Hello again everybody from Edmonton. Let's get to it.
Agreed. The Blues also know what time it is. These round-robin games are pretty meaningless in terms of defending the Cup, and the Blues know that. I noticed also that Boston lost its exhibition game and round-robin opener. Obviously, you can't just assume that you can just turn it on once the real games begin. That would be a big mistake, but I don't think the Blues have that mindset. They realize they have to get a lot better on offense, and are working to improve that.
Yes, I can. I stayed late Sunday (after my story was filed) and watched some of the Minnesota-Vancouver contest. I plan to head over today after the chat to watch some of Dallas-Colorado and Edmonton-Chicago, and work on my story from there. It's only a half-mile walk _ maybe 10 or 15 minutes _ from my hotel. Maybe it's partly because we went so long without it, but I think the hockey has been great. And wall-to-wall _ like 12 hours worth a day. It's like the NCAA hoops March Madness, only it's hockey in August.
You know, I'm still getting my hockey eyes back after the long pandemic pause. I need the exhibition games and round-robin to knock off the rust, too. But I would say Robert Thomas would be one. Binnington would be another, although he was pretty good against Chicago. But he looked really locked in against the Avs. That's about all I got on that.
Florida staves off elimination with a 3-2 win over Florida.
Nashville-Arizona is underway here in Edmonton; series is tied 1-1.
Have not heard of any new positive tests, either here or in Toronto. The NHL announced Monday that over the first week in the bubble there were zero positive tests league-wide. Who knows if that'll hold up, but it does look like the bubble system is working. Another thing to consider is the very low COVID-19 rates in Canada, especially here in Edmonton, Alberta. I think there have been maybe 35 deaths over the entire pandemic here in Edmonton, which is about the size of St. Louis city and St. Louis County combined.
Yes, on the tarps. I think they are there because the league thinks it's a better look than just empty seats. And I agree. I think it's a better look. As to the video boards, it makes it a better atmosphere. I'm sure the players are looking at them occasionally. But it is a little extravagant, as you suggest, if they're not incorporating them into the telecasts much.
Barry, we asked a couple of times while the team was still back in St. Louis, but didn't get much of an answer. There isn't much difference between teams in the NHL _ I think the parity is greater here than even in the NFL. Look at a team like Chicago for example. The Blues swept the season series but needed to rally twice to squeeze out a pair of one-goal wins _ including a game in St. Louis that I'm sure you remember where the Blues had to rally from 3-goals down in the third period. And then the Blues lost 4-0 to the Blackhawks in the exhibition game up here. I'm sure privately the Blues may feel there are some teams here that they match up better against, but that's something they almost certainly wouldn't share with us.
Thanks. Much appreciated. It wasn't as bad as you might think. And I viewed it as an adventure, something you'll probably only do once in a lifetime. I'm glad we're here, it's just another indication of the commitment of the Post-Dispatch to its Blues hockey coverage. There are only a handful of U.S. media up here (or in Toronto) and I'm proud of the fact that we're one of them.
Yes, much more intimate. You can hear a lot of what's being said on the ice. The stick-tapping is more noticeable. The thump of a shot off the goalie's pads. Even the sound of the blades on ice as a player changes direction. And the expletives! The sound of a player yelling "Go! Go! Go!" as a team gains possession with a little bit of open ice ahead. I don't know if I have enough of a sample size to say that it's changed how I watch hockey.
Yeah, it does seem to be something that they don't always call.
Yes, I do feel they're at a disadvantage. The only reason the round-robin was put in was to give the top seeds something to do _ some way to knock off rust _ while the best-of-5 series were being played. I think one of the reasons the Blues won the Cup last year was because the team literally had a playoff intensity from the aftermath of the all-star break on. They had to have a playoff like intensity for all that time or they wouldn't have even made the playoffs. So we'll see how this shakes out once the Round of 16 gets here. Then again, it would be hard to match what happened last year when there was of course a traditional playoff format: All 4 division champs got knocked out in the first round.
Just got a text response from Tom Stillman. He arrived in Edmonton yesterday, driving up from a place he has in southwestern Montana. He will be here _ in the bubble _ for the duration of the Blues in these playoffs. That man loves his hockey team.