Time for the Blues by Bob Ryan

blues playoffsHere we go….the hockey playoff season has just started its long trek to June…our hometown heroes have their usual high hopes but they can’t seem to jump across that long canyon to reach round 2…first though…to get us in the Blues “mood”…here’s a bit of history

…the Blues inaugural season 1967-68 saw them finish in 3rd place in the 6 team conference…as you know..the entire conference were new franchises…the NHL in a remarkably progressive move…doubled the size of the league…anyway…I digress…the Blue knocked off Phil Flyers in the Quarters 4 games to 3 after taking a 3-1 in the series and losing game 6 in OT…the semifinal series against the Minnesota North-Stars saw the Blues win another series 4-3…this series saw the Blues win 3 of the 4 OT games! The Blues were swept 4-0 by the Montreal Canadians in the championship series….every game of this final series was won by just one goal and two of the games were OT!! Goalie Glenn Hall was voted the MVP of the series for his miraculous play in the nets for the Blues

…the Blues were the last of the six expansion teams to be chosen. St. Louis was awarded the franchise..in heavy measure…due to the insistence of Blackhawks owners- the Wirtz family- who just happened to own the St. Louis Arena at the time…hhmmmm…guess money still talked back then   Five of the original expansion franchises still exist—St. Louis Blues, Minnesota North Stars, Phil Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins & LA Kings. But the 6th team failed…the California Seals…based in Oakland didn’t make it. The NHL wanted two California teams. Red Berenson led the scoring in that 1st year with 22 goals & 29 assists. For you guys who are dozing off because you know the Blues like the back of ur hand…what’s Scotty Bowman’s REAL first name? In the next year, 1968-69, Montreal swept the series but none of the games were close. In the third consecutive trip to the championship series in 69-70, it was the Boston Bruins who won the series 4-0….who can forget the SI Cover pic of Bobby Orr flying through the air after scoring a winning goal? ….since then….ugh….it’s been dry…real dry

…since those first three Glory years, additional rounds have been added to the playoffs. Only twice since 1970 have the Blues made it to the 3rd round – in 1985-86 with Jacques Demers and 2000-01 with Joel Quenneville at the helm…ironicaly, Quenneville now stands behind the bench of this year’s 1st round opponent, the Blackhawks.

…from one who’s never even TRIED to ice skate…my thoughts are   1) That the Blues will need scoring in game 1 & 2 from lines other than the Tareasenko  line….I would imagine that Chicago will put their best defenders and toughest offensive line on the ice when #91 is on the ice 2) I really believe that the Blues want a hectic pace throughout the entire game and series because of their depth and youth. 3) penalties…which always seem to be evened out by the officials…and power plays are absolutely crucial 4) in addition to Tareasenko…I’m looking in my crystal ball and see strong play from Robbi Fabbri, Troy Brouwer and hopefully Jaden Schwartz. I’m not good at judging defenders…some would say that I’m not good at any hockey expertise (they’re rightJ )I’ll leave judgement on defensive players up to you pro Blues watchers…I assume that the 2 or 3 defensive players with the most playing time are doing the best.

…Haven’t guessed Scotty Bowman’s first name …how about any of these guys….                 Whitey Ford? Tug McGraw? Minnie Minoso? Chipper Jones? Get those fab five later on ..

So…is it an advantage to play the entire first week of the MLB schedule at home? Take a glance at some of the results—Atlanta 0-5 (doesn’t matter where they play—it could be in the back yard….the Braves are really, really bad; Baltimore 5-0, Cincy 5-1, Arizona 2-5, KC 4-1, Angels 2-4…it clearly sparked the Reds who will fall back; pushed the O’s off quickly and hurt the D-backs…everyone else played about as one would expect…so…the only advantage is a big crowd on opening day

Trending up   ….                                                                                                                                            

…despite a horrific spring training, Brandon Phillips has hit .353 for the first 10 days

…in Pittsburgh, the value of Johnny Peralta skyrocketed…now Al Diaz has stopped the discussion of “how soon will he be back”?

…Jonathan Papelbon has 4 saves already for Washington

…how long can Big Papi hit? He’s been running like a slow-pitch player for a decade

…John Jay is hitting .300 for the Padres…be interesting to see how he reacts to going back to every-day playing…the Cards just didn’t have a place for him

…I’m still sentimental but…Lou Brock’s courage to throw that 1st pitch really capped off a nice pre-game for me….I still enjoy seeing our Cardinal stars of the past greeting the new season with the team….I heard people complaining on the radio today that they missed the air show (which took place) and some eagle flying around …why don’t they go to Busch Gardens instead of Busch Stadium if that’s what they want to see?

…easily…to me…Tim McCarver is the best partner for Danny Mc

 

Trending down …..                                                                                                                                              

….will the Twins ever recover from this 0-7 beginning? ..I doubt it

…Seattle has no .300 hitters at this point and only two over .260 ..ugh

….Atlanta’s hurler Dan Winkler “throwing out his elbow” on Sunday was really painful to watch ..much less to endure…and to realize that your MLB dreams are only dreams now

…after two starts Max Scherzer’s ERA is 4.15…not exactly “ace-like”

…Todd Frazier’s early days in the AL (White Sox) isn’t as he planned (hitting .207)

…great…now collegiate coaches can tweet their recruits….well…we’ll see full time tweeters (in lieu of coaches) sending out a continual barrage of tweets to these youngsters..boy.. I don’t envy the teachers who are attempting to teach those youngsters…I can hear it now in the middle of class…”Hey everyone I just heard from urban Meyer..cool, heh” or worse yet, “ hey…I just heard from Barry Odom”… a classmate says, “who?”

…Matt Holliday is turning around complaining almost daily to the umpires…wake up big boy.. if ur doing it every day…it’s YOU!

…Matt Adams has been shelved after one week….he’ll have to be traded if this continues

….Atlanta was really bad…that I say that before…that’s OK…horrible with no hope…guess they’ll really fill that new stadium with these misfits

 

Just treading water…..

…So Albert has more Stolen bases than HR in 2016? 1 -0

…Am League west standings—the 1st place team (Oakland) is 4-3..come on..gimme a break..aren’t there any good teams in that division

…so when’s the last time you remember a 1B leading off?…John Jaso –Pirates

…right now, Fowler hitting .455, Heyward .250

 

So you can sleep tonight…..

William Scott “Scotty” Bowman; Edward Charles “Whitey” Ford; Frank “Tug” Edwin McGraw Jr.; Orestes “Minnie” Miñoso; Larry Wayne “Chipper” Jones

  

Comments

  1. John Rocco says:

    Bob, good stuff. I enjoyed the article very much.

    John

  2. Jim Pleimann says:

    Common sense says it is the Hawks in six. But I say again, if the Blues shock us all in the first round, they could be playing a while… They are good – But they will have to be great to beat Chicago. Luck helps too as in game #1

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