So, the St Louis Blues are in town tonight. This is an occasion that has, traditionally, led to an outpouring of emotion from the Chicago fanbase like this, this and, oh, Dear Lord, this.

There’s a possibility that some of these remarks might be interpreted as being Dismissive, Disrespectful and Downright Unfriendly towards our friends and neighbours from the Show-Me State.

Well, we here at Cheer The Anthem believe that it’s time to Stop The Hurt: we’re bigger and better than that and we’re going to use this Game Preview to take a look at St Louis and the Blues with all the Affection and Respect that they so thoroughly deserve.

And then some.

What you Need to Know about the Foe

StL sky

 

 

St Louis, Missouri: Gateway To The West! A unique and vibrant city on the banks of the Mississippi, famous for its beautiful architecture,

Looking down 10th St  from Citygarden

 

Unique Local Cuisine

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And, of course, having the “Best Fans In Baseball” some of who definitely didn’t push a wheelchair-bound usher down some stairs

 

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Of course, no mention of St. Louis can be complete without reference to the city’s long and storied history in music: so many great musicians down the years have called St Louis “The place they got the hell out of at the first opportunity” that it would be impossible to list them all. However, after much deliberation, we picked the three that best encapsulate the “Rome Of The West”

 

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That’s enough background for now.. it’s time to switch our focus to tonight’s adversaries, the St Louis Blues themselves.

What is there to say about this august body of men (bodies of three men in Hitchcock’s case) that hasn’t already been said in the annals of Hockey and Police Blotters everywhere? Still, we’ll give it a shot (when they’ve got their backs turned, of course)

David Backes: What a fantastic, Manly leader of Manly Men. Surely only rivalled as a Captain by the likes of Shane Doan, Joe Thornton and Dustin Brown. Can be counted on, when the chips are down, to lead his men all the way out of position, into a defenceless opponent and then straight to the penalty box.

Ryan Reaves: I’ll think of something nice to say about Ryan Reaves, give me a minute.

Chris Stewart: Another Leader on the team, can be relied upon to get goaded into a pointless fight with a useless 4th liner, thus getting his team an advantage by.. actually I’m not sure what that was all about?

Ryan Reaves: Nothing yet… come back to me.

Jay Bouwmeester: Despite having the unenviable record of “Most Games Played Without A Playoff Appearance”  at 750+, many feel that this has only been due to Bouwmeester playing for underachieving also-rans in Florida and Calgary and it is believed that, on an Elite Contender, he will have a chance to truly shine, as I’m sure we’ll find out when the Blues trade him to one next year.

Ryan Reaves: I give up.

The Goalies: Last year Brian Elliot stunned the Hockey World by rising from mediocrity to playing in the All-Star Game, sharing the Jennings and posting an Sv of .940 as part of the hottest goaltending tandem in the league with Jaroslav Halak. Fortunately no-one in the StL Organisation got carried away and expected this to continue, so didn’t treble his salary with a 2-year extension and assume that he could carry the load when (inevitably) Halak got hurt (again). Except that they totally did. Luckily help was at hand with Jake Allen from Peoria making some impressive cameos in relief, causing St Louis to be the only team where “AHL-Level Goaltending” is a compliment.

The Coach: Last year’s Jack Adams winner, Planet Hitch inherited a squabbling, irresponsible team who had quit on their Coach, and were headed nowhere, into contenders for the President’s Trophy.  It’s possible that this is not the sort of “Repeat Performance” he was planning on. The myth that he has to buy two seats on an airplane is also totally untrue: it’s three. Two for him and one for the 2 gallon bucket of ranch dressing and 12-pounds of Chicken Wings that he has as an in-flight “Snack”

 

Finally, no round up of St Louis would be complete by mentioning their Fans, who are surely the wittiest, funniest and down right good-natured in the League.

Led by one of their blogs mocking Gordie Howe’s dementia and Vladimir Konstantinov’s paralysis (how hilarious!) in last year’s Puck Daddy Eulogy, their fans have come up with the single wittiest “Opposition Nickname” going, in reference to the Hawks. Hang onto your sides.. it’s “Shitcago”!!. Now, I may have to lead you through Wildean Wit of this intensity so bear with me.

You see this is what we call a “Pun” or “Play On Words”: when you say the “Chi” sound in “Chicago” it sounds a little like the first syllable of “Shit“. And Shit is something people don’t like, not at all. It can also be used as an adjective to describe someone or something who doesn’t do a very good job. The complex subtleties of this humour can only be truly appreciated after years of study or twenty minutes in the Loop on a weekend.Untitled 9

 

So, now that we’ve had the Theory lesson, it’s time for the Practical: Puck Drop is at 7.30 Central, 8.30 Eastern and Ass O’Clock, GMT. If I don’t go into a hate-frenzy and accidentally bite my keyboard in half I’ll be back with a recap thereafter.

Let’s Go, Hawks