Preseason hockey is finally here, and with it the never-ending debate over whether or not we should care. It feels like every year, hockey fans split into two groups: the “fake hockey” cadre or the “let’s evaluate prospects!” clique. Personally, I’m firmly in camp number two, but this year the preseason feels more significant than it usually does.
It’s probably because we can actually see the prospects and players with our own two eyes, either live and in person, or live and on TV. That second option is a bit more convoluted than it needs to be, which if you’ve lived through the first year of the Bally Sports TV deal, should not shock anyone. The Blues game is not available on Bally Sports Midwest, despite this afternoon’s Cubs/Cardinals game surely being done by puck drop. It’s not available on Bally Sports Midwest Plus, either.
If you have a streaming TV service like Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, fuboTV, or Sling TV, you are also out of luck. Due to cost, the services have dropped Bally Sports Midwest like a hot potato. You’ll need TV Everywhere credentials - meaning you must be subscribed to a cable or streaming service that offers the network - to validate your ability to view the game on the network’s app. You also have to be in the metro St. Louis viewing area, so if you’re an out of town fan, you’re going to have to rely on the radio.
This is a shame, because tonight’s line-up looks like a lot of fun. From the Blues’ official site:
Forwards: Ivan Barbashev, Tyler Bozak, Kyle Clifford, Dakota Joshua, Michael Frolik, Klim Kostin, James Neal, Jake Neighbours, Brandon Saad, Robert Thomas, Vladimir Tarasenko, Alexei Toropchenko
Defense: Robert Bortuzzo, Tyson Galloway, Colton Parayko, Scott Perunovich, Steven Santini, Jake Walman
Goalies: Ville Husso, Charlie Lindgren
There are several notable players in the lineup tonight. The game marks Brandon Saad’s debut in a Blues jersey, professional tryout candidates Michael Frolik and James Neal will get a chance to show that they’ve still got gas in the tank, and Klim Kostin will be fighting to make the opening night roster for what feels like the hundredth season in a row.
Most notably among the regulars, both Colton Parayko and Vladimir Tarasenko should be fully rehabbed and ready to go. Tonight being a preseason game, we may or may not be able to see their full effort on display, but it’ll be a good chance to look at what some off-season rehab and conditioning has yielded. Saad and Tarasenko will be skating with Robert Thomas tonight, which if that line sticks, could be a lot of regular-season fun for however long it lasts.
Jake Neighbours and Scott Perunovich will also be taking the ice tonight. Neighbours more than likely will not start the year with the NHL club, but his development has been solid and he’s been working hard this off-season to make a name for himself, even arriving early to get workouts in. Perunovich as well is not a lock to start with the Blues, but if there’s injury or a chance for regular playing time, he should that experience in. He had an excellent Traverse City tournament, and by all accounts has been solid during the first two days of training camp.
Tonight’s the first preseason game, and by virtue of that, tonight is also the first GameDay Thread. Take the new and improved commenting system for a test drive, and feel free to let us know what you think of it so we can pass that along to the powers that be.
This is your first GameDay Thread of the season. Let’s get back into regular season form. Let’s do this. Let’s go Blues.