Five more years of helmet farts!
I've taken an unfortunate break from Blues blogging, what with all of the madness that are Thrashers relocation rumors. Common sense has gone out the window surrounding the Thrashers/Winnipeg Whatevers - not that the franchise ever had any to begin with. People telling Thrashers fans to "get over it" less than a week after they lost their team, name calling on message boards and blogs because you disagree with a point of view... being 12 years old and never seeing a Jets game in your life but still feeling the need to laugh at Atlanta fans and play economic professor (high demand = high price until you realize that the product is average to inferior, then demand decreases and prices and attendance drop - trust me, we in Atlanta know EXACTLY how that works). Yeah, when you have people crowing on message boards that they're paying $6,000 for six games to go see the Atlanta Thrashers, who are automatically more awesome now that they're in CANADA!, you know that common sense is out the window.
This is why it's so pleasant to shift my attention back to St. Louis. Sure, the Blues might be looking for some owners, but they're not going anywhere - selling out 40 of 41 games last season helps with that. They know the assets that they have and are willing to lock them up because they believe in their team and their team philosophy. Hell, they have a team philosophy. I love the Thrashers, but other than "try not to lose as many games this year, ok?" did the organization even ponder the idea of a philosophy? A motto? Anything? Poor ownership and an easily confused front office'll do that.
The Blues' front office, though, is locked in. John Davidson re-signed a contract extension as team president, and General Manager Doug Armstrong is proactive at locking up RFAs before July 1st. What a list of RFAs the Blues have, too. Before this week's locking up of key pieces, these were the guys who were RFAs: Patrik Berglund, TJ Oshie, BJ Crombeen, Vladimir Sobotka, Matt D'Agostini, Ryan Reaves, Roman Polak, and Nikita Nikitin. Quite a core little group of guys, no?
Luckily, the Blues felt the need to secure some of their places on the team. The first was Patrik Berglund. After a dominating performance in which he scored 8 goals and two assists to finish with a +7 rating (and finished second in scoring), as well as a much improved season last year that saw career highs in goals (22) and assists (30), the Blues could not let a chance to get him re-upped pass. They re-signed him for two more seasons at a cap hit of $2,250,000 a year. Upon expiration of his current contract, he's still an RFA, which means he can re-sign for an extended period of time and push back when he tests the UFA waters.
The next guys to be locked in were Roman Polak and Vladimir Sobotka. Polak got a hefty contract extension of five years at $2,750,000 a season. He's a great shut down, stay at home defenseman who has been more than reliable for the Blues. Also, he hasn't been injury prone except when Sidney Crosby tries to give him a hand-ectomy, so that's a plus as well. The Blues' penalty kill, who went from 1st in the league in 2009-2010 to 21st last season thanks to the loss of Mike Weaver, needs more shut down guys like Polak if they want to rebound and be successful.
Vladimir Sobotka was acquired from the Boston Bruins for the rights to defenseman David Warsofsky last off-season, and what a one-way lopsided deal that was. Sobe, playing mostly 3rd and 4th line minutes, scored 7 goals and 22 assists and was a key source of energy for the Blues while Oshie was out with a broken ankle. The Blues haven't yet locked up Sobotka, but are believed to be working on a three year contract extension.
So, after Vodka, who do the Blues get re-signed. Common sense says "Oshie!" because he's a fan favorite, the team's energy core, and he has so much potential. He also showed himself to be a bit of an immature flake last season, but hopefully that will fix itself with age. Matt D'Agostini, though, would be my bet for the next to get re-signed. The negotiations probably won't be as complicated as Oshie's and with 21 goals (25 assists) the former Hab has finally become what people expected him to be. Probably more so. He finished third on the team in goals behind David Backes and Berglund, and finished with a +8. Add in the fact that he's generally a healthy guy - he played all 82 games last season - and he's yet another core piece of the team that the Blues swiped from Montreal.
Cant wait to see peg dwell in the basement again, watch attendance drop after.season ticket holders dont re.up.and they mov
W@ peg will lose this team again, plus not only the team loses money many fans go broke & file chap 11
Huh???? I'm very confused but apparently not as confused as some other people around here. This is a post about the Blues. None the less I'm very glad that we are re-signing key components to our sucessful future. Things are looking bright for the Blue Note and I for one could not be happier.
