Not Very Neighborly & Poor Hospitality Expected

Last night we watched Neighbors, a relatively new (give me a break, I’m behind the times!) DVD release featuring Seth Rogen & Zach Efron (and Rose Byrne in a role that surprised me, she always struck me as more “refined” lol, but I digress) in a raunchy comedy, co-produced by Rogen. I like those actors, and the movie was ultimately pretty funny, but overall I’d have to give it a thumbs down. If you haven’t seen it don’t bother. There are funnier, better written flicks out there. Just saying.

We watch a lot of movies (or try to) on nights the Blues aren’t playing, which is fun and I sometimes just grab titles that I’ve heard are good and occasionally we get a dud. It happens. The Blues *are* on tonight and it’s their 2nd and final regular season meeting with the New York Islanders.

I’m a fan of the Isles, they’re my team in the East, but when the Blues visited Long Island last week they were treated pretty poorly by their host. Smacked around and down 3-0 after only one period, the Blues eventually fought back (figuratively) and won the game 6-4, but at great cost.

About halfway through the 2nd period, with the score 3-2 NY, Islanders forward Anders Lee hit Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson right in the face with a flying elbow, possibly knocking him briefly unconscious (watch the way Gunny falls to the ice) and putting him out of not only that game, but giving him a concussion which has him currently unable to play, missing the next game and likely any hockey skating or otherwise for the near future.

Lee wasn’t called for a penalty on the play, despite direct hits to the head being deemed illegal by the NHL. He did end up having a hearing with NHL Player Safety though only after the league learned of Gunny’s concussion. Lee wasn’t suspended (as many felt he should be) and received only a $2,286.29 fine. Half a day’s pay and the most allowed under the current collective bargaining agreement.

Concussions in sports have a glaring spotlight on them these days and while the NHL claims to be interested in eliminating dangerous plays (i.e. blows to the head) I don’t think the punishment fits the crime here. It shouldn’t matter if the hit was unintentional. It also shouldn’t have made a difference how severe the injury was. It was a direct blow to the head which was the initial point of contact. By the NHL’s own definition a dangerous play. Concussions end careers, and who know how Gunnarsson will recover from the hit. If you put a guy out by hitting him in the head you shouldn’t play until he does.

The main reason I drudge up this story is that tonight the Islanders are visiting Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Anders Lee already showed he wasn’t man enough to stand up for himself last week when, later in the game, Blues enforcer Ryan Reaves challenged him to a fight. I’m extremely curious to see what, if any, retaliatory action is taken by the Blues on the ice against Lee. I’m torn between never wanting to see a guy get hurt and hoping to see Lee bleeding on the ice. Yeah, I went there.

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It’s Time for St. Louis Blues Hockey!

The time is upon us once again. Today is Blues Homer Opener Eve and the ‘Note looks ready to tackle the first game of the regular season tomorrow night at the Scottrade Center here in St. Louis. I no longer post my opinions over at BleedinBlue.com, but by no means should you avoid it. That’s my go-to site for Blues news.

I will prognosticate on all things St. Louis Blues (sounded good in my head) here on my lonely little corner of the internet and if you like what you read, or want to rip me a new one, please say so in the comments. Share my link and get some of your Blackhawks, Kings, or dare I say, Red Wings fan friends over here to spar with me!

On to the matter at hand. The Blues open the 2014-15 campaign Thursday, October 9 at home versus the New York Rangers. The roster of 23 was finalized yesterday morning after practice and the team looks ready to blow away last year’s offensive numbers. On paper. I’m very happy with the way the roster rounded out, especially in that Magnus Paajarvi won a spot as an extra forward in what is probably the deepest group the Blues have had in almost a decade.

Osh shows off the new road jersey

Here’s what the lines might look like tomorrow night. Regardless of the combinations, we know they’ll be sporting new sweaters.

Forwards

Patrik BerglundDavid BackesT.J. Oshie

Alexander SteenPeter StastnyJoakim Lindstrom

Jaden SchwartzJori LehteraVladimir Tarasenko

Steve OttMaxim LapierreRyan Reaves

Extras: Paajarvi and Chris Porter

Defensemen

Alex PietrangeloJay Bouwmeester

Kevin ShattenkirkIan Cole

Barret JackmanJordan Leopold

Coach Ken Hitchcock has already penciled Brian Elliott in as the starter in goal, explaining that with only 9 games this month both he and rookie Jake Allen will see playing time early on. Goaltending might be the only area the Blues don’t appear to be stacked, as neither Ells nor Allen has been a “true” number one goalie for any length of time. Hopefully the competition between the two netminders pushes them both to play lights-out.

The sparse October schedule is also the reason given for not placing newcomer Carl Gunnarsson on IR and keeping someone like local (Chaminade) product Chris Butler or Petteri Lindbohm on the big club roster. Gunnar (and Hitch) apparently feel he’s close to returning to contact and might even see game action by next week. St. Louis has a 4-day break between Game 2 this Saturday and Game 3 a week from Thursday. The Blues didn’t want to pay an extra defenseman to sit on the bench for 2 weeks.

