Time for a playoff backup plan

The news was good at the Scottrade Center last night – though those of us with Mediacom didn’t get to watch it – as the St. Louis Blues downed the Los Angeles Kings 3-1. People who use the initial “J” scored goals (B.J. Crombeen and T.J. Oshie), as did Paul Kariya. Hooray.

But let’s not tap dance around the issue, like the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s headline “St. Louis Blues clinch season series vs. LA Kings” did. In the long run, this win may not mean much.

The ‘Note sits 10th in the Western Conference, eight points back of the Red Menace for the final playoff slot. They’re also four points back of ninth-place Calgary. Making matters worse, Detroit has a game in hand on both St. Louis and Calgary. Let’s not mince words: The playoffs are likely out of reach.

Sad, yes, but the NHL playoffs are incredible and I’m not just going to sit them out. I’m also not going to cheer for a Western Conference team, meaning it’s time to pick a horse to ride from the Eastern Conference. This year, like others before it, will come down to the Atlanta Thrashers and the Boston Bruins. Boston has the inside track, sitting eighth, two points up on Atlanta, with a game in hand.

It’s easy to pull for the Bruins. They’re an Original Six team, located in an awesome town, with a fantastic-looking jersey. Their roster includes former Blues defenseman Dennis Wideman as well as Team USA backup goalie Tim Thomas.

They’ve also got the secret weapon in the competition for my temporary playoff affection: Fantastic marketing. Observe.

If you’ve got an hour to waste, go to YouTube and search “Bruins Hockey Rules.” Perfect way to burn a Friday afternoon at work.


The Palin Curse

As if the St. Louis Blues and their fans (me included) haven’t suffered enough already.

The 2008 season got off to a great start when, before training camp even opened, prized young defenseman Erik Johnson tore up his knee getting out of a golf cart. Seriously. Then came a cracked foot bone for fellow blueliner Jeff Woywitka and backup goalie Chris Mason needed an emergency appendectomy. Enforcer D.J. King is out for the season after surgery on his dislocated shoulder.

Then came Sarah Palin’s visit to the Scottrade Center. That’s when disaster struck goalie Manny Legace. Observe:

Yeah, Manny’s out AND the Blues lost. Thanks a lot Sarah Palin.

This isn’t the first time Palin has been disastrous at a hockey match. She dropped the puck in Philly on opening night (where, rumor has it, pro-GOP owner Ed Snider used loud music and piped-in cheers to offset the boos) and the Flyers subsequently went down, 4-3 to the Rangers. They didn’t get their first win of the season until Friday, Oct. 24, when…

wait for it…

Palin was in St. Louis.

Two things, Sarah:

1. This is not how we get independent voters to choose the McCain-Palin ticket.

2. If you have to drop any more pucks, could you at least go to, I don’t know, Chicago or Detroit?

Okay? Thanks.

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