my website, Dose of Buffa. No big deal. I’ll be watching and tweeting @buffa82. It’s not goodbye really; it’s just I’ll never see you again.