Good morning Blues fans! A Happy New Year to you all. Let us hope that 2017 has some better things in store than the way 2016 ended.
The St. Louis Blues hockey team are looking to open 2017 with a bang when they take on the Chicago Blackhawks in the Winter Classic to open up the calendar year. It was the Blues alumni that stole the show to close out 2016.
While the actual team struggled at times as 2016 closed out, the old timers gave the crowd plenty to cheer about. The Alumni Game was about everything you could expect from an entertainment aspect. The fact that the Blues alumni won was the cherry on top of a very tasty sundae.
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Unfortunately, I was unable to attend. It sounds like it was a blast to be there and I have no doubts it would have been quite the memory.
The players themselves created plenty of memories. Even those that had storied careers seemed awestruck by the moment and the players they were surrounded by.
Despite possibly spending the least time in St. Louis, everyone treated Wayne Gretzky with the reverence he deserved. Someone as talented as Keith Tkachuk or Eric Daze in their time were like little kids when talking about the opportunity to play on the same ice as the Great One.
There really was not anything that did not live up to expectations. The players played harder that I had anticipated and there were plenty of guys that still had it even after claiming to only skate a couple times before playing.
The only hair-splitting issue was that Brett Hull did not manage to score one of the eight goals. It would have been spectacular to see the Golden Brett light the lamp one more time. As great as the crowd sounded on television, I can only imagine the reaction if either Gretzky or Hull had scored.
The problem now is that the actual Winter Classic has a lot to live up to. The game itself, in terms of youthful skill and energy doesn’t have to fill any shoes, but it has large shoes to fill for entertainment.
Nobody wants an 8-7 game. That’s not an NHL score.
We also don’t want a blowout of the Blues. After some of their recent debacles, it is not far from the realm of possibility if Chicago gets rolling.
Back to the alumni, it was nice just to reminisce and have a smile the entire way. The game also reminded me how underappreciated certain guys were.
Pierre Turgeon had a fantastic game. He was stickhandling like a current player.
Turgeon had two goals as well and if he was not named player or the game outwardly, we all know he was. However, I remember him being one of those players fans liked to pick on when he played.
We all do it. It’s just a shame that it takes until after someone’s career to fully realize how much they gave and meant to a team.
Here are your St. Louis Blues Morning Links to get your day and year started off right.
While everyone went to yesterday’s festivities to see the alumni, it was also a celebration of hockey in St. Louis. While there were not whispers of the team leaving as strong as in the past, Tom Stillman is still seen as a bit of a savior. So, while he tried to meet a friend outside the stadium, he got rock star status from the fans. (Post-Dispatch)
The players might not have gotten choked up on camera, but based on their comments you could tell the event was extremely special for them. Players like Al MacInnis and Kelly Chase got a particular kick out of the game. (Belleville News-Democrat)
Since we have our restrictions on the photos we can use, you should definitely check out this gallery taken in and around Busch Stadium. It is chock full of different vantage points throughout the event. (STLToday)
There is no rest for the weary when you’re the icon of the NHL. Wayne Gretzky didn’t get much time to soak up the atmosphere. He is on the way to Toronto, after playing in the Blues alumni game, to take part in the Centennial Classic pregame. (NHL)
Want your voice heard? Join the Bleedin’ Blue team!
It was an all-around good day of hockey yesterday. The Blues alumni beat Chicago. The United States also flashed some brilliance in a win over host Canada in the World Junior Championships. (ESPN)