Sunday, April 29, 2018

Making the Best of it- NHL Draft 2018

So I watched, along with other Blues fans,the hubbub and ceremony attendant to the NHL draft lottery hoping our team would fair better. The odds weren't in the Blues favor to begin with (what's new about that?) So the expectations weren't high that our team would move up into the top three. Carolina, with a little better shot at it, did so and will pick second. Those who watched learned that Buffalo, with the worst record in the NHL this season and the best odds of picking first, will do so on June 22nd in Dallas, The Blues, because of last year's Brayden Schenn trade with Philly, had the right to keep their pick in this year's draft if it were a top-ten pick. After the draft lottery, we know that they have the 14th pick, which will go to Philly as a result of the trade. Confusing?...Yes, but these are the deals that are made in modern sports team general management.

The good news for Blues fans is two-fold. 1) They still have a number-one pick as a result of the Paul Stastny trade with Winnipeg. And 2) There is hope in landing an impact player later in round one. That is based on simply looking at the history of the entry draft. Some of these 18-year-olds who are drafted turn out to be NHL stars, or at least very good players, and some don't. The scouts are paid to figure out which ones are "can't miss" prospects.

Depending on how Winnipeg finishes up in the playoffs, the pick the Blues get from the Jets will be somewhere between 23 and 31, if my calculations are correct. There is still a good chance of getting an outstanding player, if the scouts are on top of their game...and depending on what players are picked ahead of the Blues. Take the 2006 draft for instance. Not the most pleasant memory for Blues fans...but it is a good example of what to expect on draft day.

In '06 the Blues were picking #1 overall and chose the player everyone said was a can't miss superstar, defenseman Erik Johnson. We all know he didn't turn out to be what was expected of him...'nuff said on that. But later in the first round here are the players that the Blues could have had...Jonathan Toews, Jordan Staal, Nicklas Backstrom, Phil Kessel, Bryan Little, Kyle Okposo...and some other name players. If you go down to the players picked after number still find names like Claude Giroux, Semyon Varlamov, Patrik Berglund and Nick Foligno.

Other examples of late first-round value:
2010 draft- Evgeny Kuznetsov #26 Washington
2011 draft- Rickard Rakell #30 Anaheim

To be sure, identifying the can't miss player is a lot easier if you're drafting at the top...but strong value can still be had later in round one. As Blues fans, we just have to hope that the scouts and front office either are very good at their job, are lucky this year, or both.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Sports Facilities/Road building

After a spectacular weekend of pro hockey and other entertainment at Busch Stadium, and the euphoric effect it had on the region, how Missouri's newly elected Governor can, without fear of challenge, come out against investment in facilities by the taxpayers is baffling and frighteningly short-sighted.

I get that Eric Greitens is an anti-tax, balance-the-budget kind of politician. I see where he's coming from. But what's more important is; where is his state going? And what will become of life in the St. Louis area if the new governor's population is deprived of opportunity to view events in venues that are up-to-date and competitive with those of other Midwest cities? And, by the way Mr. governor-elect, who's money built the great facilities in the state's other major city? Will St. Louis sports fans just throw up their hands and head for other, more progressive cities and states to spend their money and time? These are questions that Mr. Greitens should ask himself before declaring that tax money for sports venues amounts to welfare for millionaires. What I'm hearing is that the millionaires are willing to put up their fair share.

Nobody should believe that government is all about sports, or providing money for sports entertainment options. But then, nobody should believe that government isn't about that either. Government builds roads...provides necessary services to the populace...funds police and fire protection...operates the criminal-justice system, education of children, and provides and operates many other facets of modern life. Isn't one of government's duties to protect, nurture and grow the economy of its area of responsibility so that all of those other things have operating capital? Where is tax money supposed to come from if we don't have a thriving economy generating it? I believe the economy includes the sports economy. It's about the best thing government has going as an economic engine other than the state lottery.

If you were part of the throngs that attended this weekend's Winter Classic and Alumni Classic, you likely are still enjoying the afterglow of what was thought to be one of the all-time great events held in the Gateway City. If you weren't there, I have news for you. Educated analysis indicates this weekend generated close to 20 million dollars of investment in the St. Louis area that otherwise would not have happened. Sure, the event helps to stabilize and fortify the economies of the various ownership groups involved. But it also generated oodles of tax money for the St. Louis public sector. How can anyone, governor-elect or otherwise, say that such an event is all about sports ownership profiteering?

I was there on the day Scottrade Center hosted its first hockey game. It was sparkling and state-of-the-art. It remained so for several years. But those early years have long-since faded and Scottrade is now just another twenty-plus-year-old building with amenities and infrastructure that can't compete with newer facilities in cities that are stealing away business that used to come here.

