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The Press (and the NHL) Won’t Give The Blues a Break

March 9, 2012 3 comments

With last night’s win at home against the Anaheim Ducks, which brings their records to 43-18-7 and 93 points, the St. Louis Blues sit at the top of the Central Division, the West Conference, and yes, the NHL. The Blues are this year’s Cinderella-comeback-kid-underdog-rise-from-the-ashes-success story after struggling to make the playoffs only once in the past five years, and undergoing numerous personnel changes. The only problem is, no one outside of St. Louis seems to notice.

St. Louis sports fans are perhaps used to being slighted in this way. Anyone who watched the Cardinals in last year’s playoff contest on TBS, NBC, or listened on ESPN Radio, knows that non-local broadcasters are hesitant to give any credit where it’s due, nay-saying and undermining the team frequently throughout each game. And now it seems the Blues are catching some of the same flack. Despite winning their last three games in a row, the first headline in this week’s NHL Newsletter read “Canucks show who’s No. 1 by beating Blues,” a story that would have been relevant at the end of last week, but now seems a little late and off the mark. Click through to the NHL’s website and you’ll see nothing of the Blues’ recent success, despite being on a hot streak and gaining the No. 1 position. ESPN.com seems to have also forgotten that the Blues still exist.
This past Wednesday, Bleacher Report’s Nicholas Goss put together his list of the “NHL’s 50 Players Who Will Decide the Stanley Cup Playoffs.” Included were all the big names and favored teams you’d expect: New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Boston, etc. The only Blues mention was Jaroslav Halak, the seemingly unstoppable goalie who’s been swapping shifts with the surprise All-Star Brian Elliot. The Hockey News recently put out its own Top 50 list, and to no one’s surprise, St. Louis is nowhere to be found. How long will it take before sports reporters learn the names T.J. Oshie, David Backes, andy McDonald, and Alex Pietrangelo?

Blues goaltender, Jaroslav Halak, once played for the now defunct Long Beach Ice Dogs in the ECHL.

Maybe this rant is premature. We probably need to finish this season strong to earn a better showing in next season’s All-Star game. Some of our well-known players name’s might carry little weight outside St. Louis because they’re still growing and proving themselves. We have historically tended to be one of the youngest teams in the NHL, after all. But the 200-2012 season is the perfect underdog story that the media loves to tell. The rivalry match-ups this year have been intense, to say the least: The Blues recently bested Chicago 5-1! So maybe this Cinderella story won’t come into focus until it’s complete, but the team has fought hard for their spot as a top contender and it’s clear they’ll be appearing in the post season this year. Is some recognition for their achievements in the here and now too much to ask for?

The current landing page for the Blues' website. This quote is perfect.