The Blues’ Stanley Cup Dream Is Dashed

 

St_Louis_Blues3@thelegendkil

ST. LOUIS, MO

The St. Louis Blues season ended in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals getting eliminated by the San Jose Sharks last week. It was a wild ride for the St. Louis Blues and especially for the fanbase, that grew as the postseason carried on. It was disappointing to see the Blues get this close to appearing in the Stanley Cup Finals and fell two games short. They were 4-6 at home and had the home ice advantage. The Blues just got beat by a better team flat out. The Sharks were more physical and they wasn’t giving the Blues much room to operate. The first two rounds of the playoffs the Blues were flying through the neutral zone creating several scoring attempts, sometimes controlling the puck at even strength and looking as if they’re on a power play. Well not this round. Then center Joe Pavelski of the San Jose Sharks just owned the series scoring 8 points in the last five games of the series. As a whole he has notched 22 points in 18 games better than a point a game with a plus/minus rating of 3.

As the playoffs continue on without the Blues, they have some business to tend too with pending free agents. Unrestricted free agents David Backes and Troy Brouwer, both 32 years of age, and ranked 6th and 9th respectively by Frank Seravalli of TSN top 30 list of NHL free agents. I was also told that the Philadelphia Flyers have eyes for Backes and could offer as much as 25 million for three years. I could see him getting something like that; he had a great postseason and this was the most spirited I’ve seen him play since the 2002 Winter Olympics. Backes had finished with 14 points in the playoffs. He’s someone the Blues can’t afford to lose, but this could be his last chance to cash in. Troy Brouwer was second on the team with 8 playoff goals and he is in similar boat as Backes, we’ll find out in a couple of months how this will play out. Because, the Blues have to think ahead to 2017 free agency too, and head coach Ken Hitchcock contract expires next month.

But, I consider this a good season by the Blues for a few reasons. First, they appeared in only their third conference finals in the last 30 years. They knocked off the defending Stanley Cup and hugely disliked Chicago Blackhawks. Then followed that by beating the number one seed in the Western Conference Dallas Stars. The Blues were able to do this with a roster that had only two players over 20 goals or 50 points. They just ran out of gas. Two straight best of seven series caught up with them. The good that came out of it was the growth of the fanbase which is as diverse as ever. Quite honestly this might not have happened if the NFL was still in town. The Blues playoff run actually made many of us appreciate them more. It’s always nice to have playoffs outside of the baseball Cardinals, who’ve spoiled us so much with long runs into the start of the next hockey season.

Thursday’s Thoughts on Rams Draft and Blues Playoffs

DraftLogoSt. Louis, MO

(@RealShaneGray)

Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Rams traded a plethora of premium 2016 and 2017 draft picks to the Tennessee Titans in exchange for the number one overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft. In doing so, the Rams bet the farm on the hope that either Jared Goff or Carson Wentz will become the league’s next elite quarterback and help lift the former St. Louis-based franchise out of a decade-plus stretch of frustration and futility.

In giving up a first, two seconds and a third rounder this year and first and third round selections next year, L.A. essentially sealed the franchise’s fate for the next several seasons.

After relinquishing so much draft capital to move up to get their gunslinger, the Rams bold move will do one of two things:

If it works, they have landed themselves a top-tier quarterback to go along with a potentially dominant defense and ground game, and the move will help elevate the organization to the upper echelon of the NFL in rather short order.

If it fails, the risky trade with the Titans will set the franchise back several more seasons and likely keep the franchise fumbling in the won-loss column for several more years.

In short, this trade will all but make or break the Rams hopes to turn the corner in California. This was an all-boom or all-bust deal. Time will tell the tale on how it plays out for Stan Kroenke and company.

Speaking of the Rams Trade…

Unfortunately , St. Louis fans and media alike learned that the Rams front office  — led by team CEO Kevin Demoff — was good at a few things not remotely related to winning football games: lying, manipulating and serving themselves.

With that understood, I couldn’t help but laugh when hearing that the Rams chose to wait a day to announce the aforementioned trade for the number one pick so as to not take away from the final home game of Lakers all-time great Kobe Bryant.

Of course, the Rams made sure to let everyone know that they postponed the news an extra day rather than just quietly announcing the trade the next day and leaving it at that. That’s the Rams, though.

For anyone unclear of the Rams motives, let me break it down for you:

The Rams did that for the Rams. That’s it.

They desired to appeal to Lakers fans by attempting to show consideration for their fan base in an effort to help the Rams and nobody but the Rams. It’s really that simple.