Investing in Scottrade Center, and/or a new soccer stadium for an MLS team, can be seen as corporate welfare if you choose to look at it that way. But it should be seen as road building, or some other responsibility of our government and elected officials. Without decent roads, you can't get to where you want to go. And without attractive and competitive facilities you can't reap the rewards of regional and national sports events that would pump millions of dollars into your roads, police departments, city halls, and other essential services. So, without facilities, again, you can't get to where you want to go.

I'd like to think that we live in a progressive and forward-thinking area that can, and would like to, be better than other cities and states. Do we? Are we road builders, or just the maintenance crew?

Want more food for thought on this? Check out this analysis from Patrick Rishe on

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Our Over-Communicated Environment

-Well, I have decided to not only return to the blog for a bit of thought-presenting, but also tread very lightly into dangerous territory...the political arena and aftermath of the election.

I will not ever divulge my political leanings in a public setting. I made that decision many years ago when I decided to get into broadcasting. It's no-one's business but mine. And as someone who believes in maintaining some level of credibility and, at least the appearance of objectivity, my choice to do so is as much professional as personal.

I teach a course at Lindenwood University-Belleville (Mass Comm Theory) that delves into the many propositions and postulations espoused by communication and sociology professors over the centuries, even going as far back as Aristotle and his thoughts on rhetoric. Aside from the nuts-and-bolts of communication analysis, after digesting most communication theory you come to realize one thing; that most of what is said or manufactured in the way of messages, can be taken in a multitude of ways depending on one's cultural background and upbringing. We all ascribe, usually similar, but often very different meanings to words, gestures, images and all other forms of communication. And these meanings are based on our own values. Neighbors, friends, and anti-friends can, will, and do value and define the very same communication attempt potentially much differently than we do. We don't all laugh or cry at the same movie.

Why is this important? I'm of the opinion that, in the digital world, words have become relegated to the backseat of the communication process. Aristotle would be appalled. The populace is more interested in who is presenting, and what overarching picture is being presented to the brain. People are too busy with their own little digital worlds to be bothered with actual words of persuasion.

I recently read an article about the election that suggested supporters of, now President-elect, Donald Trump looked beyond his campaign promises to "build a wall", and other unusually ostentatious and difficult-to-swallow utterances, to place more meaning on the big-picture person. Trump supporters, heard and saw his speeches but their minds went  past them to the basic values he proposed and represented, rather than the temporary words of his line in a speech. Trump's supporters just wanted reinforcement of their own thoughts on the issues, they didn't much care who was delivering them, as long as he represented the things in which they believed. This concept seems to make sense to me. Otherwise Trump may have been laughed off early in his attempts to run in this election.

If this is true, could it also be true that Hillary Clinton's words were not powerful enough, or indicative enough of Democrat/liberal values, to present her supporters, or would-be supporters, with a representative worthy of a vote? The typical Democrat turnout was way down from President Obama's in 2012. Perhaps the Democrat-leaning public looked past her speeches to other background issues and unconsciously said, "she's not connecting with me"...or " I'm not getting excited." One has to believe something along those lines as an explanation of what blew up the predictions by the pollsters.

Are we now living in a world in which political speeches have become just "face-time" for the candidates? Do we hear and see the sound bites and not care about the news analysis of them. Do the pundits get tuned out and turned off? Are the left and right-leaning news channels just so much noise to the voting public? Whatever the explanation, it's obvious that the pollsters and those who predict elections have some work to do to figure out what's going on in the world of new and social media. Have we devalued the words that public figures speak, or tweet, to the point where they don't really register? Communication has obviously changed in the digital age. Politics, and politicians, will have to adjust.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


-Following up on my last post... 

If we decide to respect ourself, as well as those around us, (and it is a decision), we will find it natural to show it. We must show it to ourselves first. We have to be proud of the person in the mirror. How we came into the world, and the circumstances we were presented must be put aside. They merely represent a starting point. We can't blame God, the government, parents (or lack thereof), the boss, or any other factor. If we are respectful to and of ourself, and behave accordingly, we put the blame game behind and allow for happiness in all phases of life.  

This goes to taking responsibility for who we are, and the way we interact with others. As mentioned in the last post...being response-able. 

The life we have can only change if we take ownership of it. The quality rests within our own brain and approach to behavior. But this requires taking responsibility-

-for all decisions

-for actions or inaction
-for consequences
-for our environment or living situation
-for our choice of associates and friends
-for the quality of who, what, where, and what we are...essentially everything

That's a lot of responsibility. And it's not easy to take. It's much easier to look around and point fingers, withdraw, and complain. But then we surrender control of our life to others. There are others much wiser than me who have seen the fault in that line of thought. 

