Blues Ready for Opening Night
As I left my house to drive in to work today, I searched through the music on my iPod, trying to find the perfect song to play on this bright, surprisingly-warm-for-a-January-morning-in-St.-Louis day.
I scrolled through hundreds of artists (most of them of the country variety), but stopped on a song that caught my eye: Brookroyal's "Bleed Blue." (Listen on YouTube)
That song was the theme for the Blues' postseason last year, and listening to it reminded me that the Blues will begin the season tonight the same way they finished the last one: as the NHL's Central Division Champions.
And that got me thinking a little bit: if last year brought a division title, how much further can this season's team go?
Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo is more experienced. Captain David Backes, after leading the team to its first playoff series victory in 10 years last season, will be more hungry now. The Blues are adding two young players in Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko, both high draft selections with bright futures. Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott will be defending their Jennings Trophy...the list of individual motivations goes on and on.
The first test won't be easy. The Red Wings have lost their franchise defenseman, Nicklas Lidstrom to retirement. But as Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock put it after today's morning skate, "Everybody thought when (Steve) Yzerman left that it would be all over, but they did just fine."
Tonight begins another season in the Blues' storied history. The window of opportunity is beginning to open.
Enjoy the ride. This is going to be fun.
Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said that Jaroslav Halak would start in goal tonight. He also revealed his defensive pairings, which are listed below. After today's morning skate, we can take a guess at the forward lines, but as always, these are subject to change.
It's worth nothing that it appears Andy McDonald is over his bout with the flu, and it also looks like Jaden Schwartz will start the season in the lineup. He couldn't skate this morning due to a roster-limit technicality, but he should be good to go tonight.
OPENING NIGHT ACTIVITIES
If you can't wait for the puck drop, come on down early and celebrate with us. You can enjoy live music from Paint the Earth in the Scottrade Center atrium beginning at 5:15 p.m., and doors will open at 5:30 p.m. All fans will receive a Rally Towel courtesy of Enterprise, a coupon for a free 12 oz. Pepsi and a buy one / get one free hotdog, and a coupon for $10 off a $50 purchase at Famous Footwear.
A pregame show, with player introductions, begins at 6:45 p.m., so you'll want to be in your seats early.
And the party doesn't stop after the final buzzer. Drink specials are available in the Bud Light Zone, located on the Club Level, after the game.
Is it time to drop the puck yet?