Hey, you. Yes, you, person whose team is on the outside looking in. Wouldn't you like to have a team to get behind in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs? Join fans you can, for a few weeks, live through vicariously? Playoff hockey is the best hockey, and there's no reason that you can't enjoy it even if your favorite team isn't in the dance.
I'm the blog manager at St. Louis Game Time, so obviously, I am biased. I'm biased, but I have also been in the position of having to watch another team in the playoffs while the Blues play golf. I can totally empathize with those of you who are trying to figure this out. Here, in no particular order, is why you should be a post-season Blues fan.
Better yet, please, join our cult. Be a Blues fan full-time.
1) Jay Bouwmeester
It's a storyline that you'll hear a LOT on nationally broadcast Blues playoff games, and it's one you've probably already heard: Jay Bouwmeester has never played in a playoff game before. It took 762 games and being traded to the Blues before he played on a team that clinched a trip to the post-season. His iron-man streak, the longest in the NHL, is at 634. Out of those two streaks, which one do you think Pierre McGuire will talk about a lot? The former, of course. Despite as annoying as it is for Pierre to mention anything about anyone, you can't help but be happy for J-Bo.
2) Blue-collar work ethic
The Blues have talent, and don't let anyone say that they don't. However, their talent isn't of the naturally gifted kind. Their talent is more of the "hey, you're pretty good, but you need to work your rear end off to be a success" kind. You can tell that they have to try to be as good as they are. Players that attempt to skate by on natural ability alone get called out by the fans and coaching staff - look at David Perron. You have guys like Alex Pietrangelo, Barret Jackman, Roman Polak, David Backes, T.J. Oshie, Brian Elliott, and others who play well every night. They play well because they want to and because they know that they have to, and don't we love people who have to work at what they love to get rewarded for it?
3) Goalie Intrigue!
Jaroslav Halak? Jake Allen? Brian Elliott? The Blues have a three-headed hydra going into the playoffs. Right now the predominant head is Brian Elliott, who just set an NHL record with 10 wins in April. He has a teeeeny GAA for the month, his save percentage is outstanding, and nothing phases the guy. A month ago? He was in Peoria with the Rivermen on a "conditioning stint." Uh huh. Conditioning. That wake up call is responsible for the Blues being in the playoffs.
4) Refs love us!
Just kidding, they don't.
5) The Blues are the ASPCA of the NHL.
It's not hard to see what the pet cause of the Blues is -- pets. Alex Steen and Kris Russell recently helped save a bunch of dogs with Stray Rescue of St. Louis, there's the annual Pucks for Paws calendar (which usually features Oshie with a kitten - laaaadies), captain David Backes flew his own plane 700 miles to save puppies, he and Barret Jackman campaigned against puppy mills a few years ago, and then there's this:
I dare you to find a team that has that kind of stamp of approval.
So, in conclusion, the Blues are fun, hardworking team that saves puppies and will bang and bump whoever they're playing. Don't listen to the folks who say they play boring hockey, because they play heavy hockey. They take exactly nothing off of anyone on the ice and still have time to be good guys off of it.