As many of you clamor for the start of the season, I think it is time to reflect on the great surprises of the past season, enjoy the frantic and desperate moves made by opposing teams (Hello, Shea Weber!), and appreciate the Blues potential for the upcoming season. There is a feeling of hope surrounding a St. Louis team that won its first division title since 1999-2000, with a core group of players that should be bluenotes for the forseeable future. The Blues are the type of team that inspire a following from even the most unethusiastic hockey fan, with their never-say-die attitude and unbelievable effort against teams that consistently look more talented than them. The Blues are chronic overachievers, a retro team that brings feelings of classic hockey in a town not typically known for it.
St. Louis is not Minnesota, New York, or Pittsburgh, but the entire Blues organization, spearheaded by Doug Armstrong, have turned this mid-market franchise into a team that you can’t help but root for, albeit the apparent lack of a superstar. The Blues are the Oklahoma City Thunder of the NHL, building from the ground up, through the draft and subtle offseason moves, and most importantly, keeping their home grown talent with the team (Oshie and Perron should be past their primes when, or should I say if, they hit free agency). They will not be big spenders or make a lot of offseason noise, just as there team will not put up a sensational amount of goals, but they will win, a lot.
The Blues have built the franchise back to relevancy the right way, and look to be a power in the west for years to come. It’s not often as a fan that you get to see your team young and on the rise, ready to make a play for the cup this season, while not mortgaging the future on overpaid free agents or near-sighted trades. The Blues fit St. Louis like a glove – they are an underrated squad with an unbreakable spirit, who will undoubtedly gain fans as more people experience the lure of this selfless team that just wants to win. So, as you ready up the body paint and get your arms loose for the power-play dance (I still don’t know why that exists), remember to savor this offseason, it is one filled with unbelievable amounts of hope and expectations, but neither desperation or criticism. A rarity in today’s NHL.