By: Jeff Little • March 28th, 2009
Getting ready to suit up and head out for pre-game festivities, and thought I would share some miscellaneous rambling, some hockey related, some not:
St. Louis Transit: With the weather being less than optimal, we have been using the Metro Link system to get around St. Louis, and it has been fantastic. Station right across from the hotel, and $7.50 gets you an all day pass that gets you virtually anywhere you want in St. Louis. One semi-comical note are the drivers in the cars — as you approach a station they announce the arrival, the bus lines you can connect to at the station, what other Metro lines can be accessed, etc. This is done live, not via recording. Only problem is that the intrepid drivers are obviously a tad bored by having done this every 30 seconds or so for God-knows-how-long, so most of them speak so quickly, softly and indistinctly, that you have difficulty figuring out what language is being spoken, let alone what is being said. Sort of of like the old-time radio traffic reports that would come directly from the helicopter, blade noise and all.
Non-Smoking? Not so much . . . Maybe I notice this more as a former smoker, but it is a bit of a shock to the system to be in restaurants, etc. here and be exposed to smoking right next to you. I watched the Miami upset of Denver in the NCAA Hockey tourney last night through a haze of smoke, and same for the pre-comedy show festivities (though the show itself was smoke-free). This town is one of the few that can make Columbus look like a bastion of the healthy lifestyle!
Playoff Madness: A good amount of buzz here in St. Louis over the Blues surge toward the playoffs. Chatting with a couple of the Scottrade Center folks this morning, it was clear that they were proud of the effort, and shared our enthusiasm for the Jackets effort. Don’t get me wrong, both squads will be out for blood tonight (and reports from Portzline indicate a very high energy level at the morning skates), but there is a healthy respect for the mutual level of effort that has been required to put the squads where they are. The Blues have even more desperation, as they are still on the outside looking in, and tonight represents the next-to-last home game for them, so the challenge is stiff as they head out on the road.
Scoreboard Watching: Here is the slate of games on tap tonight, and the probably rooting interest:
Los Angeles @ Nashville — LA is done in the playoff race, so we want them to knock of the Predators. Tough job with the Preds at home, but could be a battle of goaltenders.
Florida @ Dallas — Panthers are another desperate club, and a win for them puts the final nail in the Stars’ playoff hopes coffin.
Minnesota @ Calgary — Another very tough road test for the Wild, against a very motivated Calgary club, coming off of being shut out in consecutive games, and needing to defend their division lead over Vancouver. Root for the Flames.
Big night in the chase. Go Jackets!!!
A native of the SF Bay Area, my first exposure to hockey was the SF/Oakland/California Golden Seals, including Charlie Finley and the white skates. Fast forward to the late 1980's when Gretzky and the Kings came up to the Bay Area for an exhibition game at the Oakland Coliseum Arena, for which we had glass seats. I was at the first San Jose Sharks game in the Cow Palace, and followed them for their first few pathetic years, before moving to Columbus in 1994. I attended the first pro-NHL rally downtown, and have been a season ticket holder since Day 1, wife & I are active in the Jacket Backers, and son is an avid fan as well. I cover the Jackets for Inside Hockey, and contribute regularly to a variety of hockey sites. I maintain contact with the Jackets organization, and like to dig into stories, bringing a fresh, and sometimes irreverent perspective to hockey.
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