“It is a painful thing to look at your own trouble and know that you yourself and no one else has made it.”

“A sign of wisdom and maturity is when you come to terms with the realization that your decisions cause your rewards and consequences. You are responsible for your life, and your ultimate success depends on the choices you make.”
Denis Waitley

“The willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life is the source from which self-respect springs.”
Joan Didion

“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
Abraham Lincoln

“Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody expects of you. Never excuse yourself.”
Henry Ward Beecher

Responsibility- Let's try some on for size. It might fit better than we think. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016


I've been thinking quite a lot lately about the way things are in this world, particularly here in the greatest country in said world.  And it's my belief that the social issues we are having, especially the recent confrontations and killings along racial lines, boil down to one thing. We don't have the proper regard and respect for our fellow human being. 

Respect is not just an Aretha Franklin "golden oldie". It's what one must have for another human being. It's what that other human must have for you. At all times...not just when it's convenient or personally beneficial. Otherwise, we live in a world that nobody wants or likes.

A high percentage of the humans one encounters on TV and radio, the internet, or in public, seem to demand and expect the respect of others, but then behave in a way unworthy of it. This observation isn't limited to any particular race, religion, profession, or region. It's prevalent wherever one looks. I'm not sure this is new in my lifetime, but it feels like it's worse than I ever remember. And I lived through the 60's! I'm suspecting the unfiltered, and sometimes hateful, opinion-sharing on social media might have something to do with it. It's rarely a place where you see someone write--"I see what you're saying, and I respect it. Let me do some thinking about your opinion and see if it changes mine." Instead, we're instantly connected to the hate-mongers and ca-ca disturbers who delight in using their devices and social platforms to screw up the world; or at least force their version of it on us.

In light of recent events, even if we believe we have proper respect for others, we must make the effort to have more. If the other person doesn't treat us in a respectful manner, we must give consideration to them, their opinion, their behavior, their LIVES, even more. (Turn the other cheek?) It's not easy, but necessary.

One of the courses I teach at Lindenwood University-Belleville features the writings of the late Dr. Stephen Covey and his best-seller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Habit number one- Be Proactive- suggests that you have control of your life and have the choice in all situations to determine your own behavior. Dr. Covey states one should use that power to be response-able; meaning you have the ability to choose your response. One can choose happiness, sadness, anger, ambivalence, honesty, or dishonesty. On the other hand, reactive people blame their environment and outside influences and choose to believe those influences determine their behavior, or are reason to follow the crowd. When presented with a stimulus, they react as though they have no power over their behavior. But, in truth, we always have the power to determine our reaction and behavior, and the responsibility for the decision.

I dislike referring to religious tenets, but some form of the Golden Rule has been a basic concept germane to the peaceful existence of most civilized people since man started walking upright. Even the non-religious among us can surely appreciate the idea "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". Or.."love your neighbor as yourself".

Today, disrespectful, or at least uncaring, behavior is everywhere. From small things like not saying "thank you" and not showing up for an appointment on the larger things; and we're seeing those on the news every day. But, it seems if things are going to change for the better, it must start with each individual. We must first respect ourselves, and our lives...but then absolutely respect the other person at least an equal amount. In other words, be response-able.

We Baby Boomers made a lot of noise a few decades back about changing the world for the better with peace and love. I'd like to think that one of the Boomers who's running for President this year could make an effort to accomplish that mission. How about that for a campaign promise?

