FINALLY … THE BLUES HAVE COME BACK TO NHL ACTION! These days I find myself imitating “The Rock” for how pumped I am to have Blues hockey back in our lives. REAL Blues hockey. Like it or not, that bubble didn’t give us the feeling that we all had in St. Louis during that Cup run in ’18-’19. For some reason, though, this season feels different.
Tonight begins a season that will be unlike any other in the NHL past or future with 56 games being played in 116 days. That means the Blues will realistically be playing a game every other day until the middle of May once post season begins. 56 games played against the same seven opponents with back-to-back games in three days. Think of the hatred that you used to have (and still do) for the Blackhawks and Red Wings in the 90s. That is a sense of what this season will feel like for fans when they watch the Blues play the Avalanche for the sixth and seventh time on a Saturday-Monday match-up or a Thursday-Saturday match-up against Vegas to end the regular season.
Making things even sweeter, for this season that is unlike any other, is the fact that this Blues team might be the best looking team on paper since the President’s Trophy roster. The additions of Krug and Hoffman have provided plenty of optimism for a team that lacked secondary offense last season. On top of that we have players that should be ready for a break out season. Guys like Robert Thomas is anticipated to have a big offensive year by taking on a higher role as a top sixth centerman. To provide depth, Sanford and Kyrou who are expected to being a scoring punch to the lineup. Finally, the defensive unit that includes Colton Parayko taking over the “lead” role left by Pietrangelo could put this defense back at the top of the league. They’re in a division that is a powerhouse with Colorado and Vegas but the optimism should be at an all-time high for this condensed schedule.
There is an element that many haven’t talked about that I feel this season will provide. The hint of a new beginning. We can all agree that 2020 was terrible and 2021 hasn’t started off on a great foot either. The thought of the Blues playing and not allowing fans inside Enterprise Center blows, but the prospect of a shift at some point this season provides me hope. Imagine this, April roles around and the restrictions begin to lighten, and on the cusp of a postseason, fans are allowed back in the building. By May and June, a large capacity of fans are in attendance to watch Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs between the Blues and Avalanche. That may be optimistic but it’s the turn of a new leaf from a crappy year, to a year that puts us on the track of normalcy. That’s what the 20-21 Blues season can provide.
All of the being said, I am ecstatic to be back on the air for pre/post games this season bringing you all the action with Kerbs and Joey. Tom Stillman has shown the city of St. Louis that this team is a winner by spending to the cap in a pandemic. Doug Armstrong has done everything he could to stick to his word and keep this championship window “wide open”. Now it all depends on our Blues proving to everyone that they “are the most electrifying team” in the National Hockey League.