Laura, how do you not get it? REAL hockey fans go to games because they LOVE hockey, NOT because of the product on the ice (see Edmonton for an example). Winnipeggers know THEIR team is at best an average team...on a good day. But they have something Atlantan's don't : they love hockey. The team isn't good? so what, they like to go to games because they like watching the sport! And don't be so silly as to bring up "attendance dropping" in regards to the Thrashers. That teams attendance had a season best of around 15, 500 during their march to 1st place a few years ago to around 14,000 this year. Not much of a drop, but the bigger point is this: Why, when your team WAS good (1st place a few years ago), did people STILL stay away instead of filling that nice arena. The tickets were cheap! What does it mean? it means there never was much demand for hockey even when the team was good. In Winnipeg, there is demand. I suspect the team would have to be really bad...like, Oilers bad, in order to see a real decrease in attendance. Anyway, just get over it. It's great you and handful of other are so upset, but Atlanta doesn't deserve hockey at all. What can you do? nothing. Move to Winnipeg.
@starboy377 Where are the REAL hockey fans in Winnipeg???? It seems that REAL hockey fans would support a team when there is nothing else to attend, no matter the level of hockey. However, AHL stats show average attendance of 7,520 for Moose in the playoffs this year - when they're in the f@#$ing playoffs. Remind me again of how large that arena is? And you fill it half full in the playoffs? The Atlanta ECHL franchise (reminder for you REAL hockey fans that it's below the level of the AHL) drew 5,128. Not great but, again, it's ECHL and there was an NHL team in the same city plus a lot of other sports alternatives. So dude, get off your high horse. And oh yeah, take a look at the Jets last season in attendance.
Where were the REAL hockey fans then?
Uh, what? This is a Blues post genius.
You also have something that Atlantans don't have - a lack of choice. One team sucks? Ok. You have one pro, two college football teams to go to, a basketball team, college ball, minor league hockey (which regularly has one of the highest attendance draws in the ECHL), and about a billion other things to do.
People actually did fill the arena pretty regularly. More so than they ever did in the 'Peg. Heck, you managed to make the playoffs your last season and only averaged around 11K before getting pounded by Detroit.
"Get over it." Winnipeggers have yet to explain to me how one week of being irritated that a team is being relocated is more offensive than 16 years spent bitching about sub-par hockey and how Gary Bettman hates Canada. Can you please explain that - and how you are the almighty one to judge if a city "deserves" or does not "deserve" hockey? I'm intrigued. @starboy377
@AttendanceFacts i don't know. Maybe because junior hockey is much more popular than AHL hockey in Canada and people were going to junior games. I think the CHL was going through their playoffs at the time. What? what's that? you don't know what junior hockey is? Dumb hotlantan!
@hildymac How quickly you've already forgotten about the thrashers. Some fan you were. Seems to me that when Winnipeggers lost their team they, for 15 years, have held on to them and never forgot how important they were to that city. Atlanta thrashers? relocated and apparently forgotten already just like yesterdays "thrash". The jets didn't draw well their last year for the same reason people defend the coyotes for not drawing well the past 2 years. That final season in Winnipeg everyone knew they were gone at the end of the season. They were supposed to be gone the year before but Bettman basically convinced ownership to stick it out for one more year to try to find a buyer to keep the team in Winnipeg, which they couldn't. I defend winnipeggers for that final season just as i defend pheonix folks for not showing up to watch the great team they have. All the previous years in Winnipeg their attendance was pretty much on par with the average league attendance. Not the case with hotlanta, americas trash heap.
Why would Junior hockey be more popular than top level minor league??? Now I realize I'm not a genius since I'm only from St. Louis and I only have my Masters Degree in Recreation and Sport Managment (Maybe one day when after I make some money I will get my PhD) BUT.....this isn't a good omen for the long term future. And by the way, I also know of the SJHL (Go Humboldt Broncos), the Anavet Cup and the Royal Bank Cup
Uh, most of us down here know what MJHL and QMJHL are.
Oh, wait! Never mind. Hur durrrrr. There. Is that better for you? I had to try to get my St. Louis accent out of that (BECAUSE I'M NOT FROM HERE), but I think I did a good approximation of what you think someone from Atlanta sounds like.
Look at the title of my blog. Look at it veeeeeery closely. What word do you see in there? Oh, wait - "Blues." I haven't forgotten about the Thrashers; this has ALWAYS been a Blues and Thrashers blog. I'm from St. Louis. I live in Atlanta. I write about both teams. Are you so hell bent on bashing ATL for no real reason that you have lost your basic comprehension abilities?
@starboy377 @hildymac It is a shame w peg have losers like you. My son says dont waste your time talking to someone from W Peg. He is correct. I am from the North but have been in Atlanta 26 years and would not move back. Oh enjoy you CFL along with your new loser team.. Ha Ha you can keep the records too. Its a shame so many fans will file chap 11 after taking a second mortgage to buy tickets in W peg hahaha