Let’s Try This Again: St. Louis Blues In Minnesota For 2022 Winter Classic

(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /

This decade has not been particularly kind to the St. Louis Blues. After winning their first Stanley Cup in 2019, the Blues were cruising through the following regular season and even hosted a fantastic All-Star event.

That was about the last, good thing to happen once the numbers flipped over to 2020 and then 2021. The Blues playoff bubble was burst with a horrendous showing against the Vancouver Canucks in 2020.

The 2021 regular season was awash with inconsistency and injury and the playoffs were close games individually, but ultimately they got swept. Pouring salt in those wounds, the Blues were robbed of a chance to play in their second NHL Winter Classic.

Prior to the pandemic mess, the Blues were supposed to play the Minnesota Wild in the Hockey State in January 2021. Since there would not be fans in the stands, the NHL wisely made the call not to start the 2021 season with that game and postponed/cancelled it – they were never fully clear on the language.

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It was always widely assumed that the Wild would get to host either the next one or another outdoor game very soon. Whether it would be in 2022 or whether the Blues would remain the opponent was anyone’s guess.

Now, we know the time and the opponent. It will be the Blues. It will happen on January 1, 2022, as per an NHL press release.

As was the case for the postponed version, this game will take place at Target Field, which is the summertime home of the Minnesota Twins.

I would think TCF Bank Stadium, where the Minnesota Gophers play, would be a better idea. Baseball stadiums typically have bad sight views because the seats aren’t turned to view the middle of the field.

You can also get more than 10,000 extra fans in the Gophers’ home stadium. But, baseball stadiums are all the rage for these things and Target Field is a beautiful stadium. I still think Minnesota is more associated with football than baseball, but I digress.

Overall, we should all be happy the league chose to just copy and paste 2021’s plan. There were rumors they might switch the opponent or push it another year, both of which were possible.

An example of that is Florida being the 2021 All-Star Game host and Vegas being awarded the event for 2022 instead of allowing the Panthers to just take hosting duties a little later. The NHL could have easily said they had been working with (insert city name) for 2022 behind the scenes prior to the pandemic and it would not be fair to deny them.

Instead, the Blues will have their chance to play in their second Winter Classic in about five years. Those aren’t Chicago Blackhawks numbers, but Blues fans will take it when they were not sure they’d ever get to play in one, let alone two, let alone host one.

Then again, Nashville is getting a Stadium Series game in 2022. So, who knows how the NHL decides these things.

What is cool is there will be a good mix of players that played in the first one for the Blues and also some getting their first chance. Jordan Binnington will not be nervous in his first NHL outdoor game, as well as Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas. Other guys like Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz and Brayden Schenn (assuming the best for the expansion draft) will lace them up for an outdoor game for the second time.

Next. Blues fans will always remember Carl Gunnarsson. dark

There will always be a question of whether these should be exhibitions or real games, but they’re fun as hell, even on TV. The pomp and circumstance around the whole thing is something just about all fans can lean into.

Now, let’s just keep our fingers crossed that this decade doesn’t throw another bucket of water on something Blues related when we’re just a couple years in.