My D-pairings are really just an educated guess and I’ve already heard something different:

Frankly those who are already Blues fans know the forward lines could change too after the first shift. Recently the coach mentioned he was liking the way Lehtera and Lindstrom were skating together, but Lehtera-Tarasenko was raved about since the start of camp. Hitch is all about chemistry, but if he sees something on the ice he rarely hesitates to make changes to his lines on the fly.

St. Louis scored 239 goals last season, tied for 6th in the league (with San Jose.) That was the best showing by the Blues in a decade. The additions up the middle if the ice of Stastny and Lehtera could mean an outbreak of offense the likes of which few current fans have ever seen. St. Louis led the league in Goals For in 1996-97 with 256. This year’s squad could rival that total from just their forwards. Don’t laugh, this is as deep a bunch as I can remember and the Blues could very well have multiple 25+ goal scorers this season.

Forward Jaden Schwartz now wears #17 in honor of his sister. Schwartz wore #9 last season

Yes, I’m drinkin’ the Kool-Ade, I always do. I was laughing yesterday with a co-worker about how almost every October Blues fans are excited and pumped-up only to be exhausted and deflated come the following Summer. I’m expecting HUGE things from the Blues this season, and anything short of (at least) a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals will be disappointing. Another quick playoff exit will likely also mean the last St. Louis fans see of Ken Hitchcock behind the bench.

The Blues start this season smack in the middle of (another) St. Louis Cardinals playoff run. I always Bleed Blue but the city is draped in red for now and I’m happy to root the Cards towards the World Series yet again. MLB Playoffs will make for some television conflicts as Game 1 of the NLCS coincides with the Blues game on Saturday, but that’s okay, I have 2 TVs 😉

GO BLUES! LONG LIVE THE NOTE!

Building a Better Blogroll with Blogging 101

Readers and (especially!) commenters help to enrich my blogging experience. I’d write without them, though perhaps in a different voice, but over time I’ve come to derive more enjoyment because of the opportunity to interact with other writers and bloggers. Blogging 101 continues to be a fun exercise in tightening up my blog, dotting all the I’s and crossing all the T’s.

Today’s assignment: share a few links you love.

Below are three links to blogs you should be reading if you’re reading mine. Which you are. In the past you’d be able to see my entire blogroll in my sidebar, but I don’t want to beleaguered the point I’ve changed things up. I’m happy with the new look despite my penchant for reminiscing about my now hidden widgets.

I wanted to highlight a few that don’t usually get linked but that I enjoy and appreciate. Start clicking!

Only Here, Only Now. Thomas Ross provides much-needed affirmation, relaxation, and stress relieving posts here. I hope they have the same calming, introspective effect on you that I get from reading there.

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog. This is one you’ll find me linked to from time to time because of Lance Burson’s feature there: The 100 Word Song. I thought I’d share a portal to his world of fatherhood, music, and leftist snark because it’s (sadly) been a while since I made time to join in the 100 Word fun. 

Thin Spiral Notebook. I like Tara R.’s blog because it’s full of photographs and still contains her writing. I’d like to take a cue from This Spiral and put more of my own images on my blog.

I wanted to throw this last one in there because not only did I used to write for BleedinBlue.com but I remain a huge Blues hockey fan. They have great articles about the team, the NHL, and all things hockey. Give them a follow!

The Boys are Back!

noteNo, I’ve not posted here in a long time or really written much of anything in a long time. Life gets in the way of the things we love sometimes, eh?

The Boys I speak of above are, of course, the St. Louis Blues of the NHL. The Blues opened their season with a home game last night against the Nashville Predators with a big win! Words cannot express how excited I am about hockey starting again, and like last year, I’ll be writing about the Blues over at BleedinBlue.com.

BB_FBCover

I’m not the only great writer (see what I did there?) on the BleedinBlue.com staff, so be sure to browse thoroughly, there’s a lot of good stuff there and with a full season (thank the Hockey gods!) there will be even more content this year than last.

I will once again be wagering the success of the Blues against some friends and their respective hometown teams, though it’s more of a “Twitter Friend Bet” this year, as one of them is more or less (semi?) retired from blogging.  I won last year and I think I’ll win again this year. I’m already up a point on the Wild and 2 on the Flyers. Yes, J, SD, I went there, whatcha gonna do about it? 😉

CARDSOne of the beautiful things about October, and one reason Fall is my favorite season, is that in addition to hockey starting up, the MLB playoffs have begun, and it’s always more fun when the Cardinals in involved. They murdered the Pittsburgh Pirates in Game 1 of the NLDS at Busch III last night, 9-1. The Pirates are the media darlings this year, the little engine that finally could, and while it could be a good series, the Birds on the Bat are off to a smashing start. Game 2 is another home game this afternoon. GO CARDS!

Other reasons Fall is the best: Baked Maple Pumpkin lattes from Kaldi’s Coffee in Kirkwood, cooler weather, honeycrisp apples, and Thanksgiving.

Stay tuned to this station for commentary on the Cardinals and Life in General and be sure to check out BleedinBlue.com for Blues news and notes. Thanks!