The Rams PR machine continues to be predictably pathetic.

How ‘Bout Those Blues? 

After securing a three games to one advantage over the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the NHL’s Western Conference playoffs, the Blues started looking like the same old Blues in faltering to a 3-3 series tie as fans wondered if it was yet another hear-we-go-again- postseason collapse.

But this year, with all the chips on the line, St. Louis stepped up with a thrilling game 7 win at home to the delight of Blues faithful.

As the club is now just a series win away from their first Stanley Cup appearance since 1970, a Finals appearance couldn’t come at a better time for either the Blues or the STL.

With the Rams and the NFL freshly departed, this would be the ideal time for the Blues to grab the attention of former Rams fans who may be looking for another local pro club to turn their attention to. With many football fans feeling scorned, what better time for the Blues to pack the bandwagon than right now? What better time to grow some future die-hard fans with a Stanley Cup appearance just months after the Rams exit?

And for St. Louis, what better time for the Blue note to win a Stanley Cup than right now, with so many sports fans and St. Louisans in general feeling disappointment following the exodus of the world’s preeminent sports league?

Whether you are one of the many have moved on from the Rams move or one of many others who haven’t, this would be a perfect time for the city’s great sports fans and the region in general to enjoy some good fortunes in relation to the region’s pro-sports landscape.

Now perhaps more than over, St. Louis wants to see the Blues get this done and they may have a better shot than they have in awhile to do just that.

Thanks for reading…

SG

The Rivalry Begins…Again

Blackhawks-BluesST. LOUIS, MO

@thelegendkil

Well it’s that time of the year again, the start of the NHL playoffs are here and the St.Louis Blues are about to face one of their most hated rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks. And anytime when the Blues and Blackhawks get together it’s a fun time for fans in St.Louis and Chicago. But, when it’s the playoffs the heat gets turned up higher than you can turn a knob on a range oven.

The Blues have not fared well against the Blackhawks in the playoffs. The defending Stanley Cup champions now boast a 32-24 all-time playoff record against the Blues. And to be honest the “Notes” hasn’t done too well in the playoffs as of late. It’s become almost custom that by the time your grass turns green the Blues are normally dismissed from the playoffs.

Fans throughout the region are collectively cautiously optimistic that this could be the year the Blues advance at least out of the first round of the playoffs. Especially, after another strong regular season netting a total of 107 points, without having more than two players net 20 goals. Or even have two players over 50 points for the season. The Blues averaged under three goals a game ranked in the middle of the pack at 15. But, the Blues did make up for that cracking the top ten in three other important categories; Ranking 2,4, and 6 in penalty kill, goaltending, and power play, according to NHLreference.com. Coach Ken Hitchcock in a brief presser said that every person is available health wise and that Blues Captain David Backes will be ready to play according to ESPN.com.

The defending Stanley Cup champions Chicago Blackhawks bring plenty of offensive fireworks led by Patrick Kane’s 106 points and second leading goal scorer Artemi Panarin’s 30 goals and 47 assists. And they get plenty of offense from their defensemen as well. Defenseman Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith are ranked 4 and 5 respectively on their team in regards scoring. And can’t leave out that the Blackhawks are steered by former Blues coach Joel Quenneville.

And in order for the Blues to have any success against the Blackhawks, they have to remain aggressive especially on the power play. I noticed several times throughout the season they would have the puck on the power play and 15-20 seconds would go by without a shot being taken on net. Also my eyes will be on Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk a very talented player yet he is a –14 when it comes to plus/minus rating. And the Blues have shown a tendency to get caught flat-footed creating odd man rushes, that’s something this team can ill afford to do. Obvious goals will be at a premium in the NHL playoffs, sometimes all you need is one goal.

Regardless, it’s good to have some playoff sports in the city of St.Louis, let’s hope the Blues give the “blues” to someone else for a change this spring. And nothing would be sweeter than eliminating a rival.

For more…follow me on Twitter @thelegendkil

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THE A-TRAIN RANT 16.0!

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Time for another edition of The A-Train Rant…16-point-OH!

I have a lot to say on this day. Here we go.

