Monday, January 30, 2006

Cleaning out their Closets

If one wants a soundtrack for the St. Louis Blues woeful season, perhaps a listen to some Eminem might help put things in perspective. The drama on any of the Detroit rappers albums could certainly fit in with the mess that has become the Blues. Monday St. Louis continued to empty the locker room of large salaried players, sending Doug Weight to Carolina one day after sending Mike Sillinger off to the Nashville Predators.

It’s all part of the liquidation sale to give the prospective new owners on the way, a nice clean and financially slim roster to tinker with for the rest of the season. Coach Mike Kitchen who must feel like a Barbary Coast trader has watched talented players pack up their duffel bags and leave the Blues all season long. From the off season loss of team leader Chris Pronger to today’s trade of Weight this has been a long march to irrelevance for the Blues this year.

With owners that have soured on their investment, cost cutting has become the word to live by in St. Louis. The entire state of the franchise seems like an out take of the movies Slap Shot or Major League, Billionaire owners tired of losing money decide the best way to sell a team is to reduce it’s payroll to that of a local Wal Mart store. One imagines they may keep Keith Tkachuk around to be the new team greeter, his days of stocking the nets full of pucks seemingly long gone.

The strategy in place by Larry Pleau apparently with the blessing of the incoming owners, has many in Missouri and beyond scratching their heads. It's the show me state, they would like to be shown that there is some logic behind the firesale hockey being put together in St. Louis.

For St. Louis hockey fans there is some good news out of all this misery, the unknown call ups from Peoria and those that have joined from afar apparently still have the hockey bug in them, if ownership does not. Monday night saw the depleted Blues roster benefit from points from Lee Stempniak who not only scored the tying goal against Calgary, but put away the winner as well in the fifth round of a shoot out. Stempniak had best be careful until the sale is finalized, an effort like that may end up getting him traded away, can’t have anybody showing an inclination to win now can we.

Even better news for Blues followers, the sale of the Blues is apparently getting closer. Soon somebody that maybe loves hockey, maybe wants to win and might be willing to spend the money to do so, may take over the team. It certainly a situation that can’t come fast enough for those that still love hockey in St. Louis, both on the player’s bench and in the seats.

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