Monday, April 07, 2008
BLUES ON BLUES
We attended the last home game of the St. Louis Blues, watching a meaningless game against Columbus Blue Jackets. These two teams were among the 14 non-playoff teams. Out of respect to the fans, the players played a physical game, checking hard, moving the pucks at high speed and there were many fights broke out, starting with less than 5 minutes into the first period.
The Blues had the fourth-lowest point total in the league which gave the team a chance at winning the lottery for the 1st round draft pick. This is the kind of lottery no sport teams would want to win. Under the NHL lottery system, only the five teams with the fewest points (losing the most games) had the chance to win the first overall drafting position for the Entry Draft. The Blues won the game 4-1, still in the bottom five teams with the worst records and in contention for the top selection in the draft.
The above photo captured an interview of Manny Legace when he was presented the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. The signs "Thank You Blues Fans" kept flashing throughout the arena. There was not much to celebrate or even to get excited as the NHL first round Conference quarterfinal to start on April 9th. This is the 2nd straight year that the Blues missed the playoffs. There was high hopes with the signing of Paul Kariya, then Andy McDonald who was supposed to add depth to the line with Kariya and Tkachuk. Late addition of Cam Janssen, acquired from New Jersey Devils did not make major impact to the games. Young players such as Brad Boyes and Erik Johnson could not carry the team into the playoffs despite of individual scoring records.
There were many prizes given out, but no free beer. I was not quick enough to capture the sign that read "Just Kidding!" after the above sign was displayed. We were disappointed that the Blues did not give out free tickets for next season. The last few years, all fans attended the last home game would receive a coupon to trade in for one free ticket. Mind you these free tickets were extremely restricted such as only weekday games, no Detroit, Chicago, Colorado games or any other popular teams.
The banners (photo below) showed the years the Blues won Division, Conference, League titles and in 2000 the President's Trophy. The one banner that is still missing from the rafters is the Stanley Cup Championship (Detroit Red Wings has 10 Stanley Cup banners). Perhaps next season, until then, it is entertaining listening to Charles Glenn singing, "When the Cup matching in to St. Louis"!