  1. Roger Goodell continues to kill the NFL. I feel indifferent if professional football should go away as a whole.
  2. Tom Brady is a sore loser.
  3. Bill Belichick needs his eyes checked.
  4. Ohio State really sucks along with my Tar Heels. I knew UNC would be bad this year after watching them BEAT Kentucky.
  5. Joel Embiid of Kansas shouldn’t look at being #1 overall in the draft. He has great game so far, a lot more to work on and doesn’t need to focus on the NBA. He doesn’t need to be a Ralph Sampson or Hasheem Thabeet.
  6. I think I may have found a new favorite team…it’s the Golden State Warriors. Yes, they lost last night. But at the same time, this is a young team with a great head coach in Mark Jackson and should make playoff/championship runs for years. I love this team.
  7. The St. Louis Rams should get Clowney or a signal caller to wake up Sam Bradford in the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft. Not an offensive lineman. Work with the linemen they already have. Stop thinking that the next big draft pick is going to be the answer.
  8. Joakim Noah scares me as an NBA player. Last night’s Lakers/Bulls game indicated when he gets the ball under 2 minutes, he forgets how to play basketball. I like his energy but it seems like it spirals out of control when the game is on the line.
  9. Speaking of that Lakers/Bulls game…the Lakers got cheated in that game. Taj Gibson’s last second lay-up shouldn’t have happened the way it did. The clock didn’t start when Gibson got the ball.
  10. Clayton Kershaw deserves every bit of that $215 million the L.A. Dodgers gave him.
  11. Fighting in hockey is probably the reason why I watch it. Sad.
  12. What the hell happened to Serena Williams? She might be done with tennis.
  13. So far EA Sports is on point about the St. Louis Blues. They simulated their season and it came out that they would win the Cup. It would be the franchise’s first. I would love to witness that for real (on TV of course or downtown).
  14. Super Bowl 48’s matchup on paper looks like it’s one for the ages. The NFL is getting what they want by playing the game in it’s “normal” element.
  15. Carmelo Anthony needs to leave the Knicks. All he’s doing is bringing them down instead of building them up.
  16. Paul George’s 360 dunk was very impressive. To anybody that thinks it wasn’t…get a video camera, go find a court and do the dunk. If you can, the dunk wasn’t impressive. Point blank.
  17. Speaking of that dunk, George won’t be in the dunk contest. This is a great indicator that All-Star Weekend needs to die. Who can forget the ever-popular 2Ball competition? SMH
  18. I hope the WWE gets this new WWE Network correct.
  19. I can’t wait to see what the Ultimare Warrior says at his Hall of Fame speech.
  20. I will participate in Warren Buffett’s BILLION DOLLAR (yes that’s correct) bracket challenge. CBS, ESPN, Fox Sports’ bracket challenge’s better up their game. $1,000,000 means nothing anymore.
  21. FINALLY. This whole Richard Sherman thing indicates how silly, stupid and crazy us fans really are. I think we are worse than the athletes themselves. What Sherman did wasn’t right. But don’t dare call him a thug. A thug is a criminal. If that’s the case, Sherman robbed the 49ers of going to the Super Bowl. That’s the best description of what a thug is. People are getting mad that Sherman’s antics have been compared to Muhammad Ali’s antics. It has great comparison sports-related. Talk trash. Back it up. Ali did that. So far, Sherman has done the same. 20 interceptions in just 3 seasons indicates that. With that said…
  22. Justin Verlander needs to (in the words of Chris Jericho) SHUT…THE HELL…UP.

GOOD DAY EVERYONE.

A-Train

The A-Train Rant 13.0!

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It’s the weekend and I have some things that need to be said…

  1. Jason Kidd coaching the Brooklyn Nets is like Whoopi Goldberg’s character Eddie coaching the New York Knicks…it’s a joke.
  2. Chris Petersen is a great hire for Washington, he’ll start stealing those Pac-12 recruits from USC, UCLA and Oregon.
  3. Might have to start watching the 2014 World Cup, if not, I should start playing FIFA.
  4. Maybe Jay-Z is a smart guy after all. Kudos to him netting former New York Yankees 2nd baseman Robinson Cano a $240 million deal with the Seattle Mariners. Maybe Cano might humble himself after all in a new uniform. Then again, it’s Robinson Cano. Shoutout to Stephen A. Smith for calling out the Yankees on First Take. (NOTE: I rarely watch that show)
  5. Watched Bulls/Heat last night…I guess it’s one of those times the Heat plays like crapola before turning it up in the month of April.
  6. I really want Mizzou to win the SEC Championship just to see how screwy the BCS gang will be towards them.
  7. Curtis Granderson got $60 million from the New York Mets…Hey Mets management, how did that deal with Jason Bay work out? Curt, make your money! If you screw the Mets, I love every minute of it.
  8. Gary Kubiak getting fired from the Houston Texans was understandable, but don’t fire the man when he just got off a stroke. I don’t care how big or how small it was. Damn. I guess 11 straight losses made sure he got that ax quick.
  9. To the gamer who cussed during the middle of a game on NBA 2K14…do that again, it was hilarious.
  10. I want to see how the Downtown Athletic Club treats Jameis Winston now that he is not charged…My race card is ready to pulled if he doesn’t win the Heisman. He’s the favorite. Johnny Manziel and A.J. McCarron can both go to hell.
  11. I actually miss Lovie Smith. It’s time for him to get back in the saddle as head coach for a team…maybe the Houston Texans come to mind. I don’t know.
  12. I would actually laugh if the Miami Heat trade Dwyane Wade.
  13. What was the point of the Indianapolis Colts getting Trent Richardson? I’ll leave that for YOU to answer.
  14. DeMarcus Cousins should have no reason saying anything about anybody. You play for the Sacramento Kings dude, the Kings.
  15. What happened to the St. Louis Blues? Please EA, be correct on this prediction.
  16. So…is Kobe coming back?