It starts with R-E-S-P-E-C-T...sing it with me.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Final Thoughts- Blues 2015-2016 29th season with the Blues ended last night like all the others. Thud. But, this campaign was
WAY more fun than most. When the team is successful like this, and the fans are really into it, my job turns into an amazing combination of fan/announcer/spokesman/PR man, and I realize how overwhelmingly grateful I am for the life I live. Playing such a role for the Blues organization and game-night experience is a magnificent gift. Other thoughts-
  • Looking back, I guess what bothers me quite a bit, as a part of the home-game experience, is that we lost so many playoff games at Scottrade
      • Apr. 15- Hawks 3 Blues 2
      • Apr. 21- Hawks 4 Blues 3 2OT
      • May 5- Stars 3 Blues 2 OT
      • May 9- Stars 3 Blues 2
      • May 17- Sharks 4 Blues 0
      • May 23- Sharks 6 Blues 3
    • Two games in each series played at Scottrade were won by the visitors. Not saying I'm
      ready to take any blame, or that there is any at all, but it's strange that these guys work so hard during the regular season to get to the top of the standings to secure home ice, and then it doesn't really work to our advantage in the post-season. Better to have it than not. But it was obviously not the advantage that we were hoping for. 
  • Having to deal with the salary cap means that this team will have to look much different next season. Like it or not, that's the way it is. Some players will have to get paid somewhere else. Some of the younger guys will be asked to step up into more significant roles. What that means for the face of the roster, David Backes, will be a very interesting story this off-season. 
  • I'm so proud of our Scottrade/Blues presentation team. I won't name names here for fear of
    leaving someone out, but everybody was awesome. Everywhere I go people remark about how amazing the presentation was during the playoffs. And I particularly take note of comments from people who are in the sports business. All have been amazingly positive. Well done gang! 
  • In my years of working for the Blues I haven't felt any better about the ownership situation than I do now. I'm so happy that we have a man like Tom Stillman leading a group of locally-connected owners. Tom is, as you likely know, totally hockey-driven. He wants to win that Cup in the worst way...or any way. And that's what's bringing many casual fans into Blues Nation.
    The obvious dedication to winning goes a long way with most of us who call St. Louis home. 
  • I can't express adequately how awkward the ending of a hockey season is for those of us who work as part of the show and behind the scenes. We are friends, colleagues and hockey lovers who get together some 50-plus nights a season to perform important, various functions around the game. Off-ice officials, technicians, television and radio commentators, front-office folks, ice-maintenance people, in-game hosts, music performers/presenters, security staff, food service staff, and many others become like a big family by the end of the season. Then, inevitably, the Blues go on the road after a home game with the hopes of winning to continue the season. We usually say good-bye to one another not knowing if we'll see our friends again until the first pre-season game of the following season. We usually say something like..."See you next time"..."See you Friday" (hoping that we do) or something similar. This season we were lucky to have the Blues successful in two rounds of the playoffs.
    But, unless the Blues were to go all the way, we usually end the season at home, watching on TV, when it sets in that we won't see our hockey family again for several months. I'm not attempting to compare our emotional pain with that of the players and coaches, but it's real nonetheless. And it takes a while to get over. I continue to hope that someday soon we are able to have a post-season party for all of these people who are emotionally invested in this team that includes a parade.
Thanks for reading. LGB!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


-Let's not talk about the game. Sharks tie the series 1-1.
  • There's been a lot of discussion lately about the Rally Boobs lady who sits directly behind the visiting coach. Some readers of this blog have asked me to explain what's going on. But I was beaten to the punch by columnist Aisha Sultan of the Post-Dispatch and Read all about it here
  • If you're lucky, moneyed enough, or well-connected, you may some day get to spend quality between-periods and before-and-after-game time in the Sub Zero Vodka Bar. It's high-end space that sits right next to the hallway leading from the Blues locker room to the rink. While enjoying a libation, patrons can get up-close-and-personal with the players, coaches and support personnel. I snapped a photo before the game so you
    could have a glimpse of what you and I are missing.
  • To me, there was a surprising number of fans on hand last night wearing Sharks gear. After the game, there were quite a few capturing photos of themselves standing in front of the rink glass in the afterglow of a big win. I figured there would only be a handful of Sharks fans on hand given the distance between StL and the Bay area. But, of course, there are always fans from every major metro area who happen to live in StL and are pulling for the home boys. 
  • Yes, the officials like to warm up before the game on a stationary bike; or at least have that
  • Once again, the buffet line in the press lounge featured a carving station. This time, delicious roast beef. 
  • While in the line, I bumped into NBC broadcaster Joe Micheletti who was featured in my last post. I asked if he had read all of the "slanderous material" I wrote about him since the last game. And, to his credit, with a smile he answered.."I don't read, or participate in, any social media." Not many broadcasters can get away with that in the current mass-media climate. Good for him!
  • During the pre-game skate the stand-by officials are asked to be a presence in the penalty box
    just in case any "monkey business" should break out. Usually this is just a precaution. But there have been a few instances in the past in which a simmering grudge was cause for combat. Last night the stand-by ref was Wes McCauley and the linesman Greg Devorski
  • If you are following the series even halfway closely, you should be familiar with the story of Wyatt and Gerry Nelson of Saskatoon. If not, here's a link to the Post-Dispatch story of their visit to last night's game. The in-house presentation featured the Nelson's story on the
    videoboard and some of Wyatt's play-by-play audio. Classy move by the Blues organization and Saskatchewan native Kelly Chase, who's heart is as big as all outdoors, for bringing this hockey-fanatical dad and son to town. 
  • Speaking of Saskatoon, many of us older folks remember how close the Blues were to moving there back in 1983. For you younger fans, it's an amazing story that writer Jeff Fahrenkrog compiled for back in 2009. After you read this, we should all consider ourselves extremely lucky to even have pro hockey, and this current playoff run, to enjoy in 2016. 
More TYMNHS after Monday's Game 5. Thanks for reading.