Monday, September 11, 2006

Ahh, that's why they call them the Blues

The Blues have always been a good team. Not sure of an equivalent in another sport - not sure if there is.

Solid. Always in the playoffs. But after their opening three years when they were the best expansion team and thus represented the West in the finals (and talk about as close to a gimme Cup win as you could get for the Habs in 68 and 69 and the Bruins in 70 - win your conference and you're done) they haven't even been back to the Finals.

Hmm.

They looked to be making a move on the powers in the West a few years back but Larry Pleau traded some of the young talent that was part of that success for big tickets like Doug Weight and Keith Tkachuk and ended up with a top heavy roster with not a lot between the pipes and the end result - playoff failure. Can't blame Pleau for going for it but it did not work out and after the lockout he bit the bullet. Al MacInnes retired. He traded Pronger and then dumped other vets as the year played itself out.

Some think the Blues will be better this year and of course there's the old joke that they could not be much worse. On the plus side - Curtis Sanford had decent numbers and he and Manny Legace will likely provide pretty good goaltending although Manny is going to realize pretty quickly how good he had it all of those years. And in Jay McKee, Eric Brewer, Christian Backman and Barrett Jackman they have a pretty nice top four D.

Their big problem - up front. Doug Weight showed that he is no longer the player he once was - he helped Carolina on the PP but the Canes are not going to miss him, I think. Bill Guerin, Dallas Drake, Martin Rucinsky, Keith Tkachuk. Nice bunch of forwards. If it were 1996. Hopefully Tkachuk will have a different conditioning plan this season other then waddling up to the buffet.

Problem for the Blues - they don't have a lot up front in the way of ready prospects - watch for them to fade early and deal some of those vets to try and get some.

Finally, if anyone can beat this for the weirdest story of why someone is a fan of a team, I would certainly like to hear it.

I met a guy who went to university with a buddy of mine and this guy was a diehard Blues fan.

Why?

He grew up in Southern Ontario so sadly as a child his loyalties were to that tragic default - the Leafs.

Until suddenly a thunderbolt.

And after that - it was the St. Louis Blues all the way.

That thunderbolt?

Inge Hammerstrom was traded from the Leafs to the Blues.

The guy who Harold Ballard (I know, consider the source) once said of - he could go into a corner with a dozen eggs in his pocket and come out with not a one broken.

And he did not mean that in a good way.

Possible modern comparison. Being a Leafs' fan because of Jonas Hoglund.

So that is the Campbell Conference.

As for the Prince of Wales its going to be short sketches in bunches.

Training camps are about to start.
Work is crazy.
Both my kids have birthdays in the next month, my wife too.
And my wife and I are going to London to celebrate five years of marriage.

Plus I don't really care about the East so much. This being an Oiler's blog and all.

5 comments:

lowetide said...

Inge Hammarstrom was actually a good player. He was very skilled and could pass and take a pass no matter the situation.

Ballard was an ass to label him that way. Unfortunately it doesn't make Harold's top 2000.

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

LT - who would you compare him to today?

I was six or seven at the time and up in Sudbury we got Montreal games Saturday night - few Leafs' games although I did see Sittler score ten points.

I wouldn't doubt he was a good player but to me its still a weird guy to become a fan of a team for.

lowetide said...

BDHS:

Yeah, I don't think he's a guy who you would change teams over. I don't even know how to do that lol, I'm still a Montreal Expos fan. :-)

A very good comp for Inge Hammarstrom imo would be Kristian Huselius.

Julian said...

I have a friend who's a huge Devils fan because when he was young, he found a hockey card of a Devils player who born in the same town as he, even though he grew up in Toronto. I can't rememember who the player was, but i'm pretty sure he was even more annonymous than Inge Hammarstrom.

uni said...

Black Dog please do a profile of the Islanders...please please please oh deary me my oh please!