That will wrap up this rant for today. More to come. Make sure you tune in to “Beyond The Ropes” on Youtube, comes on every Monday night after Raw. It’s LIVE and you can chat with the crew.

N The Zone TV is coming soon. You don’t want to miss that either.

The A-Train

THE A-TRAIN RANT 5.0!

After letting a week go by without doing my rant…I actually have one in me.

So……

  1. Shoutout to all the referees getting their jobs back and their deals were worked out. Let’s see how long it takes before fans are ready to lynch them all over again and be like…”Bring back the replacement refs.” Don’t tell that to a Packers fan though. *Smiles*
  2. Sunday was a good day for a St. Louis sports fan…Cardinals and Rams won. Any hope for the Blues though?
  3. About those Cardinals, despite the fact they won 2 out of 3 games against the Washington Nationals, I’m still ticked off about the decision made to pitch to red-hot Kurt Suzuki in the extra-inning affair of the 2nd game (Cardinals lost). Can’t do that come playoff time.
  4. Missouri beat Central Florida…big whoop. Alabama is next for them. I’ll let you figure that result.
  5. Speaking of the Rams, the defense is awesome. Amazing how, in the game against the Seahawks…defense and special teams scored all of their points. Offense scored zero. No TDs. That’s a problem and you got to lace them back up again on Thursday night against a re-surged (at least what we know of) Arizona squad (who just beat Miami in OT).
  6. The Kansas City Chiefs suck. The game against New Orleans was a fluke. Where’s Bob Fescoe (of 610 Sports Radio in KC) and his rant now? I’ll wait.
  7. NBA season is around the corner and so is NBA 2K13 (coming Oct. 2nd)
  8. (Even though I don’t like the team) Shoutout to Homer Bailey of the Cincinnati Reds, pitching baseball’s 7th no-hitter of the season. Damn, should we check pitchers for steroids now?
  9. Hockey season here yet? Hockey fans just suck it up and watch the NBA. Sorry.
  10. Kevin Garnett needs to retire from basketball if he’s going to act like an ex-wife. “Me and Ray Allen are not speaking to each other.” What the green and orange hell?
  11. I agree with Bomani Jones, Rasheed Wallace needs to coach. He gets his head on straight (pure longshot), I think he could do an awesome job. I don’t think he needs to play anymore. If you look at ‘Sheed, he could have been a dominate force in his career. DOMINANT. Awesome shooter, good post moves, and play crazy good defense. Maybe that was just with Detroit…but he was good though.
  12. Tiger Woods was the real reason that the US lost the Ryder Cup…nobody will really say that though. But I will. Hell, I like Tiger.
  13. Somewhere a Drew Brees hater is laughing his ass off. Saints now 0-4 after losing by 1 to the Packers.
  14. The NFC West is the best division in the NFL. Take that, NFL! Since the new alignment in 2002, I think this is the 1st time that this division has all of their teams at .500 or better.
  15. Cam Newton and the Panthers defense…YOU ARE THE “N THE ZONE” IDIOTS OF THE WEEK! Cam, if you’re going to do an ATL dance…do it after the game when you win. Panthers defense…learn the prevent defense.

I’m done. Not as big as I hoped. It’s all good though.

Thanks again to Nadine Liverpool (of SportsNAYtion) for that wonderful interview. Coming up, I’ll have author Allen Schatz with and discuss some of his baseball writings. Plus, looking forward to hopefully interviewing Jay Randolph, Jr. and Sara Bruce of the St. Louis sports radio show, “The Big Phat Sports Show.”

Stay tuned.

The A-Train