1st Annual NHL Blogger Bet Results are in!

Almost four months ago, on February 7th, two fellow bloggers, friends, and hockey fans and I made what was dubbed the 1st Annual NHL Blogger Bet. Jewels, Simple Dude and I decided that we were so excited hockey was finally starting (a nasty lockout cost us half the regular season) that we would start a wager, much like the ones you hear about made between mayors of cities whose respective teams were in championship games or series in professional sports. Jewel is a Philadelphia Flyers fan, SD is a Minnesota Wild fan, and I’m obviously a St. Louis Blues fan.

The team that lasted the longest into the post-season would be declared the winner, and that fan would receive gifts from the other two, ideally reflecting something about their own city/state. It was a really fun idea made all the more exciting for me because the Blues won! Now, if you follow the NHL you’ll know that they lasted only a single day longer than the Wild, but hey, a win is a win, right? I felt a twinge of guilt in accepting the title of “Winner,” but my friends are good sports and stayed true to the bet. They both sent me some really cool stuff. I am humbled, and wanted to share with you all word of my riches and their generosity and sportsmanship.

From the far-flung North, up in frosty Minna-SO-tah (I don’t know if he says it like that but I enjoy believing everyone from the Land of 10,000 Lakes has that accent) SD sent me the following package of goodies:

I borrowed the pic from SD

I borrowed the pic from SD

SD described his gifts to me in his post over at A Simple Dude in a Complex World and you absolutely need to go there and follow him, he’s hilarious. Congratulate him on his impending nuptials and offer consolations that his Wild couldn’t hold out for a couple more days. You can see the genuine Minnesotan wild rice, which we’ve not yet cooked but certainly will, and I’ll be sure to blog about it for your reading pleasure. Also, very cool, a book by Minnesotan author, Ross Bernstein, called The Code. It’s a book about fighting and the code players follow to protect themselves and their teammates in a fast, often violent game. It was really a perfect addition given the nature of the bet. I’m only now about a chapter into it and I’ll blog on that later, it’s fascinating stuff if you’re a hockey fan. Lastly, and this was well done indeed, a Minnesota Twins key chain.

To understand the irony of the last item, we must travel back in the annals of sports history to 1987. Specifically, October 1987, when SD’s Minnesota Twins beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. It was the first World Series in which the home team won every game. There are actually more than a few interesting firsts and facts about that Series, but I’ll let you go check that out for yourselves. It was a bitter ending for the Cards who were up 3-2 but lost in seven games. I tip my cap to SD for the subtle dig, it was well placed among the spoils of my victory.

I also received a very nice “winner’s package” from Jewels in the City of Brotherly Love.

Sorry for the glare!

Sorry for the glare!

First of all, the entire bundle was contained in a nifty little duffel bearing the Philadelphia Flyers logo. I can’t remember if I told her or not, but I’ve actually been a fan of the Flyers for a long time. They’ve always been my Eastern Conference team, particularly when they acquired defenseman Chris Pronger, a favorite ex-Bluenote. Also included was a Flyers bottle-opener key chain. Jewels mentioned she would’ve rather sent me some man-sodas but I understand they don’t travel through the mail well. Equally as delicious as beer would’ve been, there’s a box of Philadelphia’s own Tastycakes! A Philly standard since the early 1900’s, Tastycakes are even shaped sort of like hockey pucks. Appropriate AND tasty, good show, J. They’re a hit with my 9yo daughter too 🙂

Most prominently, you can see the awesome Down & Dirty t-shirt. Fund from the purchase of the shirt go to the #hartnelldown Foundation, a charity started by Scott Hartnall, #19 for the Philadelphia Flyers, to ” support hockey, children and communities around the US and Canada.”

My excitement at winning the bet was obviously slightly dampened by the fact the Blues didn’t make it out of the 1st Round of the playoffs, but next season will be a full one, and I’m definitely looking forward to the 2nd Annual NHL Bloggers Bet. I’m pretty sure we’ll all be happy to see more hockey fan bloggers join in the fun, and raise the stakes, though we all really just want to see our beloved team hoist the Stanley Cup! Thanks again to Jewels and The Simple Dude. Remember, fewer than 100 days until camps open in September!

I’m Bleedin’ Blue, are you?

I know I’ve not been writing much here, but you can follow me following the St. Louis Blues over at BleedinBlue.com!

I’m not abandoning my personal writing, just struggling a little with time management. End of the month is always busier for me at work, so I’ll have to work things out more evenly moving forward.

If you’re still reading, thanks!

Blues Blogging @ Bleedin’ Blue

Today I started as the newest Staff Writer over at Bleedin’ Blue, an awesome St. Louis Blues Hockey fansite. If you enjoy my writing, follow me over there and keep an eye out for articles and game previews/reviews.

My first article is up, you can see it HERE!

If you’re not a St. Louis Blues Hockey fan, first, shame on you. Second, that’s really not a big deal. To each his or her own, as they say. I will still be writing here, it just wont be about the Blues. No worries.

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